As with their first album, The B-52's traveled to Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas to record Wild Planet. Several of the songs from the album had been concert staples since 1977 but were omitted from the first album by choice of the producer, Chris Blackwell. More emphasis was put on production for Wild Planet. It was fairly well received by critics, most of whom regarded it as a strong second album following the success of their first. Wild Planet was quickly certified gold.
Director Gus Van Sant thanks the band in the credits of the 1991 film My Own Private Idaho for the use of the song title, "Private Idaho." The song itself is not referred to anywhere in the movie.