One of the founders of the post-punk rock band R.E.M., Michael Stipe was born into an army family that moved frequently. He returned to his birth state of Georgia in 1978 to attend the university in Athens but dropped out after he and guitarist Peter Buck formed a band. R.E.M. came together in 1980; although the name describes a deep sleep state that mirrors the band’s dreamlike compositions, Stipe claims he chose it randomly from a dictionary. The band’s debut album, Murmur, came out in 1983 and was named Rolling Stone’s album of the year. Thereafter R.E.M. released albums regularly—including their best-selling Out of Time (1991) and Automatic for the People (1992)—and toured until the band’s dissolution in 2011. A charismatic performer, Stipe’s vocal style became sharper and clearer as the band evolved from its stream-of-consciousness roots to a more direct approach.