Bono Explains How R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe Changed ‘The Way We See America’

U2 and R.E.M. emerged around the same time and had a chance to perform on the same stage during a European tour. Throughout the years, U2’s Bono grew fond of Michael Stipe’s music and admired the musician’s work with R.E.M. In his new memoir, Bono argued that Michael Stipe wrote lyrics that changed the perception of the United States.

Starting from their inception, R.E.M. sought to reflect political and social issues in their music, and they handled this with a liberal and politically correct outlook. Especially when the band was formed, R.E.M. was involved in the local politics of their hometown of Athens, Georgia. The band focused on making their town a better place, as Stipe believed one needed to think and act locally.

“R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe’s lyrics changed the way we see America,” said Bono about Michael Stipe’s impact on their country’s representation. “He also has one of the great voices of any geography. This was a band that made the whole world want to visit Athens, Georgia.” U2 has a known fascination with American South and especially Georgia, so it’s not a surprise that Bono admires what R.E.M. did for their hometown.

Bono recently released his memoir ‘Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story.’ In the book, he wrote about his fellow musicians and personal experiences in the music industry. As it appears, Bono felt the need to pay homage to R.E.M. and Michael Stipe’s contributions to the music scene in his new book. Besides, he seems thankful that Stipe greatly influenced everyone’s perception of America.