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
ReleasedJuly 6, 1979
StudioCompass Point Studios, Nassau, Bahamas
LabelWarner Bros.
ProducerChris Blackwell
the B-52's chronology
The B-52's
Wild Planet
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
AllMusic5/5 stars[1]
Christgau's Record GuideA[7]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[8]
Music Story5/5 stars[9]
Rolling Stone5/5 stars[11]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3.5/5 stars[12]
Slant Magazine4/5 stars[14]
Spin Alternative Record Guide10/10[15]

Critical reception for The B-52's was generally favorable; critics praised the album's kitschy lyrics and party atmosphere.[1][16] Music critic Robert Christgau awarded the album an "A−" grade in his consumer guide for The Village Voice, noting his fondness "for the pop junk they recycle—with love and panache", while also noting that he was "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".[17]

Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic retrospectively wrote, "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 writer Pat Blashill concluded 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."[11] Slant Magazine's Sal Cinquemani stated 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."[14] The B-52's was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[18]

Track listing[edit]

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

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."Planet Claire"Henry Mancini,[19] Fred Schneider, Keith StricklandSchneider, Pierson4:35
2."52 Girls"Jeremy Ayers, Ricky WilsonPierson, Wilson3:34
3."Dance This Mess Around" Pierson, Schneider, C. Wilson4:36
4."Rock Lobster"Schneider, R. WilsonPierson, Schneider, C. Wilson6:49
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."Lava" Pierson, Schneider, C. Wilson4:54
2."There's a Moon in the Sky (Called the Moon)" Pierson, Schneider, C. Wilson4:54
3."Hero Worship"Robert Waldrop, R. WilsonC. Wilson4:07
4."6060-842"Pierson, Schneider, Strickland, R. WilsonPierson, Schneider, C. Wilson2:48
5."Downtown" (Petula Clark cover, 1964)Tony Hatch, arr. by C. Wilson, PiersonPierson, C. Wilson2:57
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
  • Ted Jensen - mastering, Sterling Sound, NYC

Charts and certifications[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. ^ 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. ^ "The B-52's". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  10. ^ Shepard, Susan (October 14, 2018). "The B-52's: The B-52's". Pitchfork. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ Considine, J. D. (2004). "The B-52's". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 67–68. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. Retrieved November 2, 2011.
  13. ^ Cavanagh, David (July 1990). "Flip Your Wig". Select (1): 121.
  14. ^ a b Cinquemani, Sal (October 11, 2003). "The B-52's: The B-52's". Slant Magazine. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
  15. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  16. ^ Carson, Tom (September 20, 1979). "The B-52's: The B-52's". Rolling Stone (300). Archived from the original on 21 June 2008. Retrieved 21 February 2009.
  17. ^ Christgau, Robert (September 3, 1979). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ 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."
  20. ^ "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.
  21. ^ "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. 

External links[edit]