Wait, what, Who? This isn’t an exercise like one of these doesn’t belong. I wouldn’t do that to you. I have listed some of the greatest including THE gratest frontman in the history of rock and roll. Sorry Fred, Mick is still the greatest.
It was a Saturday night in 1980. I was hanging out with friends. We had the house to ourselves because one of my friend’s parents had gone out of town. We had been on a kick lately where we were more into weed than we were into alcohol and well we were high as kites. We were coming down and ordering supertacos from Jack in the Box, that’s what they were made for and we turned on Saturday Night Live. There they were, this weird strange band with these two chicks with beehive hairdos, actually called a b-52 where they got the name of their band. I don’t remember the song they were singing, might have been Private Idaho or could have been Rock Lobster. It would not have mattered anyway. And they had a front man, yea now you remember Fred Schneider.
Now I am not about to tell you that Fred is every bit as good, as Mick or Steven, or Freddie but in my humble opinion he is one of the great frontmen in music history. He is an incredible entertainer, great stories and I think he is impossible to not just love. Now you might not, you might think he is a bit too flamboyant or he doesn’t have a great voice. Being a frontman is all about presence and in case you didn’t know Mick Jagger does not have a great voice. People can’t take their eyes off of a great frontman. Now with the B-52s I grant you that there are other visual things that draw your attention. Kate Pierson too is a wonder as a singer and she too has a great presence.
And Cindy, my absolute favorite. I love to watch her dance. I always wanted a girl who could dance like Cindy. Cindy actually sang as many lead vocals as Kate and many 52 songs have both of them singing together, songs like 52 girls and Roam. I love Cindy but I love the band and I always have.
Sometimes its easy to get lost in music as to who the best is. There are all sorts of opinions on who the greatest drummers are and who the greatest guitarists are, what the top one hundred albums are etc. I know people that go nuts for lyrics, oh my god those lyrics they mean so much to me. Look all of that is well and good but sometimes people lose sight of the one thing music is supposed to be; its supposed to be fun. Whether it makes us dance, or sing along, or turn up the volume when songs come on music is enjoyable, it lifts us up. No one does this better than the B-52s and you will probably argue but thats ok. I have a ton of albums from all sorts of genres but I only have one where there is credit given to someone playing a smoke alarm. You can find that on the first B-52s record on the song Rock Lobster. Next time you hear it you will listen for it now and then you will think I could do that and maybe laugh at the sheer audacity to use a smoke alarm. But it’s fun right? The B-52s are all about fun. Love Shack, Private Idaho, 52 Girls, Strobe Light where the interplay with Fred and Kate is just genius. What about the song Planet Claire, she drove a Plymouth Satellite for God’s sake. If you don’t like them that’s fine. If you think they are stupid, that’s fine but they are a little bit, that’s the point they want you to laugh at them and their music. They want you to be entertained, bounce in your seat and sing along with them and when the show is over if you want to put something serious on the old cd player or your Bluetooth or whatever that’s fine too.
I always look forward to when the B-52s hit. The music means a lot to me ad it brings me joy. I love Fred’s voice, I love Kate’s and Cindy has always been my favorite 52 girl. So as I sit down and play the B-52s and share some select songs with you raise a glass to Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson, Cindy Wilson, Keith Strickland and the late great Ricky Wilson no doubt looking down and still be bopping to the music so much of which he wrote.