This week at Slacker we’re celebrating all things 80′s & New Wave while our Slacker countdown, the 101 Greatest New Wave Songs cranks in the background. What can we say, we’re New Wave fans! Some folks here (like myself) would even argue it was the greatest period ever in the storied history of Rock music. The hair, the synthesizers, the androgynous edge, the elevation of punk ethos and pop excess straight into outer space- what’s not to love?!
So in the spirit of celebration, we’re taking a rewind/fast forward look at some stand out New Wave artists to get a sense of what exactly they’ve been up to since their New Wave peak and where they are now. Today: the B-52s!
First up, let’s get one thing clear: the apostrophe in “B-52’s” went away in 2008; it’s just one of the many mysteries surrounding this band. The Athens, Georgia combo were both ridiculously innovative and innovatively ridiculous for their time. It’s hard to imagine now how truly odd they seemed back in the late ‘70s, with beehive hairdos, a thrift store aesthetic, and gay members who aren’t afraid to be a bit camp on stage. This was Georgia, people!
The release of “Rock Lobster” in 1978 catapulted the band to international fame. It reached the Top 10 in Ireland and Canada and eventually inspired John Lennon to return to making music. While founding member Ricky Wilson’s tragic and untimely death from AIDS in 1985 sidelined the band for a few years, they were to go on to even greater success, with “Love Shack” and “Roam” both peaking at #3 in the US.
The band laid low for an even longer period after 1992’s Good Stuff, and didn’t release a new album until 2008’s Funplex, which received strong reviews. While the band continued to be a successful concert act, playing around 50 shows a year, in 2012 founding drummer and multi-instrumentalist Keith Strickland announced he would no longer tour with the band. Currently, Kate Pierson is reportedly working on a solo album. While there are no tour dates or releases planned for the band at the moment, you never know what to expect with the B-52s, one of the strangest and most groundbreaking acts to ever grace the charts.