You know it’s true… (just ask this guy).
Yesterday at our yoga class, a guy said to the twenty-something yoga instructor that her new hairstyle reminded him of the B-52s. She raised an eyebrow and looked at him questioningly, even annoyed, and asked “What is a B-52?”
My wife turned to me, sighed and declared “We’re old.”
True, but… how sad it is to think that someone—anyone—can go through their lives not knowing who the B-52s are! It’s unfair! And in that spirit I decided to revisit this post from 2011… for the kids!
The thing that I find most interesting about editing this blog and seeing the comments and being able to parse through a vast amount of information about our readership that we’ve got access to (even just between Google Analytics and Facebook Insights alone, that’s a helluva data set in our case) is that the largest segment of the Dangerous Minds audience—the 18-34 bloc—is, very often, finding out about many classic rock and punk, post punk and New Wave acts here for the first time or thereabouts. Then there are around 20% of the readers who were “there” when these things happened. To these readers, I would like to inform you that (and I admit this is a bit of a guesstimate, but one informed by reams of data, I can assure you) more of our readers than you might expect—by my reckoning 40%—have probably never even heard of DEVO.
You think I’m kidding, but I’m not kidding.
If you can’t tell from the title, I’m a B-52s fan. A pretty big one. They came into my life when I was a 13-year-old and have never left. I’ve seen them live numerous times and they have never failed to bring the house down (in fact, I once nervously wondered if they were going to literally bring down the balcony at Radio City Music Hall due to all the frenzied frugging to “Rock Lobster.” A balcony I was seated under, I might add). The B-52s are so good live that I once stood in one of the worst torrential downpours I’ve ever been caught in, for hours, so that I could get in the front row for a tiny pre-Cosmic Thing warm-up gig at a PAPER magazine party in New York. I was drenched from head to toe, soaked to the bone, but it was still one of the best concert experiences I’ve ever had. I was about four feet way from the band as they played. Heavenly!
Over the weekend, I downloaded an absolutely superb live B-52s video from 1983, a show from Dortmund, Germany (it’s easy to find, the quality is perfect) and I’ve watched it over and over again. It’s not like I needed to be convinced or anything, but I was reminded watching it of what an absolutely genius band they are. They’re so original that they fall into a category of one. What they do is a uniquely American art form. They’re a
national intergalactic treasure
I intended just to do one big mega mega-post about the B-52s, but instead I’m going to do four or five posts about them because there’s just way too much “good stuff” out there to not share it here. Tons of it. They often made multiple music videos for their songs, so it can be hard to choose the best ones. I don’t want to crash anyone’s browser with the B-52s bounty, so I’m breaking it off into chunks. Here’s a selection of material from their classic first album, released in 1979:
Cindy Wilson stirred my teenage hormones mightily. Check out this performance of “Dance This Mess Around” recorded live on November 7th,1980 at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, NJ. How cute was she back then, right? Be still my heart!
A rousing “Planet Claire” from Dortmund, Germany, 1983: