The B-52s, that “garage band from Athens, GA” created its own unimitatable twist on the New Wave era when it burst upon the music scene in 1978 with their first single, “Rock Lobster”. They blended New Wave, dance, surf music, and unique guitar stylings to set the standard for party band music.
The group was formed in 1976 by sprechgesang (spoken-song) vocalist Fred Schneider along with the operatically-trained Kate Pierson, Cindy Wilson, drummer Keith Strickland, and guitarist Ricky Wilson (Cindy’s older brother).
(Image from here.)
Ricky Wilson died in 1985 due to AIDS-related causes, but the rest of the band still rocks on, and in March 2008 released its first album for the 21st century, “Funplex”.
I was an angst-ridden but optimistic teenager in the ’80s, and it was this band’s music that kept me rockin’ and rollin’. Their sometimes unintelligible and incomprehensible lyrics (much like Lewis Carroll’s poems in “Alice in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass”) described pretty much how I felt most of the time.
Here’s a compilation of my absolute favorite B-52s songs. Bless Youtube for archiving these very rare music videos.
Private Idaho (1980)
An iconic dance tune that rocked the angry and rebellious youth of the world – and kept them in the dance halls and off the streets, where they could have hurt themselves.
Give Me Back My Man (1980)
“I’ll give you fish/ I’ll give you candy/ I’ll give youuu…/ Everything I have in my hand…/ Give me, give me back my man…” I mean, who else could have come up with lyrics this surreal yet somehow absurdly profound.
Legal Tender (1983)