Rock Lobster (5:24)

Cover of The B-52's

From The B-52's and 39 other releases

“Rock Lobster” is The B-52’s’ first single, released in 1978 and in a longer version placed on the band’s self-titled debut album, The B-52’s, one year later. It has become one of their signature tunes, and it helped launch the band’s success. “Rock Lobster” was the band’s first single to appear on Billboard’s Hot 100. Instruments used in the music include a twangy, baritone surf-style electric guitar (a Mosrite), a Farfisa, Vox or Gibson organ, and drums. Unlike most pop and rock songs, no bass guitar was present. Instead, Kate Pierson played the bass line on keyboards.

The album version of “Rock Lobster” (released in 1979) clocks in at about seven minutes and contains superficially nonsensical lyrics about a beach party and excited rants about real or imagined marine animals (“There goes a dog-fish, chased by a cat-fish, in flew a sea robin, watch out for that piranha, there goes a narwhal, here comes a bikini whale!”), accompanied by absurd, fictional noises attributed to them (provided by Pierson and Cindy Wilson, Pierson provided the higher-pitched noises and Wilson the lower-pitched ones); the chorus consists of the words “Rock lobster!” repeated over and over. The song “Rock Lobster” is part of the The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll list.

The song remains a part of pop culture, with other versions of “Rock Lobster” appearing in a 2005 episode of Family Guy and in The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything: A Veggie Tales Movie.

“Rock Lobster” appears at number 146 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of greatest songs.

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