Five Things You Didn't Know About the B-52s | West Coast Sound | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
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Five Things You Didn't Know About the B-52s

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Fri, May 6, 2011 at 12:44 PM

click to enlarge b52.jpg

When most people think about early punk bands, they do not think of the B-52s. But before the band made such floor-fillers as Love Shack" and "Roam," and before Kate Pierson joined REM to sing about "Shiny Happy People," the B-52s were playing at CBGBs and churning out garagey tunes such as "Rock Lobster," "52 Girls," and "Hot Lava," mixing stream-of-consciousness lyrics with elements of early punk and new wave. This is a band that--as the Advocate put it--manages to be "singular, specifically American, and downright homo." The World's Greatest Party Band, whether they know it or not, has a foundational place in American rock'n'roll history.

And now, here are Five Things You Didn't Know About the B-52s:

5. Allen Ginsberg, Quentin Crisp, and AMFAR

In 1987, the band did a public service announcement AMFAR (The Foundation For AIDS Research), recreating the Sgt. Pepper album cover so that the flowers spelled out the word "Believe" (as in "believe you can make a difference"). If you look closely at the video above, you can see that Allen Ginsberg and Quentin Crisp are in the crowd of people standing behind the band.

4. The Lazy Meadow Motel

click to enlarge Kate at her Lazy Meadow Motel
  • Kate at her Lazy Meadow Motel

When Kate Pierson is not on tour, she and her partner Monica Coleman run Kate's Lazy Meadow Motel in the Catskills, which features "rustic cabins" filled with "mind-blowing mid-century modern/space age/rocket-your-socks-off décor." When Kate first saw Lazy Meadow, she "flipped her wig."

3. Julee Cruise as Cindy?

For a brief period of time, Cindy took a break from the band and alternative siren Julee Cruise took her spot in a 1994 tour. Here, she is performing with the band for Jay Leno.

2. Debbie Harry

The song "Debbie" is indeed a tribute to the band's friend and colleague Debbie Harry. No word yet on who exactly those 52 girls are.

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