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The B-52's are as quintessentially American as the Beach Boys. Twenty-five years and over twenty million albums into a career that began as a low-rent lark in Athens, Georgia, the B-52's remain the most unlikely rock stars ever.
The first band to glorify pop culture with an almost Warholian sense of purpose, the B-52's purveyed their absurd B-movie style and off-kilter sound celebrating the weirdness lurking just beneath the surface of Americana - not exactly a recipe for chart success but way ahead of its time, nonetheless.
Any mystery concerning the longevity and ongoing appeal of the B-52's is immediately solved when exposed to the B-52's unique concert experience, which may well include a verbal tongue-in-cheek lashing from Fred.
From the timeless gems of "Rock Lobster", "Planet Claire" and "Private Idaho" to the more recent classics of "Channel Z", "Love Shack" and "Roam", the B-52's unforgettable dance-rock tunes start a party every time the music begins.
Tragedy struck the B-52's (Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson, Keith Strickland and Cindy Wilson) in 1985 with the death of original member Ricky Wilson. After regrouping for the breakthrough “Cosmic Thing” album in 1989, the B-52's have been touring with a larger band. With this addition, the B-52's have secured their reputation with a live show that's as exciting and fun as the music itself.
With the release of the two-disc collection “Nude on the Moon: the B-52's Anthology”, the B-52's are finally taking some much-deserved credit for a body of work that is unique, beloved and timeless in its own way. Once visionary miners of American pop culture, they are now very much a reference point in our cultural consciousness for future generations.
The B-52's influence cuts a wide path through much of so-called 'modern rock' - from the low-fi efforts of nouveau garage bands to the retro-hip of ultra-lounge to the very core of dance music itself.
"We just did our own thing, which was a combination of rock 'n 'roll, funk, and Fellini, game show host, corn and mysticism," says Fred. “It is indeed all these things (and much more). Maybe people are at last beginning to pick up on what we're doing and what we've been doing all along," muses Keith. "The underlying message of the B-52's is: it's okay to be different."