In our series where musicians tell the stories behind what they regard as their greatest songs, the REM frontman reveals how glam rock, grunge and INXS inspired the band – and how internal divisions tore them apart
Michael Stipe is always, well, Stipeish. Meaning: particular, individual, unexpected. When he submits his eight favourite REM songs for this feature, there is not one from the first six albums (and none from 1992’s Automatic for the People, the album he is ostensibly promoting for its deluxe reissue). After the Guardian suggests it might be nice to have the 1980s represented, Stipe relents, and includes World Leader Pretend, from 1988’s Green.