Peter Buck is the guitarist for R.E.M., arguably the most important and influential American rock band of the post-punk era. Born December 6, 1956, in Berkeley, California, he was managing the Athens, Georgia-based Wuxtry record shop when he met University of Georgia student Michael Stipe, and with bassist Mike Mills and drummer Bill Berry, they formed R.E.M. in the spring of 1980. Distinguished by Buck's chiming guitar riffs, the group honed an atmospheric, jangly pop sound often reminiscent of the Byrds, touring relentlessly prior to issuing their debut single, "Radio Free Europe," on the tiny Hib-Tone label in mid-1981; after the record's success on college radio attracted the attention of IRS Records, they released the Chronic Town EP a year later. R.E.M.'s first full-length album, 1983's Murmur, cemented their reputation as critics' darlings; despite little mainstream airplay, 1984's Reckoning reached the Top 30 and with the darkly beautiful follow-up Fables of the Reconstruction, the band earned increasing MTV visibility for the videos "Can't Get There from Here" and "Driver 8."