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The B-52's

ON AIR

Bio

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
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Albums by
The B-52's

    15 songs

    On Air

    Live in London 2013

    10 songs

    On Air

    Good Stuff

    10 songs

    On Air

    Cosmic Thing

    10 songs

    On Air

    Bouncing Off the Satellites

    9 songs

    On Air

    Live! 8-24-1979

    9 songs

    On Air

    Whammy!

    9 songs

    On Air

    Wild Planet

    9 songs

    On Air

    The B-52's

    11 songs

    On Air

    Funplex

    5 songs

    On Air

    Rhino Hi-Five: The B-52's

    7 songs

    On Air

    Time Capsule - Mixes: Hallucinating Pluto

    2 songs

    On Air

    Roam

    2 songs

    On Air

    Love Shack

    2 songs

    On Air

    Rock Lobster

    3 songs

    On Air

    Funplex

    35 songs

    On Air

    Nude on the Moon: The B-52's Anthology

    5 songs

    On Air

    Time Capsule - Mixes: Summer of Love 98

    18 songs

    On Air

    Time Capsule: Songs for a Future Generation

    12 songs

    On Air

    Party Mix!/Mesopotamia

    4 songs

    On Air

    Juliet of the Spirits

    18 songs

    On Air

    With the Wild Crowd! Live in Athens, GA

    11 songs

    On Air

    Live On Studio Jam - WSAI FM Chicago 1 Jan 1978 (Live FM Radio Concert Remastered In Superb Fidelity)

    10 songs

    On Air

    Bouncing Off the Satellites

    9 songs

    On Air

    Wild Planet

    9 songs

    On Air

    The B-52's

    47 songs

    On Air

    Original Album Series

    18 songs

    On Air

    Time Capsule: Songs for a Future Generation

    4 songs

    On Air

    Juliet of the Spirits

    2 songs

    On Air

    Roam

    2 songs

    On Air

    Love Shack

    1 song

    On Air

    Tell It Like It T-I-Is

    4 songs

    On Air

    Whammy!: Remix EP

    6 songs

    On Air

    Party Mix!

    6 songs

    On Air

    Mesopotamia

    7 songs

    On Air

    Mesopotamia

    20 songs

    On Air

    With the Wild Crowd! Live in Athens, GA

    7 songs

    On Air

    Live Germany 1983

    9 songs

    On Air

    Live! 8-24-1979


Top Songs by
The B-52's

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   Roam
  3.   Rock Lobster
  4.   Love Shack
  5.   Dance This Mess Around
  6.   Private Idaho
  7.   Strobe Light
  8.   52 Girls
  9.   Deadbeat Club
  10.   Planet Claire
  11.   Summer of Love
  12.   Song for a Future Generation
  13.   Devil in My Car
  14.   Party Out of Bounds
  15.   Quiche Lorraine
  16.   Legal Tender
  17.   Give Me Back My Man
  18.   Juliet of the Spirits
  19.   Channel Z
  20.   Junebug
  21.   Ain't It a Shame
  22.   Shake That Cosmic Thing
  23.   Mesopotamia
  24.   Girl from Ipanema Goes to Greenland
  25.   Runnin' Around
  26.   Whammy Kiss
  27.   Nip It in the Bud
  28.   Downtown
  29.   Trism
  30.   Planet Caire
  31.   Love in the Year 3000
  32.   Pump
  33.   Breezin'
  34.   Bad Influence
  35.   Revolution Earth
  36.   She Brakes For Rainbows
  37.   There's a Moon in the Sky (Called the Moon)
  38.   Lava
  39.   Queen of Las Vegas
  40.   6060-842
  41.   6060-842 (6060 842)
  42.   Keep This Party Going
  43.   Dancing Now
  44.   Deviant Ingredient
  45.   Eyes Wide Open
  46.   Funplex
  47.   Ultraviolet
  48.   Hot Corner
  49.   Hallucinating Pluto
  50.   Debbie
  51.   Dreamland
  52.   Good Stuff
  53.   Hot Pants Explosion
  54.   Tell It Like It T-I-Is
  55.   Cosmic Thing
  56.   Throw That Beat in the Garbage Can
  57.   Deep Sleep
  58.   Is That You Mo-Dean?
  59.   Communicate
  60.   Theme for a Nude Beach
  61.   Detour Thru Your Mind
  62.   Hero Worship
  63.   53 Miles West of Venus
  64.   Big Bird
  65.   Wig
  66.   Dirty Back Road
  67.   Whammy
  68.   60606-842
  69.   Band Intros
  70.   Too Much to Think About
  71.   The World's Green Laughter
  72.   Dry County
  73.   Cake
  74.   Follow Your Bliss
  75.   Topaz
  76.   Work That Skirt
  77.   Moon 83
  78.   Bushfire
  79.   Vision of a Kiss
  80.   Juicy Jungle
  81.   Housework
  82.   Loveland
  83.   Butterbean
  84.   (Meet) The Flintstones
  85.   The Bedrock Twitch
  86.   Revolution
  87.   Return to Dreamland
  88.   The Chosen One
  89.   Hot Mix Radio Megamix
  90.   Hot Mix Club Megamix
  91.   Love Struck
  92.   Love Shack '99
  93.   Legal Tender Major Tweaks Remix
  94.   Riton Remix
  95.   Song for a Feature Generation Major Tweaks Mix
  96.   Whammy Kiss MHC Remix
  97.   Throw That Beat In The Garbage Can/Nip It In The Bud
  98.   Future Generation
  99.   Tell It Like It T-I-S
  100.   Downtime
  101.   Love Snack
  102.   Tell It Like T-I-S
  103.   Laura
  104.   Girl Form Ipanema Goes to Greenland
  105.   Juliet of Spirits
  106.   Juliet of the Spirits (Glenn Morrison & Bruce
  107.   Fifty Three Miles West Of Venus
  108.   Devils In My Car

Stations & Shows Featuring
The B-52's

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    Slacker 20: Songs Dads Like

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    Euphoric Hits

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    Need More Cowbell: The Countdown

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    Ladies That Rock

    On Air

    '80s Alternative

    On Air

    All-Time Top 55 Songs of Summer

    On Air

    Sing-A-Long Songs

    On Air

    Singing In The Shower

    On Air

    New Wave Deep Dive

    On Air

    Arcade Fire: DNA

    On Air

    Family Road Trip

    On Air

    101 Greatest New Wave Songs

    On Air

    4th of July Celebration

    On Air

    '80s Hits

    On Air

    Post-Holiday Chill

    On Air

    Classic Alternative

    On Air

    Dive Bar Jukebox

    On Air

    Kids Classic Hits

    On Air

    Great Songs You Forgot

    On Air

    Gwen Stefani: DNA

    On Air

    Adult Alternative

    On Air

    The Current


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