Michael Stipe was born into a military family and spent his formative years moving from place to place. By the time he decided to study art at the University of Athens in Georgia, Stipe had lived not only all over the U.S., but in different countries across the world, as well. There, the gangly student met a record store clerk named Peter Buck. Sharing similar taste in music, the two decided to form a band that would become R.E.M. Their music was marked by Stipe’s mumbly vocals and his tacit refusal to tell anyone what he was singing or what any of the songs meant. Over time, though, he began singing more clearly. His lyrics also began to carry political and social messages that would help the band endear themselves even more to their fans. Stipe went from saying in the band’s early years that the words didn’t matter to including the lyrics in the music video for the band’s single, ‘Everybody Hurts.’ Since R.E.M.’s dissolution in 2011, Stipe has remained busy as a visual artist and musician.
- Selected Discography: ‘Out of Time’ (1991), ‘Automatic for the People’ (1992), ‘Murmur’ (1983)
- Further Reading: Michael Stipe Performs First Concert Since R.E.M. Broke Up, You Think You Know R.E.M.?, ‘Murmur’ – A Look Back on R.E.M.’s Masterpiece