WATCH: R.E.M. Reunite For First Performance In 15 Years At Songwriters Hall Of Fame

14 June 2024 | 2:30 pm | Mary Varvaris

The band reunited just days after Mike Mills proclaimed it would take a "comet" for R.E.M. to perform again.

R.E.M. at the Songwriters Hall Of Fame

R.E.M. at the Songwriters Hall Of Fame (Source: YouTube/Tina Eves)

R.E.M. have officially been inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame.

At a ceremony in New York on Thursday night (13 June), the band’s original lineup – singer Michael Stipe, bassist Mike Mills, guitarist Peter Buck and drummer Bill Berry – reunited for a surprise performance of Losing My Religion.

The performance marked the first time R.E.M. had performed in nearly 16 years. Their last public concert took place in November 2008, but they also reformed in 2016 for a performance for longtime manager Bertis Downs.

Yesterday, The Music reported on R.E.M. reuniting for their first interview in nearly 30 years. Just days after Mills proclaimed it would take a “comet” for the band to reunite in said CBS Mornings interview, here they are: on stage and dispelling Buck’s claim that their performances would “never be as good”.

As well as R.E.M.’s reunion, country music star Jason Isbell honoured the band with a performance of It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine), and The MonkeesMicky Dolenz, who dropped an EP of R.E.M. covers last year, also left a message for the band.

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Upon accepting their induction, Stipe said (per Billboard), “Writing songs and having a catalogue 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. Second to that is that we managed to do so all those decades and remain friends. And not just friends, dear friends.”

He continued, “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.”

Concluding his speech with a shoutout to the labels that housed their music - I.R.S. Records and Warner Records - and Bertis Downs, the band took to the stage, picked up their instruments, and Stipe said, “Here’s what we did.”

You can watch R.E.M. performing at the Songwriters Hall Of Fame below.

During the reunion interview with CBS Mornings, Berry got emotional while discussing his departure from the band in 1997.

“Of course, I [had second thoughts about quitting],” Berry said. “That was a weird time for me, and I made it weird for these guys too.”

Berry continued: “That thing in Switzerland — brain aneurysm — and successful surgery. It may have lowered my energy level, and I just didn’t have the drive I once did… I didn’t regret [leaving the band] at the time, but I sort of regretted it a little later.”

Stipe said the perk of their 2011 disbandment was the group being “here to tell the tale” and that “we’re sitting at the same table together with deep admiration and … lifelong friendship. A lot of people that do this can’t claim that.”

You can watch the interview here.