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Michael Stipe

Today we want to tell you some interesting facts about Michael Stipe - the guy who made us "lose our religion":

(Photo: Paul Underhill)

1. He was born on January 4, 1960, as John Michael Stipe.

2. As often as the English look, and even its accent, is misleading, the 100% American guy was born in a town on the outskirts of Atlanta Georgia, USA.

3. In view of his father's occupation as a full-time soldier in the U.S. Army, Michael grew up into a family that traveled the world very often, including in several European countries.

4. During his studies at the University of Georgia in 1980, he frequently visited the "Wuxtry Records" record store and purchased "weird" records, which one of the employees kept for himself.

5. The same employee at the store, a guitarist named Peter Buck, did not like the fact that Michael buys the records he keeps to himself, but liked the fact that they both have similar and special taste in music.

6. The two quickly became friends and decided to form a band, which forced Stipe to leave the local Gangster band, of which he was a member at the time.

7. They teamed up with drummer Bill Berry and bassist Mike Mills thus completing the lineup of R.E.M. Stipe was the youngest member of the band.

(Photo: Tom Sheehan)

8. The band's name was randomly chosen by Michael from the dictionary, the acronyms express the concept: Rapid Eye Movement - the stage where you start dreaming during sleep.

9. Other names considered were Cans of Piss and Negro Wives.

10. In 1980 all four members of the band dropped out of school to concentrate on music.


11. The beginning was very difficult and the band had to struggle to get recognition on stage and on the road. At the time, the daily "Allowance" budget of each of the four members was $2 a day.

12. The band's first opportunity came in 1981 when they released their first single "Radio Free Europe". The song immediately became a hit on student radio stations in the area.

13. The local success caught the attention of record label I.R.S. Records, which rushed to sign R.E.M. On a record deal contract.

14. A year later, in 1982, the band released the EP. "Chronic Town", and in 1983 its debut album "Murmur" was released, which was praised by critics and even won a Rolling Stone Magazine critique of the year as Album of the Year, bypassing Michael Jackson's "Thriller".

15. And if you, too, felt that it was sometimes difficult for you to understand what Michael Stipe sang on the two albums "Chronic Town" and "Murmur", then you are not alone, Stipe admitted that he was just making up words at that stage in his career.

16. They recorded their most "American" album in England. This is their third album "Fables of the Reconstruction", a concept album that deals with the American Civil War and southern Gothic themes.

17. It was a particularly difficult time for Michael and the band which was on the verge of disbanding. Stipe later admitted that at the time he was close to "losing it" he also shaved his head like a monk and gained a lot of weight.

18. The first success of Stipe and his band in the mainstream was achieved with the hit "The One I Love" in 1987.

19. Next came the albums "Out of Time" and "Automatic for the People" which brought Stipe and his friend's meteoric success on a global scale.

20. To this day the band is considered one of the pioneers of alternative rock, thanks in no small part to the unique style of each of the four members, with Michael leading the writing style and his different and unique voice.

21. The music video for the song "Losing My Religion" is the first time Stipe has agreed to lip-sync to the band's video.

22. The music video will become one of the most popular and watched on MTV, not least thanks to the appearance of Stipe.

23. Stipe admitted in 1995 that he no longer tolerated the song "Shiny Happy People", the fans probably a little less. This is the band's third most-played song on Spotify.

24. When drummer Bill Berry left R.E.M. in 1997, Stipe and his bandmates decided they were not even going to try to find a replacement to get into Bill's shoes and they continued to function for several years without a drummer leaning on session players and drum machines.

25. From 1988 until the dissolution of R.E.M. In 2012, Stipe used to release a special Christmas song with the band every year.

26. In light of his love of photography and visual art, Stipe was also in charge of R.E.M.'s visual field, both in the context of record covers and directing some of the band's music videos.

27. In 2007 Stipe and the band entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

28. Michael served as the godfather of Frances Bean Cobain the daughter of Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain.

29. In 1994 Stipe was supposed to work and record with Cobain, it was his attempt to pull Cobain away from home, habits, and drugs, but unfortunately the project did not eventually materialize due to Cobain's death.

30. The song "Let Me In" from the album "Monster" was written by Stipe as a tribute to Cobain. Courtney Love gave the band one of Kurt's Fender guitars that Mills played in the recording of the song. Mills had to turn the strings so he could play it since Kurt was left-handed.

31. Stipe was also the one who inducted Nirvana into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. It happened in April 2014.

32. Stipe was a close friend of Natalie Merchant from the band 10,000 Maniacs and even recorded a few songs with her, including "Photograph" which was recorded along with all the members of the band and appears in the "Born to Choose" collection.

33. Although Stipe has not developed a solo career so far, he has been involved in many projects as a producer and singer and has created collaborations with many artists such as: New York Dolls, Tori Amos, Neneh Cherry, Patti Smith, Placebo, and more and more and more...

34. In addition, Stipe recorded with Chris Martin of Coldplay the song "In the Sun" in 2006, and with Courtney Love the song "Rio Grande" in 2013.

35. Beyond the music, Stipe is a partner in the establishment and management of two studio companies for film production, C-00 and Single Cell Pictures, studios designed to promote independent and alternative films.

36. In addition, he was also an actual producer on films: "Being John Malkovich", "Velvet Goldmine" and "Man on the Moon".

37. In 1994 Stipe confirmed that he had relationships with both men and women, and in 2001 he was interviewed by Time magazine and stated that he had been in a relationship with a man for three years.

38. Stipe is known as an activist and among other things went public against U.S. gun policy, following a proliferation of mass shootings.

39. The latest album released by Stipe along with R.E.M. is the "Collapse into Now" since 2011. In 2012 the band disbanded and a union is not visible at the moment.

(Photo: R.E.M PR)

40. Stipe released with the band 15 studio albums, 5 live albums, and a considerable number of EPs, collections, and singles, which have sold over 85 million copies.

41. In May 2019, Stipe appeared with the song "Your Capricious Soul" as a warm-up for a performance by Pati Smith. It was his first solo song ever. The song was released for download on the site bearing the same name in October 2019.

42. Later that year another song "Drive to the Ocean" was released which can be downloaded directly from Stipe's website.

43. At the end of 2019, Stipe began collaborating with Aaron Dessner and Justin Vernon of the indie band Big Red Machine. The collaboration spawned the song "No Time For Love Like Now" whose music video was released in June 2020.

44. In 2021 he participated in the tribute album to The Velvet Underground and recorded the song "Sunday Morning" for an album titled "I'll Be Your Mirror: A Tribute to The Velvet Underground & Nico".

Hoping these latest releases will finally spawn the man and legend's first solo album.

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