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Michael Stipe is the frontman and lead singer of the influential alternative rock band R.E.M.
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Singer, songwriter, producer. Born John Michael Stipe on January 4, 1960 in the Atlanta suburb of Decatur, Georgia. Stipe's father was in the military, and he spent his formative years moving from base to base around the country. Though quiet as a child, Stipe emerged from his shell in high school, using his musicality and appreciation of punk music to his social advantage.
After returning to Georgia and finishing high school, Stipe enrolled at the University of Georgia's department of art in 1978. He soon hooked up with a record store clerk named Peter Buck, and the two decided to start a band. Together with Bill Berry and Mike Mills, they formed R.E.M. in 1980. The group had an uncommon sound and played their first concert in Athens, Georgia, that same year.
Their debut single, Radio Free Europe, generated enough buzz for R.E.M. to sign with IRS Records. They released their first album Murmur in 1983.
In June 1988, the band signed with Warner Brothers, where they wrote their most successful albums, Out of Time in 1991 and Automatic for the People in 1992. The video for Out of Time's "Losing My Religion" became one of MTV's all-time most popular videos. They followed the releases with an ambitious world tour, during which Berry suffered a cerebral hemorrhage on stage. After recording another album, New Adventures in Hi-Fi, Berry decided to quit the band. Now a threesome, R.E.M. recorded Up in 1998 to mediocre reviews.
In the 1990s, Stipe began to turn his attention to filmmaking. His talents as a producer were first demonstrated through his inventive music videos, and he eventually launched a film company called Single Cell Productions. In 1998, Single Cell produced two acclaimed films, the documentary American Movie and the darkly comic Being John Malkovich, which earned its director, Spike Jonze, an Oscar nod.
R.E.M. was nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in October, 2006, in their first year of eligibility.
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