The B-52's

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This article is about the band. The B-52's_sentence_0

For the band's eponymous album, see The B-52's (album). The B-52's_sentence_1

For other uses, see B52 (disambiguation). The B-52's_sentence_2

The B-52's_table_infobox_0

The B-52sThe B-52's_header_cell_0_0_0
Background informationThe B-52's_header_cell_0_1_0
OriginThe B-52's_header_cell_0_2_0 Athens, Georgia, U.S.The B-52's_cell_0_2_1
GenresThe B-52's_header_cell_0_3_0 The B-52's_cell_0_3_1
Years activeThe B-52's_header_cell_0_4_0 1976–presentThe B-52's_cell_0_4_1
LabelsThe B-52's_header_cell_0_5_0 The B-52's_cell_0_5_1
WebsiteThe B-52's_header_cell_0_6_0 The B-52's_cell_0_6_1
MembersThe B-52's_header_cell_0_8_0 The B-52's_cell_0_8_1
Past membersThe B-52's_header_cell_0_10_0 The B-52's_cell_0_10_1

The B-52s (styled as The B-52's prior to 2008) is an American new wave band which was formed in Athens, Georgia, in 1976. The B-52's_sentence_3

The original line-up consisted of Fred Schneider (vocals, percussion), Kate Pierson (vocals, keyboards), Cindy Wilson (vocals, percussion), Ricky Wilson (guitar), and Keith Strickland (drums, guitar, keyboards). The B-52's_sentence_4

Ricky Wilson died from AIDS-related illness in 1985, and Strickland switched from drums to lead guitar. The B-52's_sentence_5

The band also added touring members for albums and live performances. The B-52's_sentence_6

The group evoked a "thrift shop aesthetic", in the words of Bernard Gendron, by drawing from 1950s and 1960s pop sources, trash culture, and rock and roll. The B-52's_sentence_7

Schneider, Pierson, and Wilson sometimes use call-and-response-style vocals (Schneider's often humorous sprechgesang contrasting with the melodic harmonies of Pierson and Wilson), and their guitar- and keyboard-driven instrumentation composes their trademark sound which was also set apart from their contemporaries by the unusual guitar tunings used by Ricky Wilson on their earlier albums. The B-52's_sentence_8

The band has had many hits, including "Rock Lobster", "Planet Claire", "Private Idaho", "Whammy Kiss", "Party Out of Bounds", "Wig", "Love Shack" and "Roam". The B-52's_sentence_9

History The B-52's_section_0

1976–1979: Formation and early years The B-52's_section_1

The B-52's were formed in 1976 when vocalist Cindy Wilson, guitarist Ricky Wilson (her elder brother), keyboardist and vocalist Kate Pierson, drummer and percussionist Keith Strickland, and cowbell player, poet and lead vocalist Fred Schneider held an impromptu jam session after sharing a flaming volcano drink at a Chinese restaurant in Athens, Georgia. The B-52's_sentence_10

When they first jammed, Strickland played guitar and Ricky Wilson played congas. The B-52's_sentence_11

They later played their first concert (with Wilson playing guitar) in 1977 at a Valentine's Day party for their friends. The B-52's_sentence_12

The name B-52's comes from a particular beehive hairdo resembling the nose cone of the aircraft, which Pierson and Cindy Wilson wore in performances throughout the band's first decade. The B-52's_sentence_13

Other names the band considered were the "Tina-Trons" and "Fellini's Children". The B-52's_sentence_14

Strickland suggested the name after a dream he had had one night, of a band performing in a hotel lounge. The B-52's_sentence_15

In the dream he heard someone whisper in his ear that the name of the band was "the B-52s". The B-52's_sentence_16

The band's quirky take on the new wave sound of their era was a combination of dance and surf music set apart from their contemporaries by the unusual guitar tunings used by Ricky Wilson and thrift-store chic. The B-52's_sentence_17

Their first single, "Rock Lobster", recorded for DB Records in 1978, was an underground success, selling over 2,000 copies in total, that led to the B-52's performing at CBGB and Max's Kansas City in New York City. The B-52's_sentence_18

Both this version of "Rock Lobster" and its B-side "52 Girls" are different recordings from those on their first album, and the early version of "52 Girls" is in a different key. The B-52's_sentence_19

The re-recorded version of "Rock Lobster" was released as a single. The B-52's_sentence_20

In the UK and Germany it was backed with an instrumental version of "Running Around", a non-album track. The B-52's_sentence_21

(A vocal re-recording of this would appear on their second album, Wild Planet.) The B-52's_sentence_22

The buzz created by the record in the UK meant their first show in London at the Electric Ballroom was packed, and attended by UK pop stars including Sandie Shaw, Green Gartside from Scritti Politti, and Joe Jackson. The B-52's_sentence_23

In Canada, released on the Warner Bros. label, the single went from cult hit to reach the No. The B-52's_sentence_24

1 position in the RPM-compiled national chart on May 24, 1980. The B-52's_sentence_25

1979–1982: The B-52's, Wild Planet, and Mesopotamia The B-52's_section_2

In 1979, the B-52's signed contracts as they flew over to Compass Point Studios in Nassau, Bahamas to record their debut studio album, with Island founder Chris Blackwell producing. The B-52's_sentence_26

The band were surprised by Blackwell's recording methods; he wanted to keep the sound as close as possible to their actual live sound, so he used almost no overdubs or additional effects. The B-52's_sentence_27

Released on July 6, 1979, The B-52's contained re-recorded versions of "Rock Lobster" and "52 Girls", six originals recorded solely for the album, and a cover of the Petula Clark single "Downtown". The B-52's_sentence_28

The album was a major success, especially in Australia, where it reached number three on the charts alongside its three singles "Planet Claire", "Rock Lobster", and "Dance This Mess Around". The B-52's_sentence_29

In the US, the single "Rock Lobster" reached the Billboard Hot 100 chart, while the album itself was certified platinum by the RIAA. The B-52's_sentence_30

In 1980, John Lennon called the B-52's his favorite band, and specifically cited "Rock Lobster" as an inspiration for his comeback with Double Fantasy. The B-52's_sentence_31

In April 1980, The B-52's returned to Compass Point Studios to record their follow-up album. The B-52's_sentence_32

Several of the songs for the new album had been concert staples since 1978; the band consciously did not record them for their first album since they already had too many tracks and they wanted a strong second album, knowing that their live performances would make fans look forward to it. The B-52's_sentence_33

Rhett Davies co-produced the album, with more emphasis put on slick production; the album has a slightly more psychedelic and even paranoid sound than that of their debut. The B-52's_sentence_34

Released on August 27, 1980, Wild Planet was well received by critics, most of whom regarded it as a strong second album following the success of their first; many fans consider it their best album. The B-52's_sentence_35

The album reached number eighteen on the Billboard 200 chart in 1980 and was certified gold; "Private Idaho" became their second Hot 100 entry. The B-52's_sentence_36

On January 26, 1980, The B-52's performed on Saturday Night Live; they also performed at the Heatwave festival (which was promoted as the "New Wave Woodstock") in Toronto, Canada in August 1980, and appeared in the Paul Simon film One Trick Pony. The B-52's_sentence_37

In July 1981, Party Mix! The B-52's_sentence_38

was released, a six-song collection containing songs from their first two albums remixed and sequenced to form two long tracks, one on each side. The B-52's_sentence_39

In 1981, the band collaborated with Talking Heads' David Byrne to produce a third full-length studio album. The B-52's_sentence_40

Reportedly due to differences with Byrne over the album's musical direction, recording sessions for the album were aborted, prompting the band to release Mesopotamia in 1982 as an EP. The B-52's_sentence_41

In 1991, Party Mix! The B-52's_sentence_42

and Mesopotamia, the latter of which had been remixed, were combined and released together on a single compact disc. The B-52's_sentence_43

It was also in 1982 that the band appeared at the inaugural US Festival. The B-52's_sentence_44

They performed on the first day of the festival alongside Talking Heads, Oingo Boingo, and The Police. The B-52's_sentence_45

1982–1987: Whammy!, Bouncing off the Satellites, and death of Ricky Wilson The B-52's_section_3

In December 1982, the band began recording their third album, Whammy!. The B-52's_sentence_46

According to Pierson, Strickland no longer wanted to play the drums, so the band switched to drum machines for this album, with Strickland and Ricky Wilson playing all the music on that album, and the rest of the band providing vocals only. The B-52's_sentence_47

Having originally played guitars, organ, bass guitar and synthesizers, Pierson switched to a mainly vocal role in the studio, but remained behind the keyboards on tour. The B-52's_sentence_48

The band also began experimenting heavily with synthesizers during this period. The B-52's_sentence_49

Released on April 27, 1983, Whammy! The B-52's_sentence_50

reached number 29 on the Billboard 200 chart. The B-52's_sentence_51

"Legal Tender" reached the Billboard Hot 100 chart, as well as the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play Singles chart alongside "Whammy Kiss" and "Song for a Future Generation". The B-52's_sentence_52

For the Whammy! The B-52's_sentence_53

tour, some tracks featured Strickland on the drums while others used a backing track so that Strickland could come forward and play other parts. The B-52's_sentence_54

This also freed up the vocalists (now sometimes not playing instruments) to perform some simple choreography. The B-52's_sentence_55

Copyright issues with Yoko Ono led to the cover song "Don't Worry" being replaced by "Moon 83" — a rearranged version of "There's a Moon in the Sky (Called the Moon)" from their debut album — on future pressings of Whammy!. The B-52's_sentence_56

In January 1985, the band performed in Brazil at Rock in Rio, their largest crowd ever. The B-52's_sentence_57

Having taken a one-year break, the band struggled to write new material for their next album. The B-52's_sentence_58

They all lived together in the same house, and felt that collaboration was not working. The B-52's_sentence_59

They decided to try to write songs separately, and began recording in July 1985, again using drum machines and extensive synthesizers. The B-52's_sentence_60

During the recording, guitarist Wilson had been suffering from AIDS, though none of the other band members were aware of his illness except for Strickland, as he "did not want anyone to worry about him or fuss about him." The B-52's_sentence_61

Wilson died from his illness on October 12, 1985, at the age of 32. The B-52's_sentence_62

When the band returned to the studio, Strickland had learned how to play the guitar in Wilson's unique style and switched permanently to the new instrument, leaving session players to complete the rhythm section. The B-52's_sentence_63

The results were released on September 8, 1986, as Bouncing off the Satellites, a mixture of solo efforts and group efforts. The B-52's_sentence_64

Because of Wilson's death, the band did not tour to promote the album. The B-52's_sentence_65

A music video was made for "Girl from Ipanema Goes to Greenland" and the band appeared on some UK television programs but then took a two-year hiatus. The B-52's_sentence_66

Cindy Wilson was devastated by her brother's death, and her bandmates were depressed about Ricky's passing. The B-52's_sentence_67

The band went into seclusion and did not tour to promote their album. The B-52's_sentence_68

This was the beginning of an extended hiatus from their musical careers. The B-52's_sentence_69

In 1987, they released a public service announcement in the style of the Beatles' Sgt. The B-52's_sentence_70 Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover on behalf of amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research. The B-52's_sentence_71

1988–1992: Comeback, Cosmic Thing, and Good Stuff The B-52's_section_4

Strickland had been composing in 1988. The B-52's_sentence_72

After he played some of his new music for the other band members, they all agreed to try writing together again, with Pierson, Wilson and Schneider contributing the lyrics and melodies. The B-52's_sentence_73

In 1989, the band released Cosmic Thing, their mainstream breakthrough, released on Reprise Records worldwide. The B-52's_sentence_74

The single "Channel Z" from the new album became an alternative and college radio hit, hitting number one on the U.S. Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart, receiving significant airplay on MTV's modern rock show 120 Minutes. The B-52's_sentence_75

They then embarked on the Cosmic Tour. The B-52's_sentence_76

The next single, "Love Shack", with its party vibe and colorful music video, became their first top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, ultimately reaching No. The B-52's_sentence_77

3 in November 1989. The B-52's_sentence_78

That peak was matched in March 1990 when their follow-up single, "Roam", also reached No. The B-52's_sentence_79

3. The B-52's_sentence_80

In Australia, the country that had most embraced the band a decade earlier, "Love Shack" stayed at number one for eight weeks. The B-52's_sentence_81

A fourth single, "Deadbeat Club", which reminisced about the band's early days in Athens and whose video was shot on location and featured a cameo by fellow Athens artist R.E.M. The B-52's_sentence_82 's Michael Stipe, reached No. The B-52's_sentence_83

30. The B-52's_sentence_84

Cosmic Thing climbed into the U.S. top five and earned multi-platinum certification. The B-52's_sentence_85

it also had huge international success reaching No. The B-52's_sentence_86

1 in both Australia and New Zealand and No. The B-52's_sentence_87

8 in the UK. The B-52's_sentence_88

The group had a hugely successful world tour to support the record, and appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone in March 1990. The B-52's_sentence_89

In 1990, the B-52's were nominated for four MTV Video Music Awards including Video of the Year. The B-52's_sentence_90

They won two awards, Best Group Video and Best Art Direction. The B-52's_sentence_91

Pierson sang on Iggy Pop's song "Candy", which gave him a top 40 hit. The B-52's_sentence_92

In 1991, Schneider's solo record was repackaged and re-released, resulting in his first Hot 100 single when "Monster" climbed to No. The B-52's_sentence_93

85, and Pierson again guest-starred on a popular track, R.E.M. The B-52's_sentence_94

's "Shiny Happy People", which reached No. The B-52's_sentence_95

10 in September 1991. The B-52's_sentence_96

Pierson also appeared on two other songs from R.E.M. The B-52's_sentence_97

's chart-topping album Out of Time, "Near Wild Heaven", and "Me in Honey", as well as the outtake "Fretless". The B-52's_sentence_98

In late 1990 Cindy Wilson took time off from the band, with Julee Cruise filling in for her on tour. The B-52's_sentence_99

The B-52's released Good Stuff in 1992 as a trio – the only release on which Cindy Wilson was not present – and the title track reached No. The B-52's_sentence_100

28 in August of that year. The B-52's_sentence_101

The album made it to No. The B-52's_sentence_102

16 in the U.S. The B-52's_sentence_103

It is also the group's most overtly political album, though they had been activists and fundraisers for environmental, AIDS and animal rights causes for many years. The B-52's_sentence_104

1993–2007: Hiatus from studio material The B-52's_section_5

The band had their next chart entry in 1994 when, as The BC-52's, they appeared in The Flintstones live-action movie and sang the title song. The B-52's_sentence_105

When released as a single, it reached No. The B-52's_sentence_106

33 in the U.S. and No. The B-52's_sentence_107

3 in the UK. The B-52's_sentence_108

In 1994, Pierson and Schneider also sang on the theme song for the Nickelodeon series Rocko's Modern Life from the second season on. The B-52's_sentence_109

In the 1990s, former Duran Duran drummer Sterling Campbell joined the band, but left in 2000 to tour with David Bowie and was replaced that year by Zachary Alford, who had recorded and toured with the band during the Cosmic Thing era. The B-52's_sentence_110

Pierson and Cindy Wilson recorded the song "Ain't no Stopping us Now" for the 1996 film The Associate starring Whoopi Goldberg. The B-52's_sentence_111

Wilson rejoined the B-52's the same year. The B-52's_sentence_112

A career retrospective, Time Capsule: Songs for a Future Generation, appeared in 1998 along with two remixed maxi-singles "Summer of Love '98" and "Hallucinating Pluto". The B-52's_sentence_113

A major tour (with co-headliners the Pretenders) to promote the collection took place. The B-52's_sentence_114

"Debbie", another single from the album (a tribute to Blondie's Debbie Harry), placed 35 on Billboard's Hot Modern Rock Tracks. The B-52's_sentence_115

In 1999, they recorded a parody of "Love Shack" called "Glove Slap" for an episode of The Simpsons. The B-52's_sentence_116

They co-headlined another major tour in 2000 with the Go-Go's. The B-52's_sentence_117

In 2000, the band recorded the song "The Chosen One" for the movie Pokémon: The Movie 2000. The B-52's_sentence_118

A more extensive anthology, Nude on the Moon: The B-52's Anthology, appeared in 2002. The B-52's_sentence_119

In February of that year, the band held a series of concerts celebrating their 25th anniversary. The B-52's_sentence_120

The Irving Plaza show in New York City had Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz of Talking Heads and Yoko Ono as guests with Chicks on Speed as the opener. The B-52's_sentence_121

Coinciding with the band's 25th anniversary was the publication of "The B-52's Universe: The Essential Guide to the World's Greatest Party Band", the first and only officially authorized biography of the band. The B-52's_sentence_122

The book was nominated for a Lambda Lit Award and was a Minnesota Book Awards finalist. The B-52's_sentence_123

The B-52's recorded the song "Orange You Glad It's Summer" for a Target commercial that aired in spring/summer 2002. The B-52's_sentence_124

Target also used the song "Junebug" in a TV spot five years later. The B-52's_sentence_125

In late 2004, the band opened for Cher on a few dates of her Farewell Tour. The B-52's_sentence_126

In March 2006, they opened for The Rolling Stones at a benefit for the Robin Hood Foundation. The B-52's_sentence_127

They had three remix EPs released by Planet Clique: Whammy! The B-52's_sentence_128

in 2005, Mesopotamia in 2006, and Wild Planet in 2007. The B-52's_sentence_129

During this time span, they appeared on many television shows including The L Word, V.I.P. The B-52's_sentence_130 , The Rosie O'Donnell Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the Late Show with David Letterman, The Arsenio Hall Show, Saturday Night Live, Live with Regis and Kelly, The Today Show, Good Morning America and numerous times on VH1. The B-52's_sentence_131

2008–present: Funplex and continued touring The B-52's_section_6

In 2008, the band dropped the apostrophe from their name to become "The B-52s". The B-52's_sentence_132

Funplex, the band's first original album in 16 years (since 1992's Good Stuff), was released on March 25, 2008, by Astralwerks. The B-52's_sentence_133

Talking about the record's sound, Strickland noted, "It's loud, sexy rock and roll with the beat turned up to hot pink." The B-52's_sentence_134

The album is produced by Steve Osborne, who was asked to work on the album based on his work with New Order on the album Get Ready. The B-52's_sentence_135

The album debuted at No. The B-52's_sentence_136

11 on the Billboard charts in the U.S., immediately making it the second-highest charting B-52s album ever. The B-52's_sentence_137

The band toured in support of the album as well as making appearances on talk shows, including The Tonight Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and performing on The Today Show on Memorial Day 2008. The B-52's_sentence_138

They also participated in the True Colors Tour 2008 with Cyndi Lauper and embarked on a European tour in July. The B-52's_sentence_139

The first single from the album was "Funplex", which was released digitally on January 29 to the iTunes Store in the U.S. The B-52's_sentence_140

The second single lifted from the album was "Juliet of the Spirits". The B-52's_sentence_141

Schneider said in an interview that the album just broke even and could be the B-52s' last new studio album, though he later retracted that statement. The B-52's_sentence_142

The B-52s performed their hit track "Love Shack" with Sugarland at the 2009 CMT Music Awards. The B-52's_sentence_143

On February 18, 2011, the B-52s played a show at the Classic Center in their hometown of Athens, Georgia, four days after the 34th anniversary of their first-ever show on February 14, 1977. The B-52's_sentence_144

The concert was filmed and recorded for With the Wild Crowd! The B-52's_sentence_145 Live in Athens, GA, released in October 2011. The B-52's_sentence_146

The group continued to perform live, with a touring band including musicians Sterling Campbell (drums), Paul Gordon (keyboards, guitar) and Tracy Wormworth (bass), including the closing show for the 2011 edition of the Montreal Jazz Festival, and as the house band during the 2012 TV Land Awards. The B-52's_sentence_147

At the end of 2012, Strickland announced he would no longer tour with the B-52s, though he would continue as a member of the band. The B-52's_sentence_148

Without Strickland, the B-52's continued to tour across the world with groups including The Go-Go's, Tears for Fears, The English Beat, The Psychedelic Furs, Simple Minds, Boy George and Culture Club and Thompson Twins' Tom Bailey. The B-52's_sentence_149

Aside from touring, the group covered the Squidbillies theme song during Season 10 of the Adult Swim series and appeared as guests in the sketch comedy show Portlandia. The B-52's_sentence_150

During 2019, the group announced a tour starting in May in the States, taking in Europe, and back to the States through the fall. The B-52's_sentence_151

On September 30, 2019, the band is featured on the Archie Comics' comic book Archie Meets the B-52s, was released in February 2020. The B-52's_sentence_152

Band members The B-52's_section_7

Timeline The B-52's_section_8

Discography The B-52's_section_9

Main article: The B-52's discography The B-52's_sentence_153

The B-52's_unordered_list_0

See also The B-52's_section_10

The B-52's_unordered_list_1

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: B-52's.