Michael Edward Mills (born December 17, 1958) is an American multi-instrumentalist, singer, and composer who was a founding member of the alternative rock band R.E.M. Though known primarily as a bass guitarist, backing vocalist, and pianist, his musical repertoire also includes keyboards, guitar, and percussion instruments. He contributed to a majority of the band's musical compositions.
Mills performing with R.E.M. in 2008
|Birth name||Michael Edward Mills|
|Born||December 17, 1958|
Orange County, California, United States
|Genres||Alternative rock, folk rock, college rock, jangle pop|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, composer, music producer|
|Instruments||Bass guitar, piano, vocals|
|Associated acts||R.E.M., Hindu Love Gods, The Backbeat Band, Automatic Baby, The Baseball Project, Big Star's Third|
Michael Edward Mills was born to Frank and Adora Mills in Orange County, California and moved to Macon, Georgia when he was 10 years old. Mills met Bill Berry, who would later be his bandmate in R.E.M., in Macon.
Mills and Berry started out in bands together. Early projects included the band Shadowfax (later called The Back Door Band).
Mills is credited with being the chief composer behind many of R.E.M.'s songs, including "Nightswimming", "Find the River", "At My Most Beautiful", "Why Not Smile", "Let Me In", "Wendell Gee", "(Don't Go Back To) Rockville", "Beat a Drum", "Be Mine" and "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?". In particular, R.E.M.'s 2004 album Around the Sun was heavily shaped by Mills' piano and keyboard contributions.
Mills is also responsible for the prominent backing vocal and harmony parts found within the band's back catalogue, with his vocal contributions arguably being most noticeable on 1986's Lifes Rich Pageant and 2008's Accelerate. In addition to providing backing vocals, he has also sung lead vocals on the songs "Texarkana", "Near Wild Heaven", The Clique cover "Superman" and The Troggs cover "Love is All Around".
Mills said there is no possibility of an R.E.M. reunion. Mills described it as "31 wonderful years and the opportunity to end it on our own terms." The band had been talking about disbanding since 2008.
Mills continues to write music and perform with friends on various projects. In 2012, Mills contributed piano playing to a Record Store Day single released by Drive-By Truckers member, Patterson Hood, in protest of a Walmart development being built in Athens, Georgia.
Mills also performs as part of singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur's band. On April 3, 2014, while performing with musical guest Joseph Arthur, Mills broke the news that David Letterman would be retiring in 2015. Mills took a band selfie that he posted to Instagram and did a short interview about "breaking" the story
Since 2010, Mills has played with a rotating group of musicians for a series of concerts built around Big Star's seminal album, Third/Sister Lovers. Known as Big Star's Third, the concerts have taken place in London, Sydney, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, and New York.
"Electron Blue" is a song by American alternative rock band R.E.M. It was released as the third single from their thirteenth studio album Around the Sun on February 28, 2005. Written by group members Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe, the song features a synthesizer-heavy arrangement. Its lyrics describe an electric hallucinogenic drug made of light, a concept which was developed from a recurring dream of Stipe's. Upon release as a single, "Electron Blue" peaked at numbers 43 and 26 on the singles charts of Ireland and the United Kingdom respectively. Michael Stipe performed on the Around the Sun tour with a blue band painted across his eyes as a reference to the song, his personal favorite from Around the Sun.Everybody Hurts
"Everybody Hurts" is a song by American rock band R.E.M., originally released on the band's 1992 album Automatic for the People and was also released as a single in 1993. It peaked at number twenty nine on the Billboard Hot 100, and peaked within the top ten of the charts in Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France and Iceland.Finest Worksong
"Finest Worksong" is the third and final single released from R.E.M.'s fifth studio album Document. It peaked at number 50 on the UK Singles Chart in April 1988, at the time the group's highest-charting single in the UK.The single version of the song (also known as Mutual Drum Horn mix), featuring a new horn section by The Uptown Horns, was placed on R.E.M.'s I.R.S. Records compilation Eponymous. This was the last original single the band released on I.R.S. Records.Gardening at Night
"Gardening at Night" is a song by American rock band R.E.M. It was recorded for the band's 1982 debut EP Chronic Town.Get Up (R.E.M. song)
"Get Up" is the fourth and final single released by R.E.M. from the band's sixth album Green (1988). It was included in the limited edition Singleactiongreen box set released in November 1989. The song was released as a single only in the US but failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100.
The song was written by Michael Stipe about Mike Mills. Mills always seemed to sleep late during their recording sessions for Green. This was Stipe's call for Mills to get up and work. However, Mills did not find this out until a concert in the late 1990s, when Stipe introduced the song as being about him.The video for the song was created by a young filmmaker named Eric Darnell, who had recently graduated from the CalArts program in experimental animation and who went on to co-direct the mainstream computer animated features Antz and Madagascar.
In the film Tourfilm, which features footage from R.E.M.'s tour in 1989, Stipe introduces this song as his favorite.
During the bridge, several music boxes are played at once. This was the idea of Bill Berry, who had originally envisioned this in a dream.Hollow Man (song)
"Hollow Man" is the fourth track and second single from R.E.M.'s fourteenth album Accelerate. The music video was created by Crush Inc., a graphic-design and production studio based in Toronto, and posted on the band's website on April 23, 2008. The single was released in the UK on June 2, 2008. The song peaked at number 7 on Billboard magazine's Triple A chart.List of songs recorded by R.E.M.
This is a comprehensive list of songs recorded by the American alternative rock band R.E.M. that were officially released. The list includes songs performed by the entire band only (Berry, Buck, Mills and Stipe 1983-1997; Buck, Mills and Stipe 1998-2011). Side projects, including contributions by solo members of the band, are not included in this list. The list consists mostly of studio recordings. Remix and live recordings are not listed separately unless the song was only released in that form. Album singles are listed as released on their respective album. Only one release is listed per song, except for their first Hib-Tone single.Losing My Religion
"Losing My Religion" is a song by the American alternative rock band R.E.M. The song was released as the first single from the group's 1991 album Out of Time. Built on a mandolin riff, "Losing My Religion" was an unlikely hit for the group, garnering extensive airplay on radio as well as on MTV and VH1 due to its critically acclaimed music video. The song became R.E.M.'s highest-charting hit in the United States, reaching No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and expanding the group's popularity beyond its original fanbase. Out of Time garnered R.E.M. seven nominations at the 1992 Grammy Awards, the most nominations of any artist that year. The band won three awards: one for Best Alternative Music Album and two for "Losing My Religion", Best Short Form Music Video and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.Mine Smell Like Honey
"Mine Smell Like Honey" is a song by American alternative rock band R.E.M.. It was released as the second single from their fifteenth and final studio album Collapse into Now on January 18, 2011.Near Wild Heaven
"Near Wild Heaven" is the third single released from R.E.M.'s seventh studio album Out of Time in 1991. The song was the first single released by the band to have had its lyrics both co-written and sung by bassist Mike Mills. According to a quotation from Peter Buck in R.E.M. Inside Out: The Stories Behind Every Song by Craig Rosen, the lyrics are a collaboration between Mills and lead singer Michael Stipe. It peaked at No. 27 on the UK Singles Chart but the single was not released in the United States.
Mike Mills had previously written the lyrics to the single "(Don't Go Back To) Rockville" and he had sung the cover song "Superman", but he had not previously sung his own work on a released recording.
The song is considered to be a tribute to 1960s-pop sunniness.Nightswimming
"Nightswimming" is a song by the American alternative rock band R.E.M. It was released in 1993 as the fifth single from the group's eighth album Automatic for the People (1992). "Nightswimming" is a ballad featuring singer Michael Stipe accompanied only by bassist Mike Mills on piano (lyrics and music respectively, but credited to the whole band as usual), a string arrangement by former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones, and a prominent oboe by Deborah Workman in the latter part of the piece. Stipe sings about a group of friends who go skinny dipping at night, which draws from similar experiences in the band's early days.Orange Crush (song)
"Orange Crush" is a song by the American alternative rock band R.E.M. It was released as the first single from the band's sixth studio album, Green, in 1988. It was not commercially released in the U.S. despite reaching number one as a promotional single on both the Mainstream and Modern Rock Tracks (where, at the time, it had the record for longest stay at number one with eight weeks, beating U2). It peaked at number 28 on the UK Singles Chart, making it the band's then-highest chart hit in Britain, where they promoted the song by making their debut appearance on Top of the Pops.The video for the song, directed by Matt Mahurin, won the band its first VMA, for Best Post-Modern Video. "Orange Crush" was also the first song to win in the category.
The song was placed on R.E.M.'s Warner Bros. Records compilation In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988–2003 in 2003, and a live version appears on the R.E.M. Live album recorded in Dublin in 2005.
The song's title is a reference to the chemical defoliant Agent Orange manufactured by Monsanto Corporation and Dow Chemical for the U.S. Department of Defense and used in the Vietnam War. Stipe opened the song during The Green World Tour by singing the famous U.S. Army recruiting slogan, "Be all you can be... in the Army." Stipe's father served in the Vietnam War.British indie rock band Editors recorded a cover of "Orange Crush" as the B-side for the re-issue of the "Blood" single.Pop Song 89
"Pop Song 89" is the opening track and third single released from R.E.M.'s sixth studio album Green. It peaked at number 86 on the Hot 100, and in the UK "Stand" was re-released instead.
The video was directed by band frontman Michael Stipe and features him and three women, all of them topless, dancing to the song. When MTV asked Stipe to put censor bars on the three women in the video, he superimposed black bars on the chests of all four dancers, himself included, later stating, "a nipple is a nipple."The acoustic version that was used as the single's B-side was also included on disc 4 of the 1993 box set The Automatic Box, along with the other Green B-sides, and the bonus disc of the limited two-disc edition of In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003 in 2003.Radio Song
"Radio Song" is the fourth single released by R.E.M. from their 1991 album Out of Time, where it appeared as the opening track.
Lead singer Michael Stipe once said that he hoped everyone had enough sense of humor to realize that he was "kind of taking the piss of everyone," himself included.Stipe also asked KRS-One, leader of Boogie Down Productions (of which Stipe was a fan), to contribute to the track. He provides some backing vocals for the track, as well as a closing rap, and appears prominently in the video.Star 69 (R.E.M. song)
"Star 69" is a song from the R.E.M. album Monster. It was not released as an official single but still reached No. 74 on the US Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart. It received a promotional release in Spain.Texarkana (song)
"Texarkana" is a song from R.E.M.'s studio album Out of Time. Though not released as a single, it managed to chart at number 4 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart and number 6 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. This song was written, musically and lyrically, by bassist Mike Mills (credited to Berry/Buck/Mills/Stipe), as vocalist Michael Stipe had been having problems for weeks trying to come up with lyrics for it. As a result, Mills also sang lead vocals.
The title is a reference to the city of Texarkana (located on the border of Texas and Arkansas), originally mentioned in the chorus before it was changed. As heard on the Outtakes of Time bootleg as well as Out of Time's 25th Anniversary edition, Stipe's original chorus was "When I'm out in Texarkana / where's that county line / another county line."
It is one of few songs that the band never performed live.The One I Love (R.E.M. song)
"The One I Love" is a song by American alternative rock band R.E.M. It was released on the band's fifth full-length studio album, Document, and also as a 7" vinyl single in 1987. The song was their first hit single, reaching No. 9 in the US Billboard Hot 100, No. 14 in Canada, and later reached No. 16 in the UK singles chart on its UK release (1991). The song was included in Activision's Guitar Hero World Tour and is in Guitar Hero on Tour: Decades, as well as Harmonix's Rock Band 4.The accompanying video's director was artist Robert Longo. The director of photography was Alton Brown, who later became a Food Network personality.
In March 2005, Q magazine placed "The One I Love" at number 57 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks. In 2012, Slant Magazine listed the song as the 38th best single of the 1980s.The song is included on R.E.M. Live.Wanderlust (R.E.M. song)
"Wanderlust" is a song by R.E.M. It was released as their fourth and final single from their thirteenth studio album, Around the Sun. The song has a partially compound time signature; 4/4 in the verses and 7/4 in the chorus.
A version of the song, called "Wanderlust (Clayton St. Studio version)", was released as a digital download only and later added in the compilation AthFest 10.Überlin
"Überlin" is a song by American alternative rock band R.E.M.. It was released as the third single from their fifteenth and final studio album Collapse into Now on January 25, 2011.
The song's music video was directed by Sam Taylor-Wood and stars her fiancé, actor Aaron Johnson, dancing in an area of Shoreditch.