Slacker Logo


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
Read More Read Less

Stations Featuring
The B-52's


    2 songs

    Female Rock

    Female Rock
    2 songs

    '80s Alternative

    '80s Alternative
    8 songs

    New Wave

    New Wave
    5 songs

    Patriotic Songs

    1 song

    Awesome '80s

    2 songs

    Wedding Songs

    1 song

    Gay Anthems

    3 songs

    Shuffle Hits

    2 songs

    Adult Alternative

    1 song

    Adult Rock

    1 song

Albums by
The B-52's

Top Songs by
The B-52's

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

Artists Related to The B-52's