Happy Birthday Michael Stipe: Performing Live With R.E.M. At Glastonbury 1999
Watch R.E.M. on classics like "The One I Love," "Losing My Religion" and more from Glastonbury '99.
Michael Stipe marks his 62nd birthday today. The highly influential R.E.M. frontman and singer-songwriter was born on January 4, 1960 in Decatur, Georgia near Atlanta. Although he moved around frequently as the son of a U.S. Army serviceman, Stipe returned to the Peach State to attend the University of Georgia in Athens where he co-founded R.E.M. with Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Bill Berry in 1980.
Athens has long been an eclectic music mecca centrally located where local varieties of the blues, country and bluegrass arose earning Athens the nickname “Liverpool of the South.” Stipe and R.E.M. carried on the college town’s rich musical tradition alongside Athens originating groups like The B-52s, Widespread Panic and more. While college towns are usually hotbeds for artistic innovations of all kinds, R.E.M. was on the vanguard of the college rock genre, a forerunner of what is now referred to as alternative rock, and their first single, 1981’s “Radio Free Europe,” found success on college radio stations.
R.E.M. would go on to transcend college rock to become one of the most successful and influential rock bands of the 1980s and ‘90s. Landmark albums like 1987’s Document, 1988’s Green and 1991’s Out Of Time — the latter containing two of the band’s most well-known songs “Losing My Religion” and “Shiny Happy People” — propelled the band to superstardom and gained them followers like fellow towering titans of the era in Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke.
But the band had to redefine itself artistically after founding drummer Bill Berry’s departure in 1997. While the band always had a good rapport with the UK — R.E.M. record their third album Fables of the Reconstruction in England — their success began to shift from the U.S. to the UK in the late ’90s buoyed by a landmark headlining performance at Britain’s famed Glastonbury Festival in 1999.
R.E.M. took Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage on July 25, 1999 following bands they helped influence like Bush and Hole. The video below is missing the first six songs of the set and begins with “Daysleeper” from the band’s latest album at the time, 1998’s Up. R.E.M. also delivered classics like “The One I Love,” “Losing My Religion,” “Everybody Hurts” and a main set-closing “Man On The Moon,” the band’s contribution to the 1999 Jim Carey-starring Andy Kaufman biopic of the same name. R.E.M. also delivered a five-song encore fittingly capped off with “It’s The End of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine).”
To celebrate Michael Stipe’s birthday, watch R.E.M.’s headlining performance at Glastonbury in 1999 below:
R.E.M. at Worthy Farm
- What's the Frequency, Kenneth?
- So Fast, So Numb
- The Apologist
- Fall on Me
- The Great Beyond
- The Wake-Up Bomb
- The One I Love
- Sweetness Follows
- At My Most Beautiful
- Losing My Religion
- Everybody Hurts
- Walk Unafraid
- Star 69
- Finest Worksong
- Man on the Moon
- Why Not Smile
- Crush With Eyeliner
- It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
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