Early photo of R.E.M.

During the late ‘70s and early ‘80s the radio waves were rife with over-blown guitar rock and new wave synth-hooks while the underground was rumbling with punk rock and the first screaming, thrashing kicks of hardcore.

In 1981, a young band in Athens, Ga. would strike out down a musical path that would fill in the gaps between each of those genres as well as encompass, expand and experiment with many others. They called themselves R.E.M.

Michael Stipe’s cryptic, mostly unintelligible lyrics and the melodic jangle of Peter Buck’s guitar combined with Mike Mills’ and Bill Berry’s solid rhythm section to lay the foundation for what would become known as college rock. Their sound constantly evolved over the course of their releases; Stipe's lyrics became more clear, both sonically and literally, while their musical style showed a natural progression of maturity and skill.

The group became one of the most popular acts in the world of underground rock in the 1980s and signed to Warner Brothers Records in 1988, bringing them into full view of the mainstream. In 1991, R.E.M.'s eighth full-length album, "Out of Time," gained seven Grammy nominations and three wins. Since then the band has been a near constant presence in the world of popular music.

Now, 26 years after their first single, R.E.M. have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for their accomplishments over the years and the influence they have had on many other musicians.