In a career spanning 31 years and 15 studio albums, the band from Athens, Georgia have now officially split.
Since their very first album Murmur, released in 1983, the group - consisting of flamboyant singer Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills and, originally, drummer Bill Berry - have produced many classic moments both on and off stage.
To mark the end of REM, Digital Spy recalls five of their most defining and classic tracks that would prove hugely influential to a whole host of artists for years to come.
1. 'Losing My Religion'
Album: Out of Time
Charted: #19 (UK) / #4 (US)
A distinctly REM track, it was the first single from 1991's Out of Time and would prove to be their biggest hit in the US. With an instantly recognisable mandolin riff by Buck, the song is bouncy yet remains mellow. The title refers to a Southern saying about losing one's temper. Stipe revealed that it was about "someone who pines for someone else" and "obsession". The track won two Grammy awards in 1992 for 'Best Pop Performance by a Group' and 'Best Music Video'.
2. 'Man on the Moon'
Album: Automatic for the People
Charted: #18 (UK) / #30 (US)
The second single from their classic Automatic for the People album of 1992, the song brilliantly showcases Stipe's vocal style and lyrical imagery. The track references the eccentric comedian and actor Andy Kaufman, and went on to provide the title of the 1999 movie about the star featuring Jim Carrey.
3. 'Orange Crush'
Charted: #28 (UK)
One of the first tracks that helped bridge the gap for REM from underground alternative college radio favourites to arena-filling megastars. The track sums up the era of the late-'80s/early-'90s alternative scene that REM helped innovate. A reference to the Vietnam War's Agent Orange chemical defoliant, Stipe explained that it was about an American footballer leaving home for the war. It was later given the stamp of approval from the Rock Band series and covered by Editors.
4. 'The Great Beyond'
Album: The Man on the Moon OST
Charted: #3 (UK) / #57 (US)
One of REM's few classic moments from their last 15 years together, this track was created for the previously mentioned Man on the Moon soundtrack. Stipe provides more beautiful harmonies and unique lyrics including, "I'm pushing an elephant up the stairs". The song includes an epic orchestral backing and an almost psychedelic feel that perfectly fits the Kaufman mould.
5. 'Everybody Hurts'
Album: Automatic for the People
Charted: #7 (UK) / #29 (US)
Possibly REM's most famous track, and definitely their most hauntingly beautiful. Stipe's vocals are on absolute top form, with most of the song written by drummer Bill Berry, despite not actually playing on it. The song provides an anti-suicide message, but has been generally used over the years for sombre and uplifting moments alike, and was more recently covered for Simon Cowell's Helping Haiti charity single featuring the likes of Take That, Mariah Carey and Leona Lewis. The famous clip of hundreds of people leaving their cars on a congested motorway also provides a golden moment in music video history.
Other notable must-listen tracks: 'Nightswimming', 'Imitation of Life', 'Bad Day', 'Shiny Happy People', 'Drive', 'The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite', 'It's The End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)', 'The One I Love', 'Stand' and 'What's the Frequency, Kenneth?'