Dear Michael, Mike and Peter (and Bill, sort of) --
I was shattered to hear the news last week that you guys are calling it quits, and it's taken me a full week to be able to articulate exactly why. I still don't think I capture it very well.
The thing is, you're the first and only band I truly grew up with. Thirty-one years strong at the time of your demise, you're older than I am. At first I thought, "This must have been how my mom felt when The Beatles broke up." But The Fab Four were only active for a third of the time you've been around – and popular for even less time than that.
R.E.M. has played such an integral role in my life as a music fan. Out of Time is my number-one desert island album. You were my first favorite band.