Love Shack

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Love Shack"
Cover art for US editions
Single by the B-52's
from the album Cosmic Thing
B-side"Channel Z"
ReleasedJune 20, 1989 (1989-06-20)[1]
StudioDreamland Recording (West Hurley, New York)
  • 5:21 (album version)
  • 4:15 (single edit)
Producer(s)Don Was
The B-52's singles chronology
"Channel Z"
"Love Shack"
Audio sample
Music video
"Love Shack" on YouTube

"Love Shack" is a song by American new wave band the B-52's from their fifth studio album, Cosmic Thing (1989). It was released on June 20, 1989, and was produced by Don Was. The song was a comeback for the band following their decline in popularity in the mid-1980s and the death of guitarist Ricky Wilson in 1985.[4]

"Love Shack" is considered the band's signature song and has been a concert staple since its release. Commercially, the single topped the charts in Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand and reached number two on the UK Singles Chart, number three on the US Billboard Hot 100 (becoming their first top-40 hit), and number five on the Canadian RPM Top Singles chart. Rolling Stone named "Love Shack" the best single of 1989[5] and ranked it 246th on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[6] The song was also named one of the 365 Songs of the Century in 2001.[7]

Composition and recording[edit]

The inspiration for the song was a cabin near Athens, Georgia with a tin roof, where the band had conceived "Rock Lobster", a single from their 1979 debut album.[8] The cabin was said to have been located off the Atlanta Highway near Athens.[citation needed] B-52's singer Kate Pierson lived in the cabin in the 1970s, and it burned down in December 2004.[8] Pierson has also stated that the song was based on an Athens club called the Hawaiian Ha-Le, where the band would hang out with a large "bohemian" group of friends, "kind of like the juke joint in The Color Purple".[9]

The song was the last to be recorded for the Cosmic Thing album and was devised when the band's sessions with producer Don Was finished a day early.[10] The band had a 15-minute long piece that was undeveloped and presented it to Was, who suggested implementing a piece they'd been improvising about a "love shack" as the song's chorus.[10] Pierson later recalled, "It wasn't even gonna make the album because it wasn't solidified. But after we added that chorus, Bingo, here it is; it sounds like a hit. But we didn't aim to write hits, we aimed to heal ourselves and channel Ricky's spirit. That was the goal, and I knew his presence was there."[10] The section that begins "the love shack is a little old place where..." was initially only in the song once, but both Pierson and Was felt it should repeat, with Fred Schneider disagreeing.[9]

Cindy Wilson's line "tin roof rusted" originated from a jamming session the band had recorded, where Wilson continued singing after the tape had stopped, which the band found amusing and thought provided a suitable ending.[11] Wilson later elaborated, "It was just a vision in my head of my love shack."[11] While there has been speculation about the meaning of the line, Pierson has also corroborated that the line is literally referencing a rusted tin roof.[12] Wilson mused, "It's amazing what people have come up with in the past about it. I kind of like that. Let the people participate in the meaning. I'm fine with that."[11]

According to Was, Wilson's performance of the "tin roof rusted" line during the first recording of the song had an "exuberance that shocked everybody ... she infused it with so much feeling, it threw everybody."[10] After further attempts to re-record it failed to recreate the same "manic energy", Was decided he would keep the take and punch in the remainder of the song.[10]

During the recording of one take, a lightning storm caused the power to go out in the studio during the breakdown section, which put the session temporarily on hold.[10] When the band reconvened, they realized the incomplete take was so good that they would keep it and splice it together with another take.[10]



David Giles from Music Week wrote, "The B-52's deserve a hit after their fine return to form last summer with the Cosmic Thing LP, but I'd be surprised if this is the track to do it." He added, "Like Party Out of Bounds, it tries to conjure up a wild, chaotic celebration, but unlike that particular track it is neither inventive nor melodic enough."[13] Pan-European magazine Music & Media called it "the best track from the disappointing Cosmic Thing. Good clean fun from some of the US' most productive eccentrics."[14] People magazine noted "the wild abandon" of the song.[15]

In retrospective reviews, Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic described it as "an irresistible dance number with delightfully silly lyrics and hooks as big as a whale that unbelievably gave the group a long-awaited Top Ten hit."[16] Matthew Hocter from Albumism cited "Love Shack" as an example of the band's "own unique brand of upbeat, lyrically positive and infectious dance grooves".[17] The Daily Vault's Denise Henderson commented, "The celebration of life in dance and music is demonstrated by the repetitive chorus 'Everybody's movin/everybody's groovin baby!' Well, when in doubt, dancing and drinking and having a little fun always worked for me!"[18]


The single was the band's biggest hit song as well as their first million-copy seller.[5] It was the band's first song to reach the top 40 on the US Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number three in November 1989.[19] It also reached number five in Canada,[20] number two in the United Kingdom,[21] and number one in Australia (eight weeks),[1] Ireland (one week)[22] and New Zealand (four weeks),[23] as well as on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart (four weeks).[24]

Music video[edit]

The accompanying music video for "Love Shack" was directed by American film, music video and television director Adam Bernstein and shot at the home and studio of ceramic artists Philip Maberry and Scott Walker in Highland, New York.[25][26] Bernstein initially wanted to shoot the video in a New York studio but was convinced to relocate once he saw the house.[10]

The video features a cameo from a pre-fame RuPaul in his first mainstream appearance.[27] Pierson later recalled, "we invited all our friends and had a party. ... We started out really early in the morning and it turned into this rave. RuPaul got the dance line going, and it almost felt like we weren't being videotaped."[10] Guitarist Keith Strickland stated that the dance line scene was an homage to the television show Soul Train, and that RuPaul stepped in to direct the scene when Bernstein "didn't get the process".[10] The video won the award for Best Group Video at the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards.

Track listings[edit]

The single release contained different tracks in different countries of release. Some countries, including the United States, had singles backed with "Channel Z", while other releases included live versions of "Planet Claire" and "Rock Lobster" as the B-side. In 1999, the single was released again with a number of remixes, including one by DJ Tonka. Although the re-release did not chart in the United States, it did enter the UK Singles Chart.[28]

Charts and certifications[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

  • "Love Shack" was played in the third-season finale of Full House, where Stephanie danced to the song at the "We Love Our Children" telethon. The scene was also recreated by Jimmy Gibbler in the final season of Fuller House.[54]
  • In the Step by Step episode "The Kissing Game," the song can be heard on the radio in the background during the party that JT is throwing at Carol's salon.
  • The song was covered in Glee's third-season episode "Heart." The episode, broadcast on Valentines Day, used the song to close the show. The cover, primarily performed by Darren Criss and Chris Colfer, was cited as the highlight of the episode by several critics, and a "rousing" end to the episode.[55][56]
  • The song was lip synced in 2016 on the television show Lip Sync Battle by American basketball player Shaquille O'Neal.[57] Because O'Neal commonly goes by the nickname Shaq, host LL Cool J pointed out that O'Neal was singing a "love song to himself."[57]
  • This song was featured at the start of the 21 Jump Street Season 4 episode "Say It Ain't So, Pete" where Hanson and Penhall go undercover at a bar off-campus.
  • The B-52's were guest judges on the ninth season of the drag reality television show RuPaul's Drag Race, where this song was performed in a "Lip Sync For Your Life" by drag queens Jaymes Mansfield and Kimora Blac.
  • The B-52's guest-starred in the episode "E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt)" of The Simpsons. In it they sang a parody of the song, titled "Glove Slap".
  • "Love Shack" was the developmental code name given by Apple Computer for their first Mac OS-compatible portable computer - the "Mac Portable."
  • "Take me to your love shack, Mama's always got to backtrack," from the song "Everybody Talks" (2011) by Neon Trees, briefly references the song.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "The B-52's – Love Shack". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  2. ^ Wilkerson Daily Corporation, ed. (1990). The Hollywood Reporter, Volume 315, N° 1 to 17.
  3. ^ "B-52s". WOLX-FM. From groundbreaking songs like "Rock Lobster," ... to chart-topping hits like "Love Shack" ... the B-52s' unforgettable dance-rock tunes start a party every time their music begins.
  4. ^ Unterberger, Richie; Hicks, Samb; Dempsey, Jennifer (1989). Music USA: The Rough Guide. Rough Guides. ISBN 185828421X.
  5. ^ a b Mansour, David (2005). From Abba to Zoom: A Pop Culture Encyclopedia of the Late 20th Century. Andrews McMeel. 9780740751189..
  6. ^ "Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. April 2010.
  7. ^ Allen, Jamie (March 8, 2001). "Songs of the Century". CNN.
  8. ^ a b "B-52's 'Love Shack' burns down". Today. Associated Press. December 16, 2004.
  9. ^ a b Harris, Will (November 1, 2011). "Kate Pierson of The B-52s". The A.V. Club. Retrieved January 25, 2023.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Hart, Ron (June 28, 2019). "The B-52's 'Cosmic Thing' at 30: How the Band Overcame Loss and Found Catharsis at the 'Love Shack'". Billboard. Retrieved January 25, 2023.
  11. ^ a b c Pevos, Edward (June 5, 2018). "The B-52s talk Michigan, 'Love Shack' and the origin of 'Tin Roof, Rusted'". Booth Newspapers.
  12. ^ The B-52's - Love Shack | The Story Behind The Song | Top 2000 a gogo (YouTube video) (Interview). Kate Pierson. Top 2000 a gogo. January 23, 2020. Event occurs at 5m 13s. Retrieved June 10, 2022. There's been a lot of speculation about what 'tin roof, rusted' means. It was a rumour that it meant you were pregnant. Nobody in the band was, like, how did that...? Or you were drunk, or... You know, people were like, what does that mean? Well, it's just literal. In Georgia, there's a lot of cabins, my house has that, had a rusted tin roof, 'cause it was a funky old shack. Fifteen dollars a month.{{cite AV media}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  13. ^ Giles, David (February 24, 1990). "Singles" (PDF). Music Week. p. 25. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  14. ^ "Previews: Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 6, no. 49. December 9, 1989. p. 12. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  15. ^ "Picks and Pans Review: Cosmic Thing". People. August 21, 1989. Retrieved November 13, 2020.
  16. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "The B-52s – Cosmic Thing". AllMusic. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  17. ^ Hocter, Matthew (June 24, 2019). "The B-52s' 'Cosmic Thing' Turns 30: Anniversary Retrospective". Albumism. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
  18. ^ Henderson, Denise (February 25, 1998). "Cosmic Thing – The B-52's". The Daily Vault. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  19. ^ a b "The B-52s 2 Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  20. ^ a b "Top RPM Singles: Issue 6660." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  21. ^ a b "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  22. ^ a b "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Love Shack". Irish Singles Chart.
  23. ^ a b "The B-52's – Love Shack". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  24. ^ a b "The B-52s 2 Chart History (Alternative Airplay)". Billboard. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  25. ^ Pond, Steve (July 30, 2014). "Emmy Nominated Director's Strange Trip: From Sir-Mix-a-Lot's 'Baby Got Back' to 'Fargo'". TheWrap.
  26. ^ Steinberg, Claudia (May 1, 2003). "House Proud; Thrill Rides on the Color Wheel". The New York Times.
  27. ^ Parke, Lyndsey (March 30, 2017). "The B-52's' Fred Schneider on RuPaul's Pre-Fame 'Love Shack' Cameo: 'He Got the Line-Dance Going!'". Yahoo! Entertainment. Retrieved August 6, 2020.
  28. ^ a b "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  29. ^ Love Shack (US 12-inch maxi-single vinyl disc). The B-52's. Reprise Records. 1989. 0-21318, 9 21318-0.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  30. ^ Love Shack (US maxi-single liner and disc notes). The B-52's. Reprise Records. 1989. 9 21318-2.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  31. ^ Love Shack (Australian 12-inch single vinyl disc). The B-52's. Reprise Records. 1989. 0.21410, 0-21410.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  32. ^ Love Shack 99 (UK & European CD single liner notes). The B-52's. Reprise Records. 1999. W0461CD, 9362 44575 2.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  33. ^ "The B-52's – Love Shack" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  34. ^ "Love Shack – B-52'S". VRT (in Dutch). Archived from the original on February 22, 2012. Retrieved July 28, 2013. Hoogste notering in de top 30 : 9
  35. ^ "Top RPM Dance/Urban: Issue 6683." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  36. ^ "RPM 30 Retail Singles – December 16, 1989". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  37. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 7, no. 13. March 31, 1990. p. IV. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  38. ^ "The B-52's – Love Shack" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  39. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 51, 1989" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  40. ^ "The B-52's – Love Shack" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  41. ^ "The B-52s 2 Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  42. ^ "The B-52s 2 Chart History (Dance Singles Sales)". Billboard. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  43. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  44. ^ "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles Chart – 1989". ARIA. Retrieved January 7, 2020 – via Imgur.
  45. ^ "Top 100 Singles of '89". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  46. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 1989". Billboard.
  47. ^ a b "1990 ARIA Singles Chart". ARIA. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  48. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 of 1990" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 7, no. 51. December 22, 1990. p. 60. OCLC 29800226. Retrieved January 15, 2020 – via World Radio History.
  49. ^ "End of Year Charts 1990". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  50. ^ "1990 Top 100 Singles". Music Week. London, England: Spotlight Publications. March 2, 1991. p. 41.
  51. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 1990". Billboard.
  52. ^ "British single certifications – B-52's – Love Shack". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved June 13, 2022.
  53. ^ "American single certifications – B-52's – Love Shack". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  54. ^ "Stephanie's dance to Love Shack Baby". April 29, 2011. Archived from the original on December 20, 2021. Retrieved October 28, 2015 – via YouTube.
  55. ^ "Glee "Heart."". IMDb. February 14, 2012. Retrieved January 7, 2020.
  56. ^ Chaney, Jen (February 14, 2012). "'Glee' by the musical numbers: Amber Riley sings Whitney Houston". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 7, 2020.
  57. ^ a b Emery, Debbie (June 2, 2016). "Shaq Turns into a 'Maniac,' Aisha Tyler Plays 'Basketball' in 'Lip Sync Battle' Showdown". The Wrap. Los Angeles. Retrieved April 8, 2020.