Music Monday: the B-52’s

b-52s

At the height of the New Wave music revolution, there were two bands that stood out and embraced by many: DEVO and The B-52’s.

The B-52’s have made quite a name for themselves since they released their debut album in 1979. Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson, Cindy Wilson and Keith Strickland are the current members. Ricky Wilson died in 1985 to complications with AIDS. With one album exception since Ricky’s death [1992’s “Good Stuff”] all remaining members have been part of making new music. Granted, even thought the last new album from the band was 2008’s “Funplex”, the band continues to tour just about every year, even though most of the members are in their 60’s.

I’ve been a fan since the first time I heard “Planet Claire”, the opening track from the first album. I remember hanging out with friends at Huntington Beach and someone had a boom box playing “52 Girls”. Then “Dance This Mess Around” came on. And then hearing “Rock Lobster” for the first time… hanging by the fire having fun…. Tracking right into “Lava”, which became my favorite song off the album. Years later, after his death, I heard that John Lennon was a fan of this album. Talk about validation for a new form of music.

In 1980, I carried around my own boom box during lunch time at high school, playing “Private Idaho” and “Strobe Light” thinking I was the shit. People made fun of me and I got scolded by a few teachers for the volume being too loud. But I didn’t care. I liked this band.

Their beach guitar and female vocal sound is a great blend of music that is some parts fun, some parts party and a lot of parts modern. Their sound evolved from album to album starting with their third release “Mesopotamia”

Their biggest album to date is “Cosmic Thing”, released in 1989 and at a time when the band has considered calling it quits. The previous four years of dealing with the loss of Ricky Wilson put the band into a “make it or break it” situation. They obvious made it. Songs like “Love Shack” and “Roam” were huge radio staples.

I’ve seen the band live several times over the years and they never fail to get the crowd going, most of the time ending with “Love Shack”. They have been pretty consistent in their place amongst my iTunes library of music.

Anyone else a fan of The B-52’s?

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