It has been said that the B-52s are as quintessentially American as the Beach Boys. And twenty-five years and over twenty million albums into their career, the B-52s remain the among the most beloved rock stars ever. Any mystery concerning the longevity and ongoing appeal of the B-52s is immediately solved when exposed to the B-52s unique concert experience. 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-52s unforgettable dance-rock tunes start a party every time the music begins.
Formed on an October night in 1976 following drinks at an Athens, GA, Chinese restaurant, the band played their first gig at a friend’s house on Valentine’s Day 1977. Naming themselves after Southern slang for exaggerated ‘bouffant” hairdos, the newly-christened B-52s began weekend road trips to New York City for gigs at CBGB’s and a handful of other venues. Before long, their thrift store aesthetic and genre-defying songs were the talk of the post-punk underground. A record deal soon followed and their self-titled debut disc sold more than 500,000 copies on the strength of their first singles, the garage rock party classic “Rock Lobster,” and “52 Girls.”
The B-52s began to attract fans far beyond the punk clubs of the Lower East Side — galvanizing the pop world with their ‘stream-of-consciousness’ approach to songwriting and outrageous performance. They had clearly tapped into a growing audience for new music that was much larger than anyone could have anticipated.