R.E.M. was an American rock band from Athens, Georgia, formed in 1980 by lead singer Michael Stipe, lead guitarist Peter Buck, bassist/backing vocalist Mike Mills, and drummer Bill Berry. One of the first alternative rock bands, R.E.M. were noted for Buck's ringing, arpeggiated guitar style, Stipe's particular vocal quality, and Mills' melodic basslines and backing vocals. R.E.M. released their first single, "Radio Free Europe", in 1981 on the independent record label Hib-Tone. The single was followed by the Chronic Town EP in 1982, the band's first release on I.R.S. Records.