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The B-52's

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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.   Quiche Lorraine
  15.   Party Out of Bounds
  16.   Legal Tender
  17.   Revolution Earth
  18.   Give Me Back My Man
  19.   6060-842 (6060 842)
  20.   Hot Corner
  21.   Downtown
  22.   Lava
  23.   6060-842
  24.   Queen of Las Vegas
  25.   There's a Moon in the Sky (Called the Moon)
  26.   Bad Influence
  27.   Mesopotamia
  28.   Theme for a Nude Beach
  29.   Girl from Ipanema Goes to Greenland
  30.   Wig
  31.   Juliet of the Spirits
  32.   Ultraviolet
  33.   Breezin'
  34.   Vision of a Kiss
  35.   Dreamland
  36.   Good Stuff
  37.   Hot Pants Explosion
  38.   Cosmic Thing
  39.   Nip It in the Bud
  40.   Throw That Beat in the Garbage Can
  41.   She Brakes For Rainbows
  42.   Communicate
  43.   Juicy Jungle
  44.   Ain't It a Shame
  45.   Channel Z
  46.   Runnin' Around
  47.   Work That Skirt
  48.   Big Bird
  49.   Butterbean
  50.   Bushfire
  51.   Shake That Cosmic Thing
  52.   Dirty Back Road
  53.   Whammy
  54.   60606-842
  55.   Keep This Party Going
  56.   Too Much to Think About
  57.   Eyes Wide Open
  58.   Funplex
  59.   Pump
  60.   Hallucinating Pluto
  61.   Debbie
  62.   Cake
  63.   Is That You Mo-Dean?
  64.   Housework
  65.   Junebug
  66.   53 Miles West of Venus
  67.   Whammy Kiss
  68.   Moon 83
  69.   Trism
  70.   Planet Caire
  71.   Band Intros
  72.   Dancing Now
  73.   Love in the Year 3000
  74.   Tell It Like It T-I-Is
  75.   Detour Thru Your Mind
  76.   Topaz
  77.   Hero Worship
  78.   Follow Your Bliss
  79.   Dry County
  80.   Deep Sleep
  81.   Loveland
  82.   Deviant Ingredient
  83.   The World's Green Laughter
  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

    On Air

    Slacker 20: Songs Dads Like

    On Air

    Euphoric Hits

    On Air

    Need More Cowbell: The Countdown

    On Air

    Ladies That Rock

    On Air

    '80s Alternative

    On Air

    All-Time Top 55 Songs of Summer

    On Air

    Singing In The Shower

    On Air

    Sing-A-Long Songs

    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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