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Pur­vey­ors of sta­dium-both­er­ing alt rock through much of the 90s, REM’S her­itage is more var­ied than you might think, from their spindly post-punk roots in 1980s Ge­or­gia to the folk­in­flected bal­lads of their hey­day.

Gui­tarist Peter Buck, a self­con­fessed rhythm player, shaped the group’s sound with his Rick­en­backer 360, a fist­ful of arpeg­gios and a sub­tle, con­sid­ered play­ing style that shunned the six-string grandstanding of his peers: “If you have good enough taste,” he noted, “you don’t have to be a great mu­si­cian to make great mu­sic.”

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