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 (Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson, Keith Strickland, Cindy Wilson and Ricky Wilson) 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, produced by Chris Blackwell, 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.
“We always appealed to people outside the mainstream,” says Kate Pierson, “and I think more people feel they’re outside the mainstream these days.”
Hollywood native Belinda Carlisle was and occasionally still is the lead vocalist for the pop rock band The Go-Go’s and is also a phenomenally successful solo artist.
After the initial breakup of The Go-Go’s in 1985, Belinda embarked on a solo career resulting in six internationally successful albums and the chart-topping hit “Heaven is a Place on Earth.” The video for that song was directed by Diane Keaton and included an appearance by Belinda’s husband Morgan Mason, son of actor James Mason. Belinda’s TV appearances include Celebrity Duets, the MTV competition reality show Rock the Cradle and the eighth season of Dancing with the Stars. Her autobiography, Lips Unsealed: A Memoir, was released in June of 2010.