Happy Birthday to [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]R.E.M.[/lastfm] guitarist Peter Buck!

Oh, that reminds us… could you stop by the store on your way home and pick us up a bottle of Orange Crush?!

With over 85 million albums sold, R.E.M. are one of the world’s most popular and successful alternative rock bands.

Formed in 1980 by singer [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Michael Stipe[/lastfm], bassist Mike Mills, guitarist Peter Buck and drummer Bill Berry, R.E.M. quickly made a name for themselves in the Athens, Georgia music scene.  A year later, the band independently released their first single, “Radio Free Europe,” with their debut album following in 1983.  Murmur was released to critical acclaim, and Rolling Stone magazine named it their Record of the Year.

Over the next few years, R.E.M. built up their reputation and achieved underground success through subsequent releases, constant touring and support from college radio.  In June 1985, they released their third album, Fables of the Reconstruction.  It peaked at #28 on the Billboard 200 and spawned the single “Driver 8,” which is Jack’s Song of the Day.  “Driver 8” was a modest hit on the Mainstream Rock chart and has since been covered by the likes of [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Hootie & the Blowfish[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Death Cab for Cutie[/lastfm] and [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Old 97s[/lastfm].

In 1987, R.E.M. scored their first mainstream hit with “The One I Love.”  It reached #9 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 and was the lead-off single from the band’s platinum-selling album Document.

R.E.M.’s rise to the top continued, and by 1991, they had grown from a cult band into international superstars.  Their seventh album, Out of Time, was a huge success in the U.S. and U.K., peaking at #1 in both countries.  The Grammy-winning single “Losing My Religion” went to #1 on the rock charts and was also a Top 5 smash on the Billboard Hot 100.

1992’s Automatic for the People and 1994’s Monster were just as commercially successful, selling over four million copies each.  The latter debuted in the top spot on the Billboard 200.

Three years later, following the release of New Adventures in Hi-Fi, Berry amicably parted ways with the band, leaving Stipe, Buck and Mills to continue as a trio.

This past March, R.E.M. released Collapsed Into Now, their 15th studio album.  It would also be their last.  In September, the band announced on their website they were splitting up, thus ending an impressive 30-year run.  Said Michael Stipe of the break-up:  “It wasn’t an easy decision.  All things must end, and we wanted to do it right, do it our way.”

Here’s a clip of R.E.M. performing their 1994 hit “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?“  And duh, Kenneth… everybody knows that 100.3 is the frequency.

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