Michael Stipe, former front man of US rock band R.E.M., has marked his 60th birthday with the release of his second ever solo single.

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Drive to the Ocean follows his debut solo single Your Capricious Soul, which the singer released in October. All proceeds from the new song will go to Pathway To Paris, a charity which brings together artists, musicians and activists to fight climate change.

"I am so happy to collaborate with Pathway To Paris for this year 2020. The work that they are doing is vital and foundational - it is essential for a future that we can and will claim as our own," long time environmental activist Stipe said in a statement.

Stipe is a long time environmental activist 

"From a very young age I attached our enlightened and active progress as humans to an ability to fix our own problems. Our most noble goal is to encourage and secure sustainable energy sources; and to support- rather than lessen - Gaia, our home that we share with so many different species, life energies, and life forces," he added.

Stipe, who fronted the much-loved R.E.M. from 1980 until their disbandment in 2011 and the release of their final album, Collapse Into Now, has hinted that he may be working on a solo album but nothing has been confirmed as yet.

R.E.M. were regular visitors to Ireland, playing their first gigs here in 1984 at the SFX in Dublin and made numerous returns, including a show at the RDS in 1989. They based themselves in Luttrellstown Castle in County Dublin to conduct promo for their Monster album in 1994. 

R.E.M. in Luttrellstown Castle in 1994. Photo: John C Cooney

They headlined Slane Castle in 1995 with Oasis among the support acts.and most recently the band played the Point Depot in 2005.

A then heavily-bearded Stipe was last seen in Dublin in 2015 when he dropped into music venue and barber shop Abner Browns in Rathmines, Dublin for a trim.

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