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The B-52's

The first of many acts to cement the college town of Athens, Georgia, as a hotbed of alternative music, and one of the first American new wave acts to fuse retro-styled rock & roll with dance-friendly rhythms, the B-52s took their name from the Southern slang for the mile-high bouffant wigs sported by singers Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson, a look emblematic of the band's campy, thrift-store aesthetic. The five-piece group, which also included vocalist Fred Schneider, guitarist Ricky Wilson (Cindy's older brother), and drummer Keith Strickland, formed in 1976 after a drunken evening at a Chinese restaurant; the bandmembers had little or no previous musical experience, and performed most of their earliest shows with taped guitar and percussion accompaniment.

In 1978, after gaining enough confidence to venture into a recording studio, the B-52s pressed up a few thousand copies of the single "Rock Lobster," which became a modest hit on the nascent alternative rock circuit. The B-52s soon traveled to New York City, playing their first paying gig at the famed rock club Max's Kansas City. Subsequent appearances at CBGB brought the group to the attention of the New York press, and in 1979 the B-52s signed a recording contract with Warner Bros. for the United States and Island for the U.K. and Europe; Island founder Chris Blackwell flew the band to the Bahamas, where they quickly recorded their self-titled debut album, a collection of manic, bizarre, and eminently danceable songs that scored an underground club hit with a reworked version of "Rock Lobster." The following year, they issued Wild Planet, which reached the Top 20 on the U.S. album charts; Party Mix!, an EP's worth of reworked material from the band's first two proper outings, appeared in 1981.

Hoping to expand their musical approach, the B-52s recruited friend and fan David Byrne to produce their third album, but by all accounts, the bandmembers (and their record labels) were not happy with the results, which emphasized a darker, funkier sound and minimized Ricky Wilson's guitar and the group's playful side. Ultimately, Byrne and the B-52s walked away from the project, and six completed tracks were released as an EP, 1982's Mesopotamia. After a Schneider solo LP, 1984's Fred Schneider & the Shake Society, the group returned to the studio to record 1986's Bouncing Off the Satellites. While the album tried to put a brave face on a difficult situation, Ricky Wilson was seriously ill while recording the LP, and on October 12, 1985, Ricky died; originally his death was attributed to natural causes, but it was later revealed that he had succumbed to AIDS-related illnesses. In light of Wilson's death, the B-52s found it impossible to promote the new album, and they spent the next several years on hiatus.

In 1989, the B-52s finally returned with Cosmic Thing, which became their most commercially successful effort to date. Marked by Strickland's move from drums to guitar and club-friendly production from Don Was and Nile Rodgers, the album launched several hit singles, including the party smash "Love Shack," "Roam," and "Deadbeat Club." In 1990, Cindy Wilson retired from active duty, leaving the remaining trio to soldier on for 1992's Good Stuff. A year later, dubbed the BC-52s, they performed the theme song for the live-action feature The Flintstones. In 1996, Fred Schneider released his second solo album, Just Fred, produced by Steve Albini and featuring accompaniment from members of the Didjits, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Six Finger Satellite, and Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet. Cindy Wilson returned to the group for a tour supporting the release of the 1998 hits collection Time Capsule: Songs for a Future Generation. Four years later, the double-disc compilation Nude on the Moon: The B-52's Anthology would dive deeper into their catalog by featuring rare tracks, live recordings, and remixes along with the hits.

In 2008, after 16 years away from the studio while the band toured periodically, the B-52s returned with a new album; released by Astralwerks, Funplex was a slick, synthesizer-driven effort produced by Steve Osborne. Meanwhile, Fred Schneider recorded a handful of singles and EPs with his side project the Superions, and in February 2015, Kate Pierson issued her first solo album, Guitars and Microphones. In April 2015, the B-52s released a digital-only archival release, Live! 8-24-1979, recorded as the band opened for Talking Heads just six weeks after their debut album was released. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Funplex (Radio Single)

Comments

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Tin roof..... Rusted
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So glad my mom was an 80's chick! Or else I wouldn't know who the b-52's are.
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We'll dance in the garden of torn sheets in the rain!!! We're the deadbeat club.
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saw them Halloween back in the day great show and memoirs not many shows like that now
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Love,Give Me Back My Man & Planet Clair the first song I ever heard by them
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I wouldn't bet on it Mike.
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Will music ever be this fun, again?
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Channel Z is my favorite.
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I love them.
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Love Shack - great video, dance tune. Gives me an auto high.
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melinda.odon n e l l 5
Saw them a couple times in early eighties, great band.
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love shack
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You know...you want me to too two...you know you love do or dew or du....you want me to drop one
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What is keeping The B-52's out of the Hall?

A) Idiocy
B) Ignorance
C) Gimmickiness
D) Campiness
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Hardly a mention of Kate Pierson who worked with many other artists, including Iggy Pop with who she sang Candy
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Reminds me of my Marine Corps days
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Look! It's a bikini whale!
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Extremely underrated band. Early b52s kicked major a**. Check out the black and white live videos on YouTube. Tight band. Great vocals. 1 of the us top bands . period.
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B-52`s are great. Unlike any other band ever!
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I love Kate and Cindy's harmony. Unlike any other band.
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This rocket leaves for Mars soon...
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glenceltic1
They put on one hell of a show
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Good sound.
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I found about them when I herd rock lobster! loved them ever sense
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you like the B52's you will love my band mountains of teenage girl turds
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daniel.craft 1
Don't read this because it actually works you will get kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. However if you don't post this comment you will die in 2 days.Now that you've started reading don't stop. Put this on at least 5 songs in the next 143 minutes when done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters. This is scary but it actually works. Don't read this because it actually works you will get kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. H
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Who's to blame
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charlie680
Saw them Earth day in Central Park (can't remember the year)
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Fun band. Unique sound only saw them once back in the mid 80s. Great show. Reminds me what it felt like to be young every time I hear them.
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They rock
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Oh fu*k My dad told me how my mother listened to this in High school or whatever.... . b u t we both hated it.....but now we just laugh the fu*k at it.
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Rock Lobster...<> <
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Wacky & fun
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Snuck into their concert in NYC back in 1993 (lied about my age!). What a fun time! They were introduced by RuPaul -- hilarious. Only downside was that I accidentally punched my sister in the face while dancing. LOL :)
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they will never die or get old they were cutting age when they came out and always will be the cream of the crop
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conroytr
Rock Lobster's gotta be my fav by them. Just do its lack of coherence
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The B-52's personify good time party music.
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Sorry thats Ricky the 52's aren't the same without you!
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RIP Dennis
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I'm living in my own private Idaho and I love it!
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Check out their music vids on tube. Especially " Revolution Earth"
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Love the 52's. Wish I had seen them in concert. Good time band. Had a crush on the ladies in the band.
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dancing at work.....
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Saw them at the Pacific Amphitheater last week in Orange County, Awesome Show! Still one of my favorite bands of all time!
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bryan5936
Just saw them last night at Del Mar - awesome
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I was at the Marysville show, they are just as good as in the 80'.
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michaeroo
Saw them in Marysville, WA of all places. Still fantastic!
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Awesome live show...only 52 girls in the audience
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travelbug64
I'm still friends with most of my high school friends, still hang out, and we graduated in 1982. The B-52's wrote the soundtrack to our lives.
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I just saw these guys a few nights ago in Boston. It was amazing. They have great energy and still sound great. Super cool sound.
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