Selling over 20 million albums worldwide, The B-52s have influenced the global music scene for four-plus decades.
Over drinks at an Athens Chinese restaurant in 1976, Cindy Wilson, Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson, Keith Strickland, and Ricky Wilson decided to form The B-52s. With exaggerated bouffant hairdos to match the band’s name, The B-52s began traveling to New York City on the weekends for post-punk underground gigs. After signing a record deal in 1979, the band released six studio albums throughout the 1980s, including hits like “Rock Lobster”, “Give Me Back My Man,” and “Love Shack.” In 1985, at the height of their career, The B-52s suffered their greatest loss – the death of guitarist Ricky Wilson from AIDS. After years of mourning and gradually beginning to record again, The B-52s returned with their greatest commercial achievement, the release of “Cosmic Thing.” After releasing two more albums in the 1990’s, the band amicably went their separate ways for a sixteen-year hiatus. In 2011, The B-52s released “Funplex” and celebrated their 34th anniversary with a filmed concert in Athens for wig-wearing, boa-draped, glitter-covered fans.
Selling over 20 million albums worldwide, The B-52s—Fred Schneider [vocals], Kate Pierson [vocals], Cindy Wilson [vocals], and Keith Strickland [guitar, drums, keys, programming]— have quietly impacted alternative music, fashion, and culture over the course of four-plus decades. They count John Lennon, Madonna, James Murphy, and Michael Stipe among their disciples. Panic! At The Disco, Blood Orange, The Offspring, Pitbull, Roger Sanchez, and DJ Shadow have sampled classics from the band’s discography as Seth MacFarlane’s Family Guy, The Simpsons, Sugarland, and more offered up covers of their own. They inched towards the forefront of the post-punk movement in America codified by 1979’s self-titled The B-52s. Not only did the record go gold, but it also placed at #152 on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” and #99 on VH1’s “Greatest Albums of All Time.” The gold-selling Wild Planet arrived hot on its heels in 1980. With Keith brilliantly filling the void in with music composition and live show guitar duties, 1989’s watershed Cosmic Thing elevated the B-52s to another galaxy altogether. It moved 5 million-plus units and spawned a string of Top 10 smashes in the form of the GRAMMY®-nominated “Roam” and “Love Shack”—which Rolling Stone lauded on the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”