Today is the birthday of R.E.M. front man and lyricist MICHAEL STIPE.  Born John Michael Stipe he’s become well-known (and occasionally parodied) for the “mumbling” style of his early career and for his complex, surreal lyrics, as well as his social and political activism.

Stipe is responsible for the band’s visual image, often selecting album artwork and directing many of the band’s music videos. Stipe’s work extends outside of the music industry, and he runs his own film production companies, C-00 and Single Cell Pictures.

His hit songs with R.E.M include Losing my religion (1991), Shiny Happy People (1991), Radio song (1991), Drive (1992), Man on the Moon (1992), Everybody hurts (1993), What’s the frequency, Kenneth (1994), Bang and blame (1994), and Strange currencies (1995).