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

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.

1. The Love Shack's Tin Roof is Rusted!

While working out the song “Love Shack“, the band abruptly stopped playing, catching Cindy by surprise. She belted out, “TIN ROOF!” over the sudden silence and then, realizing that no one was playing anymore, finished with, “rusted.”

You can see the B-52s on May 6 at the Pechanga Casino in Temecula, May 7 at the O'Donnell Golf Club in Palm Springs, or May 8 at the Belly Up in Solana Beach, and May 12 at the Canyon in Agoura.

LA Weekly