The frontman and chief co-lyricist for the alternative rock giants R. E.M. for over 30 years, Michael Stipe influenced a generation of musicians and artists with his poetic songs, which included such hits as "Fall On Me," "The One I Love," "Stand" and "Losing My Religion," as well as his kinetic, androgynous stage presence. He formed the band in the creative cauldron of the Athens, GA music scene of the late 1970s, and with guitarist/co-writer Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills and drummer Bill Berry, helped to create the blueprint for the indie rock scene of the next three decades. Stipe's music and lyrics, at once impenetrable and heartfelt, became gospel for fans and performers alike who followed the band through its breakout years in the late 1980s and shift to major label status, which minted them as true superstars in the early 1990s. Declining sales and the departure of Berry mid-decade began to turn the tide on R.E.M.'s fortunes by the late '90s, during which Stipe developed a second career as a producer on such films as "Being John Malkovich" (1999). Stipe, Buck and Mills soldiered on with the band until 2011, when they parted company while expressing their gratitude to fans who had grown up with and had been inspired by their music and message. For his part, Stipe's best work with R.E.M. represented a freedom of expression and sound that left an indelible imprint on the shape of popular music.