This is another American group, who had some hits that can be described as rather “zany”. The B-52’s formed in Georgia in the mid-70s, the main core consisting of Fred, along Kate and Cindy, and their rather remarkable hairstyles. They had their first hit single in the UK in August 1979 when “Rock Lobster” was released, which reached no. 37.
This is a song that has become better known in more recent years for being parodied in an episode (or two) of Family Guy. The 80s were actually a rather quiet period for them. They only had three hit singles in the UK, two of which didn’t make the Top 40, which was rather disappointing as 1983’s “(Song For A) Future Generation” is among their highlights for me.
In May 1986 “Rock Lobster” was re-released (and paired with “Planet Claire”), and this time reached no. 12, a 25-place improvement on seven years earlier. It’s a shame that 1987’s “Wig” wasn’t a hit at all, because they performed this on CITV’s Hold Tight! It wasn’t really until the early-90s that they hit the big time though, already over a decade into their career.
In March 1990 “Love Shack” was released, which reached no. 2 (and stayed there for three weeks), and this was also their first Top Ten hit single in America. Folks were lining up outside just to buy this, probably. And once again, this falls right into the “you either like this or find this immensely irritating” category, but I’m sure that this did get many a party started at the time.
Next in May 1990 was “Roam”, which reached no. 17 in the UK, and this was also their second and final Top Ten hit single in America. Their next big hit was in June 1992 when “Good Stuff” reached no. 21. About five years later, this was used as the theme to Carlton’s entertainment guide show, which had the same name, and was briefly hosted by Davina McCall.
Their last wave of fame came in July 1994 when “(Meet) The Flintstones” reached no. 3 (and stayed there for three weeks as the chart just about ground to a halt behind Wet Wet Wet during that summer). This was on the soundtrack to the first live-action film of The Flintstones, and they even briefly changed their name to The BC-52’s for this.
However, after about 15 years of making songs like this, some felt that they were beginning to fizzle out, and their zany routine was becoming tired. Indeed, their final appearance on the UK chart was in January 1999 when “Love Shack” reappeared at the lower end for one week. The B-52’s have also released seven albums, and some best-ofs, a later one was described by one critic as “a cure for nostalgia” (surely such a thing is not possible…), plus several tours.