Slacker Logo
Tuning

Artist

The B-52's

ON AIR
Advertisement
Advertisement
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

    Halloween

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