The B-52s & X
It is well known that the B-52s are the ‘World’s Greatest Party Band’. Thirty years and more than twenty million albums into their career, there can be no doubt as to why The B-52s remain among the most beloved rock stars of all time. Any mystery concerning the longevity and ongoing appeal of the band is immediately solved when exposed to a unique B-52s concert experience. From the timeless gems of "Rock Lobster," "Planet Claire" and "Private Idaho" to the more recent classics “Channel Z," "Love Shack" and "Roam," the B-52s’ unforgettable dance-rock tunes start a party every time their music begins.
Formed on an October night in 1976 following drinks at an Athens, GA, Chinese restaurant, the band played their first gig at a friend's house on Valentine's Day 1977. Naming themselves after Southern slang for exaggerated 'bouffant" hairdos, the newly-christened B-52s (Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson, Keith Strickland, Cindy Wilson and Ricky Wilson) began weekend road trips to New York City for gigs at CBGB's and a handful of other venues. Before long, their thrift store aesthetic and genre-defying songs were the talk of the post-punk underground. A record deal soon followed and their self-titled debut disc, produced by Chris Blackwell, sold more than 500,000 copies on the strength of their first singles, the garage rock party classic "Rock Lobster" and "52 Girls." The B-52s began to attract fans far beyond the punk clubs of the Lower East Side, galvanizing the pop world with their 'stream-of-consciousness' approach to songwriting and outrageous performance. They had clearly tapped into a growing audience for new music that was much larger than anyone could have anticipated. "We always appealed to people outside the mainstream," says Kate Pierson, "and I think more people feel they're outside the mainstream these days."
As the B-52s continue to take their party-music revolution into the 21st century, they show no signs of slowing down, serving up their own unique blend of music and showmanship to millions of fans around the world.
Three decades after the inception of X, one thing is clear: X was not only one of the most influential bands to crash out of the punk movement of the late ‘70s, but the band’s music continues to be sonically groundbreaking today. Songs written during the group’s inception are as relevant and inventive today as they were in 1977.
The B-52s formed after the individual members shared a Flaming Volcano drink at a Chinese restaurant. They soon developed a retro style complete with beehive hairdos for the ladies and lounge singer apparel for the men. The B-52s also developed a signature sound that combined dance music and surf rock that created a sort of upbeat new wave sound. This sound first appeared on their hit single, "Rock Lobster", which led to tour dates at underground clubs in New York and London. The B-52's debut eponymous album was a hit, becoming praised by critics and even garnering kind words from John Lennon before his death. Even after the death of guitarist Ricky Wilson, the B-52's continued to score hits with singles like "Love Shack" and "Roam" off of 1989's Cosmic Thing.
The B-52s latest album, Funplex, has also received great reviews from critics and reached #11 on the charts. The band has only a dozen or so remaining tour dates in 2011, which end on September 13. Buy your tickets on Eventful soon or risk waiting another year to see the B-52s live!