The B-52's is the debut album by the Athens, Georgia-based new wave band the B-52's. The kitschy lyrics and mood, and the hook-laden harmonies helped establish a fanbase for the band, who went on to release several chart-topping singles. The album cover was designed by Tony Wright (credited as Sue Ab Surd).
The B-52's peaked at number 59 on the Billboard 200, and "Rock Lobster" reached number 56 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2003, the television network VH1 named The B-52's the 99th greatest album of all time. Shortly before his death, John Lennon said he enjoyed the album. In his 1995 book, The Alternative Music Almanac, Alan Cross placed the album ninth on the list of 10 Classic Alternative Albums. In 2012, the album was ranked number 152 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
Critical reception for The B-52's was generally favorable; critics praised the album's kitschy lyrics and party atmosphere. Music critic Robert Christgau awarded the album an "A−" grade in his consumer guide for The Village Voice, noting his fondness "for the pop junk they recycle—with love and panache", while also noting that he was "more delighted with their rhythms, which show off their Georgia roots by adapting the innovations of early funk (a decade late, just like the Stones and Chicago blues) to an endlessly danceable forcebeat format".
Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic retrospectively wrote, "Unabashed kitsch mavens at a time when their peers were either vulgar or stylish, the Athens quintet celebrated all the silliest aspects of pre-Beatles pop culture – bad hairdos, sci-fi nightmares, dance crazes, pastels, and anything else that sprung into their minds – to a skewed fusion of pop, surf, avant-garde, amateurish punk, and white funk." Rolling Stone writer Pat Blashill concluded that "On The B-52's, the best little dance band from Athens proved that rock & roll still matters if it's about sex and hair and moving your body. Even if you have to shake-bake shake-bake it like a Shy Tuna." Slant Magazine's Sal Cinquemani stated that "(l)ike any over-the-top act, the B-52's wears thin, but the band successfully positioned themselves as pop-culture icons—not unlike the musical antiquities they emulated." The B-52's was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
Fred Schneider – vocals, percussion, sound effects, keyboard bass (side two track 3), toy piano (side one track 3)
Kate Pierson – vocals, organ, keyboard bass, additional guitar (side one track 2 & side two track 3)
Keith Strickland – drums, percussion, sound effects
Cindy Wilson – vocals, percussion, additional guitar (side two track 2)
Ricky Wilson – guitars, sound effects
Robert Ash - associate producer, engineer
Cass Rigby - assistant engineer
Tony Wright as "Sue Ab Surd" - art direction
George DuBose - photography
Ted Jensen - mastering, Sterling Sound, NYC
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