B-52s: Classic or Dud.

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A thread I'm assuming will turn into they were great up until X record* versus they weren't great at all. Feel free to treat as a single-by-single Search and Destroy, though.

* ("x record" being the one immediately before Cosmic Thing, at the very very latest.)

Nitsuh, Friday, 7 September 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

My take: not much of an album band, unless you just had to be listening at the time. But very classic on the basis of the big early singles, most notably "My Own Private Idaho" and "Rock Lobster."

Nitsuh, Friday, 7 September 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Classic. In my 1981 Junior High School yearbook it says "likes the B- 52s" under my picture. Of course, the first two lps were the best. But still love'em, on principle alone.

Sean, Friday, 7 September 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Cosmic Thing was huge in Australia and, surprisingly, - from the live shows - mostly amongst young girls who shrieked with joy when Deadbeat Club was played. I've always loved the first 2 LPs and enjoyed most of CT but the rest seems very forced indeed.

philT, Friday, 7 September 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

I'd say they were classic right up through _Cosmic Thing_. Some of the tracks off of that one are really nice, especially "Channel Z" and "Bushfire".

Still, how do you measure up to the genius of "52 Girls"?

Dan Perry, Friday, 7 September 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Best queercore band ever!

Arthur, Friday, 7 September 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Oh c'mon...."52 Girls," "Dance this Mess Around," and the celestial "Private Idaho"? CLASSIC, CLASSIC and thrice CLASSIC.

alex in nyc, Friday, 7 September 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

The Deadbeat Club is a fantastic song, why do I get the feeling I would've been one of those little girls being referenced screaming at it? But it was great, Cosmic Thing was a great CD.

Ally, Friday, 7 September 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

What everyone else said. After _Cosmic Thing_, ah well. I mean, what was that _Flintstones_ tie-in song about, for a start?

Ned Raggett, Friday, 7 September 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

I love how angry & absurd "dance this mess around" is: "I'm not no LIM-BUR-GER!"

fritz, Friday, 7 September 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Fritz, those were the dances that Fred and the girls created. I think they peaked at 'Whammy' - Song for a Future Generation was camp yet feel-good futurism (you could almost see an animated short as drawn by Kenny Scharff in place of they kitschy video)

Jason, Friday, 7 September 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Holy Geez! Have we possibly found a band that everyone on ILM will like?

(See how I'm baiting a contrarian to come along and disagree?)

Nitsuh, Saturday, 8 September 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

fucking classic, deadbeat club, rock lobster - oh, these guys I took my mom to see, but I also once had sex with a gorgeous hunk, listening to cosmic thing, plus b52s are huge in argentina...how many bands can you say that about (apart from air supply?)

Geoff, Saturday, 8 September 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

You have not found a band that everyone on ILM likes.

US/UK cultural equivalences: B-52s / Adam And The Ants??

Tom, Saturday, 8 September 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Classic for "Mesopotamia" alone.

Andy, Saturday, 8 September 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

The best band to come out of athens and make a splash on the ny art scene

anthony, Saturday, 8 September 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

The whole first record ist ROCK. It's the only one I've ever really heard but on that basis alone you'd have to give them ILM's golden ClassiXoR Card.

plus "Planet Claire" is a DJ's best friend.

Tracer Hand, Sunday, 9 September 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

"Hero Worship! He deserves it! I preserve it" Such brilliant lyrics on those first couple of albums. Tracer, get the second one! It's just as good as the first. "My Own Private Idaho" and "Give Me Back My Man" are especially good. "I'll give you fish I'll give you candy I'll give you everything I have in my hand

Arthur, Sunday, 9 September 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

"Planet Claire" = first single mark s evah bought

mark s, Sunday, 9 September 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

US/UK cultural equivalences: B-52s / Adam And The Ants??

No. I have no problem with the B-52s, but saying that is like saying "A Regular Ass Candy Wrapper / The Candy Wrapper With The Golden Ticket??"

Ally, Sunday, 9 September 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Ally again speaks wisdom. Much as I enjoy the early B-52 albums, Adam is a God and the boxset proves it.

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 9 September 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Wasn't Rock Lobster the song that got Lennon to take his guitar down again in 1980 ater he heard it in a Carribean nightclub? He claimed the world was finally catching up with the Yoko stuff.

David Gunnip, Monday, 10 September 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

McCartney reckons "Coming Up" was the song which brought Lennon back into the fray (it was so good he just had to try to match it). I find the B52s argument more plausible though.

scott, Monday, 10 September 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

I hope a big rock lobster comes along and bites the B52s very hard. And the Violent Femmes too. I don't like that sort of thing at all. American college rock they used to call it. Yeach!

Nick, Monday, 10 September 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

"Good Stuff" (the song) is the only thing past Cosmic Thing I enjoy, but it's a damn catchy song. Other than what's been mentioned, search "Summer of Love" and "Strobe Light".

palpable, Tuesday, 11 September 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Am I the only one who thinks the Comedy Central logo music is a funky bass version of the guitar line from "Roam" with two notes different?

Tracer Hand, Tuesday, 11 September 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

one year passes...
Wow....look when the last date that someone posted to this board was!

In any event, I'm listening to Nude on the Moon right now, so REVIVE!

And look.....even Killing Joke approves! (check out Youth's shirt!)

http://www.an-irrational-domain.net/images/youth/youth15.JPG

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Tuesday, 8 July 2003 20:12 (sixteen years ago) link

..and doesn't Jaz look surprised at that!

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Tuesday, 8 July 2003 20:15 (sixteen years ago) link

Classis up through Cosmic Thing, after that, the band wasn't really the B-52s anymore, with Ricky dead and Cindy in absentia. But Fred Schneider - damn, that man is a god. One of the funniest, weirdest, most-overflowing-with-personality-while-not-demonstrating-any-particular-talent-ed guys EVER! He makes the band for me, his songs are always highlights.

Shakey Mo Collier, Tuesday, 8 July 2003 20:36 (sixteen years ago) link

Favorite moment: just a few seconds into "Party Out of Bounds" when Fred yells "SU-PRIIIIISE!" like a drunk Charles Nelson Reily violating Paul Lynn at a toga party. Classic.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Tuesday, 8 July 2003 20:41 (sixteen years ago) link

"dirty back roads" is a brilliant piece of ambient music and the rest ain't bad either

CLASSIC

Millar (Millar), Tuesday, 8 July 2003 20:47 (sixteen years ago) link

the first 2 LPs are godlike.

electric sound of jim (electricsound), Tuesday, 8 July 2003 22:11 (sixteen years ago) link

DO THE AQUAVELVA

gygax! (gygax!), Tuesday, 8 July 2003 22:15 (sixteen years ago) link

like a drunk Charles Nelson Reily violating Paul Lynn at a toga party

This description is so classic, it hurt my hips.

donut bitch (donut), Tuesday, 8 July 2003 22:27 (sixteen years ago) link

<>

My answer is stupid, but: Los Fabulosos Cadillacs.

Cacaman Flores, Tuesday, 8 July 2003 22:43 (sixteen years ago) link

1st 2 records classic. Tons of great songs, but no classic albums after that. Also no duds.

John Bullabaugh (John Bullabaugh), Wednesday, 9 July 2003 01:49 (sixteen years ago) link

cindy is the woman of my dreams.

di smith (lucylurex), Wednesday, 9 July 2003 02:03 (sixteen years ago) link

How did I not know Ricky Wilson was DEAD? He'd better have died saving his two year old cousin from an alligator or something heroic like that

Andrew Thames (Andrew Thames), Wednesday, 9 July 2003 11:56 (sixteen years ago) link

AIDS heroic enough?

Colin Meeder (Mert), Wednesday, 9 July 2003 12:09 (sixteen years ago) link

Yeah, why not.

Andrew Thames (Andrew Thames), Wednesday, 9 July 2003 12:16 (sixteen years ago) link

one year passes...
IT'S 2525 AND WE'VE GOT THE HOTTEST WIGS ALIVE!

Shaeky Mo Collier, Monday, 18 April 2005 22:38 (fourteen years ago) link

I don't know. "Whammy" has some wonderful songs ("Butterbean," "Legal Tender," "Song for a Future Generation"), and so does the one after that, after Ricky died. If you can find the original LP edition of "Whammy," they do a rather good Yoko Ono covers (and one of the first).

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Monday, 18 April 2005 22:44 (fourteen years ago) link

I have the LP but I guess it aint the original cuz its sans any Yoko Ono songs. What did they cover? Hopefully either "What a Bastard the World is" (her best tune ever) or "Mind Train"

Shakey Mo Collier, Monday, 18 April 2005 22:48 (fourteen years ago) link

Shakey: they covered "Don't Worry, Mummy"

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Monday, 18 April 2005 22:52 (fourteen years ago) link

whenever I worry that none of the music of my youth still holds its appeal (some albums lose their original kick and gain a new one I never would have noticed before) I throw on Cosmic Thing, which - fuck it all - still sounds like a million bucks.

miccio (miccio), Monday, 18 April 2005 22:53 (fourteen years ago) link

The newer editions of Whammy replaced the Yoko cover with "Moon 83"

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Monday, 18 April 2005 22:55 (fourteen years ago) link

they're classic. saw them on the "cosmic thing" tour and had great time. still love "whammy" and "legal tender" best of all their stuff.

edd s hurt (ddduncan), Monday, 18 April 2005 22:56 (fourteen years ago) link

I want the original Mesopotamia EP -- as in the original David Byrne mix -- on CD. I like the 1990 mix (where they pretty much un-David Byrne-d it), but the original one is excellent too... it's as if Byrne used the B-52s as a vehicle to compete with the Tom Tom Club in '81/'82... that EP is an oft-forgotten gem in the canon of "post-punk-disco".

donut debonair (donut), Monday, 18 April 2005 23:24 (fourteen years ago) link

That said, you can a near mint copy of the EP on vinyl for pocket change.

donut debonair (donut), Monday, 18 April 2005 23:25 (fourteen years ago) link

I should underscore that the arrangements for most of the songs on the original vs. 1990 remix of Mesopatamia are like night and day. The original is far more sparse and dubby, and entire chunks are either amplified and echoed, or just muted out. The 1990 mix is just a nice succinct "rock" mix. Both work, but both are practically different releases.

donut debonair (donut), Monday, 18 April 2005 23:26 (fourteen years ago) link

If the first album went on forever it would still be too short.

EZ Snappin, Monday, 29 November 2010 16:43 (eight years ago) link

The remixes on Party Mix are so awesome.

look at it, pwn3d, made u look at my peen/vadge (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 29 November 2010 16:45 (eight years ago) link

three years pass...

Looks like a concert from just after Wild Planet went up on the YouTubes recently. B-52's obsessives are going to be DELIGHTED.
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLhnmhDNF1JJiUMOz9qZgeiAFySF6R3lwX

campreverb, Thursday, 24 July 2014 23:12 (five years ago) link

ooh!

Οὖτις, Thursday, 24 July 2014 23:28 (five years ago) link

fuck they sound amazing in this.

piscesx, Friday, 25 July 2014 01:45 (five years ago) link

I'd kill for some unreleased B's from that era, I'd love to see those first 2 get the deluxe treatment.

campreverb, Friday, 25 July 2014 02:09 (five years ago) link

To continue the "Do I have the David Byrne mix version of Mesopotamia?" discussion from 6 years back, the UK vinyl Byrne mix has longer versions of 3 tracks:

8:33 vs. 5:00 - Loveland
7:45 vs. 5:48 - Cake
5:46 vs. 4:30 - Throw That Beat In The Garbage Can

Hideous Lump, Friday, 25 July 2014 02:34 (five years ago) link

Holy cow, that show is AMAZING. If anything, watch "Strobe Light"

Elvis Telecom, Friday, 25 July 2014 06:08 (five years ago) link

This is SO FUCKING GOOD.

Johnny Fever, Friday, 25 July 2014 06:54 (five years ago) link

WoW i watched those music vault video's this morning and now someones posted them here.. strange anyways lately i've been listening to the Party Mix/Mesopotamia pack alot

X-101, Friday, 25 July 2014 09:40 (five years ago) link

Thanks, campreverb, this is indeed amazing! I saw this tour back then, but I don't remember the synth freakout in "Strobe Light."

Both jaunty and authentic (Dan Peterson), Friday, 25 July 2014 16:57 (five years ago) link

Sick stuff.

Immediate Follower (NA), Friday, 25 July 2014 17:13 (five years ago) link

Ricky Wilson was such a great guitarist.

Immediate Follower (NA), Friday, 25 July 2014 17:24 (five years ago) link

nine months pass...

y'all our own Tyler Wilcox has posted an amazing B-52's bootleg, with near soundboard quality, and a much tighter performance than recently released iTunes show.
Get caught up-http://doomandgloomfromthetomb.tumblr.com/post/118118850842/b-52s-edenhall-amsterdam-the

campreverb, Monday, 4 May 2015 16:21 (four years ago) link

Nice! I'm usually not a big fan of live boots, but I'll make an exception for early B's.

Johnny Fever, Monday, 4 May 2015 16:36 (four years ago) link

This is super hot! Cindy seems ready to levitate on "Give Me Back My Man."

The job killing and likely illegal (Dan Peterson), Monday, 4 May 2015 17:59 (four years ago) link

Been listening to Mesopotamia/Party Mix a whole lot lately

X-101, Tuesday, 5 May 2015 13:02 (four years ago) link

holy shit i just noticed i posted that last year lol

X-101, Tuesday, 5 May 2015 13:02 (four years ago) link

nine months pass...

Lyrically this is one of the most subversive bands out there... hope any "duds" are from people who consider their lyrics plain silly. Wave that esoteric flag.

Adam J Duncan, Wednesday, 17 February 2016 05:37 (three years ago) link

(at their first gig, Valentine's Day 1977)

the 'major tom guy' (sleeve), Wednesday, 17 February 2016 06:20 (three years ago) link

I'm actually really impressed they got such a good shot for their first gig. I'd have a big ol goofy John Prine smile.

But come on my straight brothers and sisters, you realize even their most straight-ahead novelty song is an ode to bathhouses, right? Approach the B-52s from that direction and you'll latch onto the substance behind the tinsel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SOryJvTAGs

Glitter on the mattress
Glitter on the highway
Glitter on the front porch
Glitter on the hallway

etc etc etc

Adam J Duncan, Wednesday, 17 February 2016 08:48 (three years ago) link

I hear a wind
Whistling air
Whispering in my ear

Boy mercury shooting through every degree
Oh girl dancing down those dirty and dusty trails
Take it hip to hip rocking through the wilderness
Around the world the trip begins with a kiss

(sorry to those that knew first time around, but believe me it ain't obvious to all)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNwC0sp-uA4

Adam J Duncan, Wednesday, 17 February 2016 08:52 (three years ago) link

im missing the subtext in Roam

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Wednesday, 17 February 2016 15:16 (three years ago) link

Although they split credit equally, Roam is mostly written by Cindy, the only heterosexual in the band.

Three Word Username, Wednesday, 17 February 2016 15:19 (three years ago) link

their most straight-ahead novelty song is an ode to
lobsters.

how's life, Wednesday, 17 February 2016 16:06 (three years ago) link

lol. Pineapples also come into play. And limburger.

That first gig photo is so sweet.

Retro novelty punk (Dan Peterson), Wednesday, 17 February 2016 16:11 (three years ago) link

one year passes...

What can you do to save a party?
Parcheesi, charades?
A spur-of-the-moment scavenger hunt
Or Queen of the Nile?

from Party Out of Bounds. What is Queen of the Nile?

how's life, Saturday, 3 June 2017 13:01 (two years ago) link

Good question!

Brad C., Saturday, 3 June 2017 20:17 (two years ago) link

Cleopatra?

Van Horn Street, Saturday, 3 June 2017 22:58 (two years ago) link

Is that a party game?

how's life, Saturday, 3 June 2017 23:01 (two years ago) link

one month passes...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjyJ7pSUnYU

Planets pulsating, constellations creating
Voices are guiding me to the cities by the sea
Yes, I see cities by the sea

Treeship, Tuesday, 4 July 2017 04:52 (two years ago) link

Amazing song. This and Deadbeat Club and Dry County forever.

Chuck_Tatum, Tuesday, 4 July 2017 12:12 (two years ago) link

When I finally ventured into Cosmic Thing when I was around 25, I was absolutely floored by 'Topaz.' How did such an incredible song not get released as a single?

Austin, Tuesday, 4 July 2017 16:20 (two years ago) link

sometimes my favorite b52's song! did they do anything else quite like it?
New cities by the sea
Skyscrapers are winking

tylerw, Tuesday, 4 July 2017 16:27 (two years ago) link

'Roam' is fucking all-time.

The Anti-Climax Blues Band (Turrican), Tuesday, 4 July 2017 21:57 (two years ago) link

Topaz is one of my top 20 songs of all time. One of the prettiest melodies ever recorded.

kitchen person, Tuesday, 4 July 2017 22:32 (two years ago) link

It's a truly beautiful song. I hadn't heard it until the other day.

Treeship, Wednesday, 5 July 2017 11:40 (two years ago) link

have i ever weighed in on this thread that Dirty Back Road is the best B-52s song? if not, here i am, and it is

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Wednesday, 5 July 2017 11:47 (two years ago) link

I think there could be compelling arguments for so many B-52s songs to be the best B-52s song.

Did you hear the Veruca Salt song from two years ago that references Dirty Back Road in the chorus though?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMeYDS9kZcE

how's life, Wednesday, 5 July 2017 12:14 (two years ago) link

ha no! unsurprisingly the best part of the song by about a million miles!

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Wednesday, 5 July 2017 12:20 (two years ago) link

They were here in concert on Sunday but I didn't go. I thought about about starting a TS: B-52s vs. King Crimson, since they were here recently too, and I didn't go to that either. Seemingly polar opposites, prog vs. new wave, both hugely influential to me in their heydays, both led me into rabbit holes of unfamiliar music (KC: classical and jazz, B-52s: surf music and Henry Mancini.) And I don't listen to either a whole lot these days, although I always love 'em when I do.

smug dinner-jazz atrocity (Dan Peterson), Wednesday, 5 July 2017 14:10 (two years ago) link

Glove slap, baby, glove slap.

The Anti-Climax Blues Band (Turrican), Wednesday, 5 July 2017 14:49 (two years ago) link

Fripp played in the B-52s once!

http://www.elephant-talk.com/wiki/Interview_with_Robert_Fripp_in_Best

kurt schwitterz, Wednesday, 5 July 2017 17:01 (two years ago) link

whoa and The Screamers?!?!?

sleeve, Wednesday, 5 July 2017 17:05 (two years ago) link

damn

sleeve, Wednesday, 5 July 2017 17:05 (two years ago) link

Ruby Ray JUST posted all her pics of the night Fripp played with The Screamers https://www.facebook.com/ruby.ray.752/posts/10214036279682579?pnref=story

kurt schwitterz, Wednesday, 5 July 2017 17:29 (two years ago) link

two years pass...

saw them last night in L.A. -- they still sound amazing. It wasn't a super long set, they were on a bill w/OMD and Berlin (Berlin was decent, only caught the last couple songs, OMD was astonishing as per usual), but they played all the key hits. Rock Lobster closed it out. They had someone in a lobster suit dancing around onstage with them. good times!

omar little, Monday, 5 August 2019 18:38 (two weeks ago) link

Cool. Was Tracy W on bass?

U or Astro-U? (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 5 August 2019 18:42 (two weeks ago) link

yep! that band was super tight.

omar little, Monday, 5 August 2019 18:44 (two weeks ago) link


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