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The B-52’s

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The B-52s are an American new wave band that started in 1976 in Athens, Georgia. Fred Schneider (vocals, percussion), Kate Pierson (vocals, keyboards, synth bass), Cindy Wilson (vocals, percussion), Ricky Wilson (guitar), and Keith Strickland (drums, guitar, keyboards) comprised the original lineup. After Ricky Wilson died of AIDS-related sickness in 1985, Strickland moved from drums to lead guitar. For records and live performances, the band also acquired new members.

The B-52s had numerous hits, including “Rock Lobster”, “Planet Claire”, “Party Out of Bounds”, “Private Idaho”, “Whammy Kiss”, “Summer of Love”, “Wig”, “Love Shack”, “Roam” and “(Meet) The Flintstones”. They got three Grammy nominations: twice for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group in 1990 and 1991, and once for Best Alternative Music Album in 1992. The band declared their retirement from performing in April 2022. In November of 2022, a 2023 Las Vegas residency was announced.

According to Bernard Gendron, the group generated a “thrift shop aesthetic” by pulling from the 1950s and 1960s pop sources, trash culture, and rock and roll. Schneider, Pierson, and Wilson occasionally use call-and-response vocals (Schneider’s often humorous sprechgesang contrasting with Wilson’s and Pierson’s melodic harmonies), and their guitar- and keyboard-driven instrumentation is their trademark sound, which was also distinguished from their contemporaries by Ricky Wilson’s unusual guitar tunings on their earlier albums.

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