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R.E.M. was an American rock band from Athens, Georgia, formed in 1980 by drummer Bill Berry, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist/backing vocalist Mike Mills, and lead vocalist Michael Stipe. One of the first alternative rock bands, R.E.M. was noted for Buck’s ringing, arpeggiated guitar style, Stipe’s distinctive vocal quality and obscure lyrics, Mills’s melodic basslines and backing vocals, and Berry’s tight, economical style of drumming.
R.E.M. released its first single—”Radio Free Europe”—in 1981 on the independent record label Hib-Tone.