R.E.M. Performs for First Time in 17 Years at the 2024 Songwriters Hall of Fame

“Here’s what we did,” said Michael Stipe before R.E.M. walked on stage together to perform for the first time in 17 years at the Songwriters Hall of Fame & Awards Gala at the Marriott Marquis in New York City, on Thursday, June 13. Following a performance of their 1987 hit “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” by Jason Isbell, and their induction speech, R.E.M. performed a stripped-back version of their 1991 hit “Losing My Religion,” marking the first time the original four members, Stipe, drummer Bill Berry, bassist Mike Mills, and guitarist Peter Buck have performed together since their Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction in 2007.

Before performing again, Stipe gave the band’s acceptance speech and thanked a long list of people who have supported the band since its inception in 1980. “Writing songs and having a catalog of work that we’re all proud of that is out there for the rest of the world for all time is hands-down the most important aspect of what we did,” said Stipe. “Second to that is that we managed to do so all those decades and remain friends. And not just friends, dear friends.”

Stipe added, “We are four people that very early on decided that we would own our own masters and we would split our royalties and songwriting credits equally. All for one and one for all. And so we set out to do our work accordingly. It turned out good, sometimes great. And what ride it has been.”

Videos by American Songwriter

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 13: (L-R) Mike Mills, Michael Stipe, Bill Berry, and Peter Buck, of R.E.M., attend the 2024 Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on June 13, 2024, in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Songwriters Hall Of Fame)

In February 2024 all four members appeared at the 40 Watt Club in their hometown of Athens, Georgia to watch actor Michael Shannon and guitarist Jason Narducy perform R.E.M.’s 1983 debut, Murmur, in its entirety. Buck, Mills, and Berry joined the musicians, while Stipe only stepped on stage to thank the crowd.

[RELATED: R.E.M. Reveals Why They Would Never Reunite in First Interview Together in 30 Years: “It’d Never be as Good”]

In advance of the band’s induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, all four original members reunited for their first interview in 30 years. Berry originally left the band in 1997, two years after suffering a double aneurysm, and the band broke up in 2011, following the release of their 15th album Collapse into Now.

When asked what it would take to get R.E.M. to reunite, Mills said “A comet,” and Buck suggested “super glue.” When probed for a better answer, Buck added, “It’d never be as good.”

In 2016, Stipe, Mills, and Peter Buck also performed “Losing My Religion” at a private birthday party in France for their longtime manager, Bertis Downs.

R.E.M. was among the 2024 class of inductees into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, along with Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen and the late Walter Becker, Timothy Mosley (Timbaland), Dean Pitchford ), and Hillary Lindsey. The Hal David Starlight Award was also given to SZA, while Diane Warren was honored with the Johnny Mercer Award. 

Photo: Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Songwriters Hall Of Fame

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