Songs For A Future Generation: Top 10 B-52's Deep Cuts
The B-52's are the quintessential alternative/New Wave/jam band. They can be both metaphorical and fun at the same time. However, what makes them different from other New Wave bands is that lead singer Fred Schneider provides a unique sprechgesang style to the genre.
Photo by Mark C. Austin The B-52's at the 2009 Austin City Limits Music Festival
The band met after having a few cocktails at a Chinese restauarant in their hometown of Athens, GA in the fall of 1976. Their first gig was played on Valentines Day in 1977 for a friend's party. This led to them taking road trips up to New York City to perform at the legendary CBGB's and, eventually, the release of their 1979 self-titled debut.
Their 1979 self-titled debut was released to favorable reviews and gave them one of their most memorable hits, "Rock Lobster." "Rock Lobster" was even praised by the late legendary John Lennon who said the song inspired him to go back into the studio with his wife, Yoko Ono, and release his final album, Double Fantasy.
However, everyone has heard "Roam" (it was used in a medicine commercial sometime in the '90s) "Rock Lobster," and "Love Shack" at some point. So here's some tracks you probably have not heard from this fun, legendary band.
10. "Channel Z": When Cosmic Thing was released in 1989, it became the band's biggest album yet due to a single called "Love Shack." Cosmic Thing went 4x platinum and hit #4 on the US Billboard 200. The song talks about a fictitious station that broadcasts only static and boasts "Channel Z, all static, all day forever!"
9. "Housework": While the Bouncing Off the Satellites album abandoned the sound that made the B-52's famous, it still maintains their signature quirky lyrics. But the best thing about "Housework" is that it showcases what vocalist Kate Pierson can do as far as her craft goes. She is indeed a unique voice, which has served her and the band well.
8. "There's A Moon In the Sky (Called the Moon)": In the early days, the B-52's were a fun-loving, quirky band. Their lyrics were nonsensical but still enjoyable. This is what made them refreshingly different than other mainstream New Wave bands like Blondie and Talking Heads.
7. "Planet Claire": Ever wonder what aliens would sound like as rock stars? "Planet Claire" perfectly captures what music from Mars may sound like if there really are little Martian musicians.
6. "The Flinstones Theme": In 1994, the B-52's became the B.C.-52's and made a cameo in the hit film The Flintstones, which starred John Goodman, Rosie O'Donnell, Elizabeth Perkins and Rick Moranis. They also performed a reworked version of the Hanna Barbara show's memorable theme song. With their signature quirkiness and musical style, this is essentially a hidden gem for the band.
5. "Topaz": One of the best things about this band is that, in addition to the sprechgesang-style provided by Schneider, there are also two very strong backup singers, Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson. Pierson and Wilson provide a great melody for this deep track.