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The B-52's: "Dance This Mess Around"

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It's a sad fact that The B-52's biggest "hit" is the high school dance staple, "Love Shack." I'm not gonna be an arrogantly snobby music scenster and tell you that I don't enjoy the insane catchiness of that cut (come on, I listen to Hanson people.) I just don't think its very representative of the innovative rockabilly, surf, new-wave of their late 70's, early 80's stuff. That stuff will blow your mind, it is incredibly unique, boisterous, and most importantly ORIGINAL. It really bums me out that few people are even aware that The B-52's made music before the 1990's. That's probably because their popularity spiked during that decade due to "Love" Shack, Kate' Pierson's appearance on R.E.M.'s video/song "Shiny Happy People" and their top 40, irritating cliche pop tune known as "Roam."

I don't think this should deter people from appreciating The B-52's earlier work. Nobody can even come close to that singular B-52's sound, which consisted of the following elements: outlandish and eccentric lyrics (ex: "Devil in My Car" is about a car's demon pocession); flaming redhead, Kate Pierson's fierce and quirky vocals that complement Cindy Wilson's spunky vocal contributions; front-man Schneider's effeminate, humorous, spoken word diatribes; and Ricky Wilson's unusual guitar tunings and obvious love of surf rock

"[Ricky Wilson's] style is said to have been heavily influenced by American Surf Group The Ventures, possibly Syd Barrett's "Lucifer Sam" and other Batman-style sixties music."

I hope this article and the 1980 SNL performance of "Dance This Mess Around" will encourage all of you to set aside your cynicism about The B-52's 90's pop sell-out phase and check out their earlier work, specifically the albums, Wild Planet and their self-titled debut. You might just find yourself searching your local thrift stores for a "B-52" a nickname for the bouffant wigs the band's ladie's made part of their signature look.  (also the name of Boeing B-52s, which are eight-engine strategic bombers) I'm thinking of dressing up as Kate Pierson myself next Halloween...she's seriously my rock idol. The woman has some serious pipes, AND she plays the keyboards! Plus, the red-hair doesn't hurt.

Currently listening to:
The B-52's
By The B-52's

jinkesvelma @ 11/10/2006 |

November 24, 2006   01:10 AM PST
Couldn't agree more! Even MESOPOTAMIA and WHAMMY! contain some mind blowing cuts. They truly are pioneers of alternative music.

They have a new disc coming out in 2007 and I have a feeling it's going to kick ass!

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November 19th 1985  (Age 33)
La Porte City
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"Dead Road 7" by The Kills

There has been much coming and going of the authors here at Vintage Rock. If you have not posted an entry in over two months, I'm either deleting you from Vintage Rock or marking you as inactive on the side-bar. I don't think its fair to give authors credit here if they don't post any entries. Its nothing personal, I'm sure you all understand.

Kristy (founder)
Aims (co-founder)
Shay (non active co-founder)
Jess (non active co-founder)
Morgan (non active co-founder)

What Is "Vintage Rock" About?

Vintage Rock has officially been on the internet in various forms for about five years now. I started it on a whim of boredom at the terrible, I met some great friends there, and we ended up forming a super-group; a forum where it was okay to speak our minds about anything and everything music. And since there were multiple authors here, we were able to learn about an eclectic variety of music news, recommendations, and bands.

In the last few years, many of the authors who helped co-found this blog quit posting entries. I'm not bitter about their absence, because I know it takes a lot of time and dedication to write quality articles and posts. I will never forget them, but I think its time I quit expecting them to come back. I'd really like to see Vintage Rock turn back into the place it once was. I really don't forsee that happening though. I do however think it is valid for me to keep up this blog in hopes I can inspire even one person to realize that MTV is not the only way to define one's musical tastes. I know its difficult, and takes a lot of research, but there are amazing bands out there just waiting to be discovered. And that is the purpose of this blog. I've never made one penny for running Vintage Rock, and that's okay. Its worth all the hard work when I hear one person say, "Hey, that band kicks ass!" So yes, if you like Vintage Rock and what we stand for, don't be afraid to comment on an entry or say hi on the tag-board. The more input from you readers, the more likely I am to be inspired to post more entries. Anyway, I'm off my soap-box for today. I just thought I'd let you know that things are going to be a bit different here. I'm taking the focus off the side bar and deleting a lot of things I don't find relevant anymore.


Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart closed with Lowery singing about how "Life Is Grand" in pointed response to "those of you who have appointed yourselves to expect us to say something darker." So when Key Lime Pie came out, its moodier music and imagery, not to mention that soon after the fact the band fell apart on the tour for the album, led more than one person to think those darker times had finally arrived. As it is, the group had already gone through one major shake-up between the two albums -- founding member Segel had taken a powder to concentrate on other efforts, with Morgan Fichter brought in as a replacement violinist. Her abilities were certainly praiseworthy, as the album-starting instrumental "Opening Theme" shows quite well. However, it's definitely not the same band that did Telephone Free Landslide Victory a mere four years previous -- things are more straightforwardly rock here most of the time, perhaps not too surprising in light of Lowery's subsequent work in Cracker. As it is, though, it's excellently conceived rock, with space, moodiness, and more to spare. Consider "Jack Ruby," with its wordless backing vocals, tense rhythms, and thick soloing, or "Laundromat" and its steady but unnerving crunch. It's not all potential melancholia, though -- "June" in particular is an underrated number, celebrating the early summer with sweetness and love (at least up to the increasingly stranger ending). Lowery's singing is his best yet, perhaps a little less prone to wackiness but an emergent, distinct voice all the same, and certainly prone to sing a quirky lyric or two still. The oddest thing of all was that the band actually gained a little mainstream attention on MTV and radio via a cover of Status Quo's psych-era nugget "Pictures of Matchstick Men."--- Ned Raggett

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