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R.E.M. was formed in Athens, Georgia in 1980, originally playing under the name Twisted Kite and performing garage rock covers and original folk-rock songs. "Radio Free Europe," their first single, was recorded in 1981, released on the tiny Hib Tone label, and showed that all of the pieces that would becoming familiar, the jangle pop sound and cryptic lyrics, were already in place: you cannot help singing along with the chorus even if you have no clue what the rest of Michael Stipe's lyrics are saying. The single topped the "Village Voice" poll for Best Independent Single, and landed the group the I.R.S. contract. After an EP, "Chronic Town," the full-length "Murmur" constituted the group's debut album.Read more ›