Song for a Future Generation

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"Song for a Future Generation"
Song for a Future Generation US single b-52s.jpg
U.S. vinyl single
Single by The B-52's
from the album Whammy!
A-side "Song for a Future Generation"
B-side "Planet Claire"
Released 1983
Format 7", 12"
Recorded 1983
Genre New wave
Length 4:00
Label Warner Bros. / Island Records
Songwriter(s) The B-52's
Producer(s) Steven Stanley
The B-52's singles chronology
"Whammy Kiss"
"Song for a Future Generation"
"Summer of Love"

"Whammy Kiss"
"Song for a Future Generation"
"Summer of Love"

"Song for a Future Generation" is a song by new wave band The B-52's. The song was released as the third single from the album Whammy!, peaking at #63 on the UK Singles Chart.[1] It is the first of two songs by the B-52's to feature more than 3 band members singing lead vocals,[2] the second being "Theme for a Nude Beach" from the album Bouncing off the Satellites.

Concept & lyrics[edit]

The song's lyrical content made implicit references to "familiar media images of glamorous people, [like] 'The Empress of Fashion' and 'The Captain of the Enterprise'" and describes "a goofy series of mythic couples meeting to populate the future."[3]

Music video[edit]

A music video was filmed to accompany "Song for a Future Generation" for promotion on television. It features the band members performing the song on podiums, swings and in a Brady Bunch style split screen. The video also features the female members of the band wearing outlandish wigs, including one made of golden tinsel, one with a chicken wire frame (nicknamed "the bird cage") and one bouffant atop which sat a giant bow made from wig-hair.[4]

Live Performances[edit]

In a 1983 music concert at the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, the band sang live vocals with a prerecorded backing track.[3] The B-52's sang "Song for a Future Generation" live over a backing track on the Whammy! tour in 1983.


Critical reception[edit]

The song garnered positive reviews from music critics, who praised of the song's concept and praised its lyrics. Rolling Stone described the song as "mock-utopian" but felt that the song was "self-conscious."[5] Stephen Holden from The New York Times described the song as "an amusing evocation of the current [sic] baby boom" and fun but serious.[6] Music critic Robert Christgau commented that the song "is a completely affectionate, completely undeluded look at the doomed, hopeful, cheerfully insincere dreams and schemes of the kids who dance to B-52's songs."[7]

The song continues to be highly regarded retrospectively. Stephen Thomas Erlewine, writing for Allmusic, noted "Song for a Future Generation" as one of the best songs off of "Whammy," going on to state that the song is one of the "B-52's classics."[8]

Commercial Reception[edit]

The song reached number 63 on the UK Singles Chart, peaking in its second week and spending a total of three weeks on the tally. It was the group's highest-peaking single in nearly three years, their last single to crack the Top 75 of the UK Singles Chart being "Give Me Back My Man," from "Wild Planet" (which reached number 61).[1]


Electronica band Chicks on Speed remade the song for the 2001 album, The Re-Releases of the Un-Releases.[9]

Track listing[edit]

UK vinyl 12" single
Side A
  1. "Song for a Future Generation"
  2. "Song for a Future Generation" (Instrumental)
Side B
  1. "Planet Claire"
UK 2 x vinyl 7" single
  1. "Song for a Future Generation"
  2. "Song for a Future Future Generation" (Instrumental)
  3. "Planet Claire"
  4. "There's a Moon in the Sky (Called the Moon)"


Chart (1983) Peak
UK Singles (OCC) 63


  1. ^ a b "The B-52's Chart History". Official Charts. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
  2. ^ LLC, SPIN Media (1990-03-01). SPIN. SPIN Media LLC.
  3. ^ a b Holden, Stephen (1983-08-07). "ROCK-AND-ROLL: SET BY B-52'S AT THE FOREST HILLS STADIUM". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-04-11.
  4. ^ "The B-52's - "Song For A Future Generation" (Official Music Video)". YouTube. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
  5. ^ Bogdanov, Vladimir; Woodstra, Chris; Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2002-01-01). All Music Guide to Rock: The Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop, and Soul. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 9780879306533.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Christgau's Consumer Guide". Robert Christgau. The Village Voice. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
  8. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. ""Whammy!" review". Allmusic. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
  9. ^ Inc, Nielsen Business Media (2000-12-09). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc.

External links[edit]