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The B-52's

The B-52's are a rock band from Athens, Georgia, the first of many from the college town that has become one of the most important centers in alternative rock. The name comes from the bouffant wigs that are a part of the band's distinctive look, worn by singers Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson. Along with Wilson and Pierson, Keith Strickland, Ricky Wilson and Fred Schneider formed the band after a drunken night at a Chinese restaurant.

Their first single, "Rock Lobster" in 1978 (see 1978 in music), was an underground success that led to the B-52's performing at CBGB's and Max's Kansas City in New York City. Their debut, The B-52's, was a minor hit, and the follow-up, Wild Planet, reached the Top 20 on the album charts. Although part of the new wave movement, their music was wierder and more experimental than most new wave, indulging in all manner of odd vocal and synth effects, creating a quirky dance sound that became very popular in the fringes of the music world.

Though recording sessions with David Byrne (of Talking Heads) failed, the recordings were released as Mesopotamia in 1982 (see 1982 in music). After Whammy in 1983 (see 1983 in music), a Schneider solo album and Bouncing off the Satellites (1986; see 1986 in music), Ricky Wilson died of what was later revealed to be AIDS-related causes. The band spent three years recovering, and returned with Cosmic Thing in 1989 (see 1989 in music), which launched three hits, "Roam", "Deadbeat Club" and "Love Shack", which is perhaps their most well-remembered song today.

Cindy Wilson departed the next year, not returning until touring began for a 1998 (see 1998 in music) greatest hits collection.