I don’t have this band in heavy rotation on my playlist, but when I do play them, I very much appreciate how good they are. And they did one of my all-time favorite songs, one I do have in my rock and roll playlist — that being ‘Love Shack’ which also has a truly awesome video that you can see played live here. It is not one the songs played here as it apparently wasn’t part of their setlist until a few months later. And you can’t see the lovely official video because Warner Music, their label, has it blocked from being played, even on the band’s official Warner Music YouTube playlist.
If you’re not familiar with them, the B-52’s were one of bands that came out of the Eighties music scene in Athens, Georgia. They first came together in 1976 when the line-up consisted of Kate Pierson (organ, keyboards, bass, vocals), Fred Schneider (vocals, percussion, keyboards), Cindy Wilson (vocals, bongos, tambourine), Ricky Wilson (guitars, bakss), and Keith Strickland (drums, guitars, keyboards, synthesizers, various instruments). Following Wilson’s death from complications related to AIDS in 1985, Strickland switched full-time to guitar.
I would best describe their music as upbeat and pure pop for the most part. They’ve been described as post-punk, new wave, alternative and more other things than you could possibly reconcile as coming from one band. Think R.E.M. but with male and female vocalists, as you could see from the ‘Love Shack’ video.
It must’ve been a great show. They played an extend playlist (’52 Girls with the intro to the band)’, ‘6060-842’, ‘Lava’, ’Private Idaho’, ‘Devil in My Car’, ‘Dance This Mess Around’, ’Runnin’ Around’, ‘Rock Lobster (with encore comments)’ and ‘Strobe Light’), about forty minutes worth of their music played live.
If you’re a fan of the band, you’ll definitely want Live! 8.24.1979, because official live recordings of this band are scarce. The liner notes are both informative and entertaining — kudos to Real Gone Music for these. Oh and ‘Rock Lobster’ is wonderful played live!
(Real Gone Music, 2016)