The B-52's (album)

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The B-52's
The B-52's cover.jpg
Cover art by Tony Wright
Studio album by the B-52's
Released July 6, 1979
Recorded 1978–1979
Studio Compass Point Studios, Nassau, Bahamas
Length 39:14
Label Warner Bros.
Producer Chris Blackwell
the B-52's chronology
The B-52's
Wild Planet
(1980)Wild Planet1980
Singles from The B-52's
  1. "Rock Lobster"
    Released: April 1978
  2. "Planet Claire"
    Released: July 6, 1979
  3. "Dance This Mess Around"
    Released: 1979

The B-52's is the debut album by the Athens, Georgia-based new wave band the B-52's. The kitschy lyrics and mood, and the hook-laden harmonies helped establish a fanbase for the band, who went on to release several chart-topping singles. The album cover was designed by Tony Wright (credited as Sue Ab Surd).

The B-52's peaked at number 59 on the Billboard 200,[3] and "Rock Lobster" reached number 56 on the Billboard Hot 100.[4] In 2003, the television network VH1 named The B-52's the 99th greatest album of all time. Shortly before his death, John Lennon said he enjoyed the album.[5] In his 1995 book, The Alternative Music Almanac, Alan Cross placed the album ninth on the list of 10 Classic Alternative Albums. In 2012, the album was ranked number 152 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[6]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[1]
Christgau's Record Guide A[7]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 4/5 stars[8]
The Great Rock Discography 8/10[9]
Rolling Stone 5/5 stars[10]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3.5/5 stars[11]
Select 4/5[12]
Slant Magazine 4/5 stars[13]
Spin Alternative Record Guide 10/10[14]
The Village Voice A−[15]

Critical reception for The B-52's was generally favorable; critics praised the album's kitschy lyrics and party atmosphere.[1][16] Allmusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine retrospectively awarded the album a perfect 5 out of 5 stars, stating that "Unabashed kitsch mavens at a time when their peers were either vulgar or stylish, the Athens quintet celebrated all the silliest aspects of pre-Beatles pop culture -- bad hairdos, sci-fi nightmares, dance crazes, pastels, and anything else that sprung into their minds -- to a skewed fusion of pop, surf, avant-garde, amateurish punk, and white funk."[1] Rolling Stone also gave the album 5 out of 5 stars, concluding that "On The B-52's, the best little dance band from Athens proved that rock & roll still matters if it's about sex and hair and moving your body. Even if you have to shake-bake shake-bake it like a Shy Tuna."[10] Music critic Robert Christgau initially awarded the album with an "A-", though he later upgraded the album's rating to an "A," commenting that he is "more delighted with their rhythms, which show off their Georgia roots by adapting the innovations of early funk (a decade late, just like the Stones and Chicago blues) to an endlessly danceable forcebeat format."[7] Slant gave the album 4 out of 5 stars, stating that "(l)ike any over-the-top act, the B-52's wears thin, but the band successfully positioned themselves as pop-culture icons—not unlike the musical antiquities they emulated."[13]

The album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[17]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by The B-52's, except where noted.

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. "Planet Claire" Henry Mancini,[18] Fred Schneider, Keith Strickland Schneider, Pierson 4:35
2. "52 Girls" Jeremy Ayers, Ricky Wilson Pierson, Wilson 3:34
3. "Dance This Mess Around"   Schneider, C. Wilson 4:36
4. "Rock Lobster" Schneider, R. Wilson Pierson, Schneider, C. Wilson 6:49
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. "Lava"   Pierson, Schneider, C. Wilson 4:54
2. "There's a Moon in the Sky (Called the Moon)"   Pierson, Schneider, C. Wilson 4:54
3. "Hero Worship" Robert Waldrop, R. Wilson C. Wilson 4:07
4. "6060-842" Pierson, Schneider, Strickland, R. Wilson Pierson, Schneider, C. Wilson 2:48
5. "Downtown" (Petula Clark cover, 1964) Tony Hatch Pierson, C. Wilson 2:57
Total length: 39:14


The B-52's
  • Robert Ash - associate producer, engineer
  • Cass Rigby - assistant engineer
  • Tony Wright as "Sue Ab Surd" - art direction
  • George DuBose - photography

Charts and certifications[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "The B-52's – The B-52's". AllMusic. Retrieved March 22, 2004. 
  2. ^ "The Definitive Guide to Dance-Rock". Spin. 21 (10). October 2005. 
  3. ^ a b The B-52's > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums at AllMusic. Retrieved 16 October 2004.
  4. ^ a b c The B-52's > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles at AllMusic. Retrieved 16 October 2004.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Levy, Joe; Steven Van Zandt (2006) [2005]. "152 | The B-52's - The B-52's". Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (3rd ed.). London: Turnaround. ISBN 1-932958-61-4. OCLC 70672814. Archived from the original on 3 April 2010. Retrieved 8 Aug 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1981). "The B-52's: The B-52's". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the '70s. Ticknor and Fields. ISBN 0-89919-026-X. Retrieved March 31, 2006. 
  8. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8. 
  9. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2004). The Great Rock Discography (7th ed.). Canongate Books. ISBN 1-84195-615-5. 
  10. ^ a b Blashill, Pat (October 16, 2003). "The B-52's: The B-52's". Rolling Stone (933). Archived from the original on June 2, 2007. Retrieved March 22, 2004. 
  11. ^ Considine, J. D. (2004). "The B-52's". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. pp. 67–68. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. Retrieved November 2, 2011. 
  12. ^ Cavanagh, David (July 1990). "Flip Your Wig". Select (1): 121. 
  13. ^ a b Cinquemani, Sal (October 11, 2003). "The B-52's: The B-52's". Slant Magazine. Retrieved January 13, 2012. 
  14. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8. 
  15. ^ Christgau, Robert (September 3, 1979). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved January 13, 2012. 
  16. ^ Carson, Tom (September 20, 1979). "The B-52's: The B-52's Music Reviews". Rolling Stone (300). Archived from the original on 21 June 2008. Retrieved 21 February 2009. 
  17. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (7 February 2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 0-7893-1371-5. 
  18. ^ Mancini is credited as a co-author of "Planet Claire" on reissues of the album due to the song's use of the bass line from Mancini's "Peter Gunn."
  19. ^ "Sale 40 - Lot 489: Australian Record Industry Association Award For The B-52's". Australian Recording Industry Association. Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles. 2011. Retrieved 2013-04-29. 
  20. ^ "American album certifications – The B-52's". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH