After pressing up a few thousand copies of the single "Rock Lobster," the B-52's traveled to the famed Max's Kansas City club for their first paying gig. Subsequent appearances at CBGB brought the group to the attention of the New York press, and in 1979, they issued their self-titled debut album, a collection of manic, bizarre, and eminently danceable songs which scored an underground club hit with a reworked version of "Rock Lobster." The following year, they issued Wild Planet, which reached the Top 20 on the U.S. album charts; Party Mix!, an EP's worth of reworked material from the band's first two proper outings, appeared in 1981.
Released in 1982, the EP Mesopotamia arose out of a series of aborted sessions with producer David Byrne which saw the B-52's largely abandon their trademark sense of humor, a situation rectified by the following year's Whammy!, a move into electronic territory. After a Schneider solo LP, 1984's Fred Schneider & the Shake Society, the group returned to the studio to record 1986's Bouncing Off the Satellites. On October 12, 1985, however, Ricky Wilson died; though originally his death was attributed to natural causes, it was later revealed that he had succumbed to AIDS. In light of Wilson's death, the group found it impossible to promote the new album, and they spent the next several years in seclusion.
In 1989, the B-52's finally returned with Cosmic Thing, their most commercially successful effort to date. Marked by Strickland's move from drums to guitar and club-friendly production from Don Was and Nile Rodgers, the album launched several hit singles, including the party smash "Love Shack," "Roam," and "Deadbeat Club." In 1990, Cindy Wilson retired from active duty, leaving the remaining trio to soldier on for 1992's Good Stuff. A year later, dubbed the BC-52's, they performed the theme song for Steven Spielberg's live-action feature The Flintstones. Wilson returned to the group for a tour supporting the release of 1998's hits collection Time Capsule. Four years later the double-disc Nude on the Moon compilation would dive deeper into their catalog by featuring rare tracks, live recordings, and remixes along with the hits. The year 2008 found the band returning with a new album for the first time in 16 years. Released by Astralwerks, Funplex, was a slick, synthesizer-driven effort produced by Steve Osborne. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi