Hail and Farewell, R.E.M.

So R.E.M., that poppish rock band from Athens, Georgia, broke up today after just a little over 30 years of making music together. To be honest, when I first heard about it (via Ted Berg of TedQuarters), I was a little surprised. Sure, the band certainly showed signs that this was the end – apparently they didn’t tour in support of this year’s Collapse Into Now – but they’re one of the bands that have persisted throughout my lifetime, a band that was about as relevant at the time of my birth as they are today. I’d wager if you listen to the right stations you can still hear some of their hits on the radio, like “Man on the Moon,” “The One I Love,” and certainly “Losing My Religion.”

I was never the world’s biggest fan of R.E.M., but I thought their music sounded cool and that lead singer Michael Stipe was a pretty upstanding guy. And it helps that they left an indelible mark on my childhood, with their appearance on Sesame Street:

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