R.E.M. stands for "rapid eye movement," the dream stage of sleep. One of the first alternative rock bands, the band was pivotal in the creation and development of the alternative rock genre. R.E.M. was noted for Peter Buck's ringing, arpeggiated guitar style, Michael Stipe's distinctive vocal quality and obscure lyrics, Mike Mills' melodic basslines and backing vocals, and Bill Berry's tight, economical style of drumming.