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R.E.M.’s Biggest Influences

From ’90s alternative rockers to current indie groups, R.E.M. has had a major impact on multiple generations of artists. The band from Athens, Ga., is frequently cited as a major influence by some of the most important acts in rock, but what about the musicians who had an effect on them? We’re taking a look at R.E.M.’s Biggest Influences.

Each member of R.E.M. brought a unique musical perspective to the band. Sometimes their tastes united – Michael Stipe and Peter Buck formed a friendship over punk LPs, and all four guys were fans of the Velvet Underground. And sometimes, their favorites clashed – Buck and Mike Mills shared a devotion to ’60s pop/rock titans while Stipe eschewed the Rolling Stones for the Archies (and Bill Berry appeared to enjoy whatever was on the radio).

But mostly, the various – and varied – influences of Berry, Buck, Mills and Stipe combined to create something both familiar and strange in R.E.M.’s music. Buck’s love for British folkies Nick Drake and Richard Thompson could ride alongside Stipe’s weakness for country crooners while Mills looked to Fleetwood Mac‘s John McVie for bass guidance and Berry landed on a groove worthy of Booker T. and the M.G.’s. Inspiration struck from both close to home (fellow Athens band Pylon) and universes that seemed vastly removed from the band members’ reality (the British glam greats of the ’70s). That conglomeration of sounds, and the way it was combined, made R.E.M. one of the most interesting bands of their era.

This gallery is a rich pageant of musicians that left the most significant impression on R.E.M. and its members – from punk poets to krautrockers, from new wavers to singer-songwriters, from country music legends to jangle-pop revivalists. These are the building blocks of R.E.M. Click on the above gallery to begin.

Next: R.E.M.'s Most Underrated Songs

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