R.E.M. Announce Breakup

R.E.M. Announce Breakup
We definitely didn't see this coming: legendary rockers R.E.M. have announced that they're calling it quits.

In an update on their official website entitled "R.E.M. Call It a Day," the band wrote this simple message:

To our Fans and Friends: As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band. We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening.

The band were together for over 30 years, and in that time released 15 LPs and became one of the most successful acts of their generation. Their '80s work on I.R.S. Records solidified their reputation as an iconic college rock band, and albums like Murmur (1983) and Reckoning (1984) earned them a devoted cult following.

Following the success of their 1987 singles "The One I Love" and "It's the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)," they signed to Warner Bros. and scored a smash hit with the 1991 song "Losing My Religion."

In recent years, critical response to their new material was mixed, but 2008's Accelerate was widely considered a return to form. R.E.M. released their final album, Collapse into Now, earlier this year, and had reportedly begun working on new material.

UPDATE: Each member of R.E.M. has now issued his own statement. You can see them all below.

Michael Stipe statement:

A wise man once said -- 'the skill in attending a party is knowing when it's time to leave.' We built something extraordinary together. We did this thing. And now we're going to walk away from it.

I hope our fans realize this wasn't an easy decision; but all things must end, and we wanted to do it right, to do it our way.

We have to thank all the people who helped us be R.E.M. for these 31 years; our deepest gratitude to those who allowed us to do this. It's been amazing.

Mike Mills statement:

During our last tour, and while making Collapse Into Now and putting together this greatest hits retrospective, we started asking ourselves, 'what next'? Working through our music and memories from over three decades was a hell of a journey. We realized that these songs seemed to draw a natural line under the last 31 years of our working together.

We have always been a band in the truest sense of the word. Brothers who truly love, and respect, each other. We feel kind of like pioneers in this -- there's no disharmony here, no falling-outs, no lawyers squaring-off. We've made this decision together, amicably and with each other's best interests at heart. The time just feels right.

Peter Buck statement:

One of the things that was always so great about being in R.E.M. was the fact that the records and the songs we wrote meant as much to our fans as they did to us. It was, and still is, important to us to do right by you. Being a part of your lives has been an unbelievable gift. Thank you.

Mike, Michael, Bill, Bertis, and I walk away as great friends. I know I will be seeing them in the future, just as I know I will be seeing everyone who has followed us and supported us through the years. Even if it's only in the vinyl aisle of your local record store, or standing at the back of the club: watching a group of 19 year olds trying to change the world.