REM, the American rock band who announced on Wednesday (21th August 2011) they were to split after 31 years together, have thanked fans for their continued support. In a statement released on their official website, the group claimed to have experienced a feeling of accomplishment and decided to call it a day.
In an updated post featuring comments from the band, frontman Michael Stipe noted, "A wise man once said - the skill in attending a party is knowing when it's time to leave". Guitarist Peter Buck thanked fans for their devotion from the group's debut album 'Murmur' to their 2011 record 'Collapse Into Now", adding, "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". Following their first single 'Radio Free Europe' in 1981, the band developed a cult fan base before enjoying more commercial success with their hit single 'The One I Love' and in 1992, their seminal album 'Automatic for the People'. The band re-signed to Warner Bros in 1996 for a reported $80 million - then the biggest record deal in history. On the timing of the split, bass player Mike Mills claimed playing the most recent batch of songs gave the band a sense of finality, saying, "We realized that these songs seemed to draw a natural line under the last 31 years of our working together".
Rem have sold a reported 25 million albums in the U.S alone, with a further 7 million in the UK.