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Digital Subscriptions > Classic Pop > Jun 2019 - Album Exclusive: Prince Originals > IS THIS REALLY GOODBYE?

IS THIS REALLY GOODBYE?

THE B - 52S’N EW SHOWS ARE APPARENT LY PART OF THEIR “EUROPEAN FAREWEL L TOUR”. COUL D THI S B E THE LAST WE’L L SEE OF THE SUBVERSIVE GANG BEHIND ROCK LOBSTER, LOVE SHACK, ROAM AND SO MANY OTHER EXTRAVAGANT PART Y STARTERS? HOW WER E THEY ABL E TO SUBVERT MAINSTREAM AMERICA SO SUCCESSFUL LY? AND HAVE THEY FORGIVEN GERMAN AUD I ENCES FOR THEI R FIRST EXPERI ENCE THERE? CLASSI C POP GOES ROAMING WI T H THE BAND ONE LAST T IME.

Long before The B-52s formed, they were already staples of the alternative scene in Athens, Georgia. The city would later be a home for fellow outsiders like R.E.M. and, in 1971, teenagers Keith Strickland and Ricky Wilson attended a party thrown by Jeremy Ayers. A part of Andy Warhol’s scene where he was known as Sylva Thinn, Jeremy provided support for generations of fellow local artists until his death three years ago. He also knew how to throw a great party.

“Jeremy covered the walls of one room with black plastic and filled the floors with popcorn,”recalls guitarist Keith. “Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica was on the stereo. Several people took off their clothes, covered their bodies with Wesson oil and rolled around in the popcorn.”Another artist, James Herbert, filmed the whole evening.

“I’m not sure if any footage of the party exists,”admits Keith, adding, “Years later, Jeremy wrote the lyrics to our song 52 Girls.”

It’s that kind of abandoned spirit that’s been writ large in The B-52s for over 40 years. As much as Love Shack is now a wedding party staple, when they first emerged The B-52s were like nothing else around. Poppier than anyone except Blondie from the New Wave scene, their ethos was infused with the surrealism of experimental art-rock.

Fred Schneider was equal parts beat poet and ringmaster, with Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson even more anarchic. Sporting wigs of the beehive hairdo the band were named after, Kate and Cindy’s raucous harmonies distilled their punk spirit into perfect dayglo pop songs. Debut singles don’t get much better than Rock Lobster, especially when paired with the Ayers co-write 52 Girls on the B-side. “We were Motown all the way,”enthuses Cindy. She and her older brother Ricky, the original B-52s guitarist, had been childhood Beatle nuts – Ricky so much so that “everyone called him George. Ricky became George for a whole year, while I was pretending I was singing along to Dusty Springfi eld.”

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About Classic Pop

In our latest issue, we take an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the latest archive release from Prince. Originals gathers together tantalising demos from the iconic songwriter that became hits in the hands of other artists, from The Bangles and Martika to Kenny Rogers. We talk to those who knew Prince best for the inside track on this fascinating new album. So much more than just a founder member of Duran Duran, Stephen Duffy returns with a new Lilac Time album and a reissue of his superb solo LP I Love My Friends. Classic Pop shares a pint with him for an entertaining chat. Elsewhere, we find out if the B52s are serious about hanging up their microphones as they return to the UK for a farewell tour. Is this really the last goodbye from the art-pop party starters? We meet the band to get the definitive answer. In our new album-by-album feature, we take an in-depth look at the recording career of Talk Talk, from reluctant New Romantic poster boys to an outfit that explored the furthest reaches of art-rock. Legendary producer Trevor Horn talks us through his life in vinyl and we catch up with Colin Hay to delve into the troubled history of Men At Work. Our classic album is OMD’s career pinnacle Architecture & Morality and we also look at the 80s British reggae scene including chats with the key players from the era. Our packed new album reviews section includes Prince, Mark Ronson, The Divine Comedy, Hot Chip and more. On the reissues front, we serve up a tasty selection including Depeche Mode, Blancmange, Ian Dury & The Blockheads and a five-star review of Abba. In our live reviews section, we check out gigs by ABC, Wet Wet Wet, Suede, Bananarama and more.