The B-52′s are a new wave band from Athens, GA who combined sixties pop sound and fashion, along with big surf guitar, wacky keyboards to become one of the most original party bands of all time. The group’s original members were Fred Schneider (vocals, cowbell), Kate Pierson (vocals, keyboards), sister and brother Cindy Wilson (vocals, tambourine, bongos) and Ricky Wilson (guitar), and Keith Strickland (drums). Pierson and Wilson would often sing in harmony, often in call/response fashion with Schneider who served as the group’s nominal master of ceremonies. The band’s positive songs have made them favorites in concert.

The band’s first album was issued in 1979, containing the hits “Rock Lobster”, “Planet Claire” and “Dance this Mess Around.” The mix of guitars and keyboards made the band one of the first new wave groups to hit big, and their album eventually went platinum. The group’s second album, Wild Planet, was issued in 1980 and was musically very similar. Key songs were “Strobe Light”, “Party Out of Bounds” and “Quiche Lorraine.” The album cracked the top 20 and eventually went Gold.

Private Idaho” was the main single from Wild Planet, and became the group’s second chart hit. The song features a hard guitar riff from Ricky Wilson, and lead vocals from Schneider and Pierson. The song would later inspire the movie My Own Private Idaho.

The group’s mid-1980′s albums were a mixed bag, as they used more synthesizers and drum machines. In 1985, the group recorded Bouncing Off the Satellites (issued in 1986), but shortly after recording Ricky Wilson died of AIDS. He had hid his illness even from his bandmates.

The band took a long break and considered breaking up. Several years later, Strickland switched from drums to guitar and the band reformed for what would become their biggest album ever. Cosmic Thing was released in 1989 and featured a breakthrough hit “Love Shack” which became a top 5 hit. The album also featured “Roam” (also top 5), “Deadbeat Club” (top 30), “Channel Z” (number one modern rock song), and “(Shake That) Cosmic Thing.”  Cosmic Thing eventually sold over 4 million copies. A follow-up album Good Stuff was released in 1992 without Wilson, who participated in the band on and off for the following decade. A greatest hits package in 1998 featured the new song “Debbie”, a sort-of homage to Deborah Harry from Blondie.

In 2008 the band reunited for Funplex, their first studio album in over 15 years. The band continues to perform, recently touring with Blondie.