Bouncing off the Satellites

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Bouncing off the Satellites
Cover art by Kenny Scharf
Studio album by The B-52's
Released September 8, 1986
Recorded July 1985
Genre New wave
Length 45:55
Label Warner Bros.
Producer Tony Mansfield
The B-52's chronology
Whammy!
(1983)
Bouncing off the Satellites
(1986)
Cosmic Thing
(1989)
Singles from Bouncing off the Satellites
  1. "Summer of Love"
    Released: 1986
  2. "Girl from Ipanema Goes to Greenland"
    Released: 1986
  3. "Wig"
    Released: 1987
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau B+[2]

Bouncing off the Satellites is the fourth studio album by new wave band The B-52's, released on September 8, 1986. It was recorded in July 1985 and was produced by Tony Mansfield. Guitarist Ricky Wilson died of AIDS just over one month after the album's release. With the band too distraught to tour, the album received minimal promotion and failed to yield any hits despite some stations initially giving good airplay to "Summer of Love". The album was seen as a departure from the band's original new wave sound;[3] as a result, the album was initially a critical and commercial failure.[4]

Studio sessions[edit]

Recording sessions for Bouncing off the Satellites began in July 1985. A backwards message was deliberately inserted into the album by The B-52's. The message occurs in the song "Detour Thru Your Mind", towards the end of the passage. If Fred Schneider's psychedelic talking is played backwards, he can be heard saying "I buried my parakeet in the backyard. Oh no, you're playing the record backwards. Watch out, you might ruin your needle."[5][6][7]

During the recording, guitarist Ricky Wilson had been suffering from AIDS/HIV-related health complications.[8] None of the other band members were aware of his illness.[9] In an interview, fellow band member Kate Pierson stated that Wilson had kept his illness secret from his fellow band members because he "did not want anyone to worry about him or fuss about him."[9] On October 12, 1985, Wilson finally succumbed to the illness, at the age of 32.[8] Devastated, the band went into seclusion and did not tour to promote the album.[10] Nevertheless, Bouncing Off the Satellites eventually reached 85 on the Billboard 200.[11] Cindy went into a deep depression after her brother's death, while Keith retreated to Woodstock, New York, and Kate and Fred stayed in New York City. The band felt that it would be impossible to continue without Ricky.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by The B-52's, except where noted. 

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Vocal Length
1. "Summer of Love"   Kate Pierson, Keith Strickland, Cindy Wilson, Ricky Wilson Pierson, C. Wilson 4:02
2. "Girl from Ipanema Goes to Greenland"   Strickland, C. Wilson, R. Wilson C. Wilson 4:22
3. "Housework"   Pierson, Tim Rollins Pierson 4:04
4. "Detour Thru Your Mind"     Pierson, Schneider 5:06
5. "Wig"     Pierson, Schneider, C. Wilson 4:22
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Vocal Length
1. "Theme for a Nude Beach"     Pierson, Schneider, Strickland, C. Wilson 4:50
2. "Ain't It a Shame"   Strickland, C. Wilson, R. Wilson C. Wilson 5:30
3. "Juicy Jungle"   Fred Schneider, John Coté Schneider 4:50
4. "Communicate"     Pierson, Schneider, C. Wilson 4:08
5. "She Brakes for Rainbows"   Strickland, C. Wilson C. Wilson 4:41
Total length:
45:55

Personnel[edit]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1987) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard 200 85

References[edit]