On January 26, 1980, while watching Saturday Night Live at a high school girlfriend’s house after a pretty rough basketball game during which a friend of mine had his nose broken after which HE got called for a technical foul (such was high school basketball in Indiana back then), I watched a new band whom I had read about. This crazy new band from Athens, Georgia, called The B-52’s were ripping through this great new song called “Rock Lobster.” I was mesmerized, while the young lady was asking me if this was good. I really thought I was watching something totally alien to me but still strangely compelling. I have to admit that I was hooked.
I left the young lady’s house after the performance because our coaches were known to call your house to see if you were home by 12:30 pm. I am NOT kidding! These clowns were trying to control every aspect of our lives, which the rebel in me found ridiculous and a waste of time and energy. And, when I became a coach, I tried to show that I actually cared about my athletes, which my coaches never did. But, I digress.
The B-52’s came into my life at the perfect time. Devo’s second album was not as fun as the first one, so I felt like I needed a little fun in my life. Basketball was a disaster as we were horrible. My girlfriend was very insecure, and I was still angry about my parents’ divorce three years earlier. Plus, I was just dissatisfied with my high school and all the drama that seemed to take place at the time. So, The B-52’s became a breath of fresh air in my musical life. And, they remained that way until the band finally ran out of creative gas in the early Nineties. But, those first two albums, along with their terrific comeback album from 1989, the sublime Cosmic Thing, remain required listening in my book.
The B-52’s paved the way for the New Wave Renaissance of the early Eighties, along with some great bands from Athens like R.E.M. and Pylon. Yet, no band has ever come close to displaying the shear joy that The B-52’s displayed in their early days. And, that is the band I wish to remember for the rest of my days on this planet. I’m telling you now that if you want to regain a smile after watching the news or a replay of the Republicans making asses of themselves while questioning Michael Cohen, then plop a B-52’s record on the turntable and sit back. That smile will return to your face! Now, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has to get the stick out of their collective ass and put this band, along with Todd Rundgren, Devo, New York Dolls, The Jam, The Replacements, Pixies, Depeche Mode, The Smiths, Weezer, Beck, Warren Zevon, The Go-Go’s, The Bangles and Duran Duran in the Hall soon or we should revolt!
So, it is my pleasure to bring to you my 20 Favorite Songs by The B-52’s! Let’s get this party out of bounds! Now!
20. “There’s a Moon in the Sky (Called the Moon)”
19. “Cosmic Thing”
17. “Planet Claire”
16. “Dance This Mess Around”
15. “Strobe Light”
14. “Quiche Lorraine”
13. “Channel Z”
11. “Good Stuff”
10. “Summer of Love”
9. “Song for a Future Generation”
8. “Dead Beat Club”
7. “52 Girls”
6. “Private Idaho”
5. “Party Out of Bounds”
3. “Love Shack”
2. “Give Me Back My Man”
1. “Rock Lobster”
Was there ever any doubt about #1? I didn’t think so!