Wednesday, November 2, 2011

1983: Let's meet and have a baby - now!

It's rare for me to buy a record on sight alone today, but as explained in the previous post, I used to do it a lot.

But what about those records you'd seen in the shop for years, looked and looked at the cover because for some reason it caught your eye but you'd not read anything about the record, knew next to nothing about the band and had no concept about the music?

One day, on our weekly afternoon outing to Guildford to stock up on fags, Record Mirror and the singles you'd been coveting, I took the plunge.

I'd seen the covers of the four B-52's albums in the shops for a couple of years and their stark Sixties kitschiness rang struck an immediate chord. Doing the whole thing so much better than Mari Wilson there was something about this I knew I was going to like, being totally obsessed with all things from that era. So that day, I bought their first self-titled album. Would I regret it? I'd read about Rock Lobster, but I'd never actually heard it.

Its mix of dangerous exotica mixed with new wave sensibilities was an instant hit, (though Lobster remains one of my least favourite songs) and I applauded myself for making the right decision. Wild Planet, Mesopotamia and Party Mix all swiftly followed, and I was a fan. I thought that was it for them, but suddenly I heard - gasp! - their new single on the Peter Powell show and rushed to buy it. Yet more space age bleepery and daft lyrics all set a frantic beat. An other album followed. But I still knew very little about them.

In those pre-internet days you had to go to the ends of the earth to find out the info you wanted - wasn't that much more fun? I sent off for their fanclub info but it was all too complicated to pay for something via international money order, plus I didn't actually have the money. Now I know all about their tragic history.

Success came pretty late for them, which is a shame, and I think it's a shame that Love Shack is what they're best-known for, though it epitomises the party-loving band that they are. Their last album Funplex was a corker. I never got to see them - booked tickets twice and twice had them cancel the gigs. Never knew the reason why.

Oh well. Perhaps I'll run into them if I ever decide to go and stay here, though I worry that the clientele may be a bit Blue Velvet.

Here's one of their many fine songs, and one of my faves:


  1. The band I would have loved to have been in. Hearing 'Planet Claire' for the first time was an epiphany for me - like I'd found the perfect sound. Thirty-odd years later, it never lets me down.


  2. You know, the world of the B52s seems to have entirely passed me by. Apart from Love Shack which was the soundtrack to a school excursion and should remain there. Where should I begin?!

  3. Only one place to start, Cocktails. The begninning.

    Check out the self-titled album 'The B-52's" yellow cover. Enjoy.