I'm sure the cynics will say "they should have done this around the time of Automatic for the People," but haters are gonna hate, aren't they?
R.E.M. has announced they are breaking up.
I had no idea who they were in the fall of 1987 when a friend of mine who was still in high school called and asked me if I could get tickets to their show on campus. Tickets were something like 15 bucks and a cd was something like 12, and as I didn't know any of their songs, I decided to get him tickets (2) and myself a CD (it was Fables of the Reconstruction -- not one of the band's favorites, but I think it's one of their best). As it turns out, it was a stupid decision, because they weren't playing college shows after that tour, which was in support of Document.
Not soon after, some local band named -- wait for it -- Driver 8 provided live entertainment at an Amnesty International letter writing event that I attended, which was a welcome break from the steady diet of pop and classic rock (and I have no problem with classic rock per se: I do have a problem with its radio format) that was all you could hear on the local radio stations.
R.E.M was essential listening in those days, and I would argue up through the release of Monster they were really at their peak.
I know I was late to the R.E.M. party, but they'll always bring me back to 1987.