Views on pop culture through my eyes

Posts tagged ‘the B-52’s’

Complete Collections

As a music fan, I have noticed something with a lot of my favorite artists: they seem to be releasing more versions of songs that I already own. What I mean by this is: another greatest hits collection, or another live album. How about some new stuff?2371339

I am a creative person, I get it. It is not always easy to be creative and come up with new material. Maybe, you have writer’s block and don’t feel you can come up with something as good as you did in your heyday. But as someone who likes to have complete collections for an artist, it can be frustrating to keep up with these re-issues and re-packagings and such.

Another factor is the fact that artists make their money from live performances these days and not their records. So a new collection can serve as a reminder of an artist’s legacy as well as be an overview for those new to their career.

Another factor for me is having music on a bunch of different formats still and in different locations in my house. I have vinyl albums, 45s, cassettes, CDs, and then MP3s too. I converted a bunch of my vinyl albums and cassettes to MP3, but then my record player stopped working. And the speakers for the stereo gave out also. And then I don’t have enough space on my computer to store all the MP3s now. I will need a few back-up drives just to store everything.

So where do you draw the line? Do you buy the “new” release or just stick with what you already have? For me, I am looking at the situation a few different ways. For example, I will look at the outputs of the B-52’s, Pat Benatar, Blondie, and Olivia Newton-John — artists I have loved since the late 70’s, early 80’s.

I just got the B-52’s anthology “Nude on the Moon: The B-52’s Anthology.” It is their most comprehensive collection. I have all of their studio albums, and a previous greatest hits set too. But it is nice to have all the songs together in one collection. It has a few extras: alternate takes or live versions of some songs. Now I see they have 3 live albums, do they need 3? I am probably going to buy one since I am going to their show in September. I’ll pass on the other 2.

Pat Benatar has a new collection called “35th Anniversary Tour (Live)”. Now she includes her husband and guitarist Neil Giraldo in all the credits. I have 3 live albums from her already. Not sure I need this one too. Still love her.

Blondie celebrated 40 years last year with the release of “Blondie 4(0)Ever/Ghosts of Download.” One album was a CD of remixed and re-recorded greatest hits along with one disc of new material. I already have 4 previous collections from them, and if I had my way I would pass on the “new” greatest hits collection. But it is bundled with the new album, so I have to get both! Oh well!

Olivia Newton-John had a great run in the 70’s and 80’s. Now she still records but most of it is sort of mellow and boring to me. So I have passed on some of her recent studio albums. But now I see she has a 2-CD collection from her Las Vegas show. Yeah, yet another live album. But I am considering getting it, as it looks to be a good souvenir of a veteran artist.

Another thing I have noticed is the ability to release one-off songs at will — with songs being put on ITunes when they are released. They may be soundtrack songs, songs where the artist is featured on another person’s song, or just random songs that don’t fit on an album. An artist doesn’t have to put out a full album anymore… just release songs when they are finished. Do you get all of these songs too? You probably didn’t know they existed in most cases! I love Wynonna Judd, she has about 5 of these songs… Lady Antebellum: 5; Kelly Clarkson: 2; Rihanna: 8… and so on.

So now you can see what I am talking about. And don’t forget when an artist dies, or when they change labels either. The record company will release new collections whenever they want to. I realize I can’t keep up with everything, and I am not going to try. And then don’t forget Christmas albums or cover albums either, all artists seem to do those too sometime in their careers.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for birthdays, anniversaries and more.


Weird and Wonderful: The B-52s

The B-52s in Concert
Friday, September 11, 2015
Hollywood Bowl

Featuring the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Thomas Wilkins conductor

Special guests: The Psychedelic Furs

Songs performed: Love My Way, Ghost in You, Pretty in Pink (The Psychedelic Furs); Pump, Mesopotamia, Lava, Dance This Mess Around, Party Out of Bounds, Strobe Light, Private Idaho, Girl from Ipanema Goes to Greenland, Love in the Year 3000, Roam, Planet Claire, Love Shack, Rock Lobster (The B-52s)

Comments: New-wave pioneers The B-52s headlined the Fireworks Finale at the world-famous Hollywood Bowl for 3 shows this past weekend. This the group that came from Athens, Georgia and conquered the world with their fun and funky songs.b52s-950

I first came to love them in high school. I remember getting their self-titled debut album on cassette (back in 1979-80) and playing it out! That album is a classic and set the stage for a career that is going well some 35+ years later.

The band appealed to me at the time; they were different and their songs were funny and catchy. The dressed in retro clothes and marched to beat for their own drummer. I was beginning to question myself and my sexuality at the time. When I finally went to the youth group at the Gay & Lesbian Center (because I realized I was gay), I found others that loved the band as much as I did.

The original lineup consisted of Fred Schneider (lead vocals), Kate Pierson (vocals), Cindy Wilson (vocals and percussion), Ricky Wilson (guitar) and Keith Strickland (guitar, drums). Ricky died of AIDS in 1985; and Keith is not touring with the band anymore — so we got the 3 vocalists with some new backing players.

This show gave us the hits (Roam, Rock Lobster) as well as classic album cuts (Strobe Light, Dance This Mess Around), plus a few songs from their most recent studio album “Fun Plex” which came out in 2008 (Time for a new album if you ask me). No songs were played from the Whammy or Good Stuff albums. With their music showing influences from punk, surf, doo-wop, rockabilly, and more — their sound is definitely one of a kind.

It says something when I hadn’t heard some of these songs in ages, yet I still remembered all the words to them! It was fun to be hearing them live again, and I could dance as crazy as I wanted to! Their voices all sound great, and the interplay between their vocals is one of their hallmarks.

I was surprised that Kate didn’t do anything from her solo album that was released earlier this year.

The Hollywood Bowl orchestra was there to fill out the sound on the final 3 numbers: Planet Claire, Love Shack and Rock Lobster. The fireworks went off during Love Shack and were timed well to the musical cues from the song.

The Psychedelic Furs opened the show. We had seen them before on the Totally 80’s bill a few years back with ABC and the Human League. They were decent. The orchestra also backed them up on some numbers.

Thanks to all for another fun show from one of my all-time favorite party bands.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Great First Albums

Music is part of my life. It brings me up when I am down, makes me want to dance, and moves my soul. Sometimes artists come on strong, never to make an album as strong again. For others it is just a glimpse of all the greatness to come. Here is my list of the Top Ten Greatest First Albums (in no particular order):

  • The B-52’s — “The B-52’s”
    The band from Athens, GA came on strong with their first album. The music scene didn’t know what to make of them. Were they punk? A comedy group? Were they retro? All I know is this is one fun party album. Classic tracks included: “Rock Lobster,” “Lava” and “Planet Claire.” They would hit the big time finally with “Love Shack.”The B-52's
  • Cyndi Lauper — “She’s So Unusual”
    Benefitting from the early days of MTV, she was a breath of fresh air from the pretty dance queens. This was a girl who definitely marched to the beat of her own drum. Classic tracks included: “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” “Time After Time” and “Money Changes Everything.” She is still a popular artist on the touring circuit, and released a blues album in 2011.
  • Duran Duran — “Duran Duran”
    “Rio” was the band’s breakthrough for sure, but the success of that one brought their first album back in the spotlight when they added “Is There Something I Should Know?” to it and re-released it. Classic tracks included: “Girls on Film,” “Planet Earth” and “Careless Memories.” Another MTV ready band, they also tour regularly and are still going strong.
  • Alicia Keys — “Songs in A Minor”
    The pretty girl who played piano, hit the big time with her debut. In the process, she has inspired plenty of up and coming singers. Classic tracks included: “Fallin,” “How Come You Don’t Call Me” and “A Woman’s Worth.” She has had many more hits in recent years, slowing down to get married and start a family.
  • Culture Club — “Kissing to Be Clever”
    Another great band from MTV’s early days, when they played videos. Boy George may have looked different with his makeup and outfits, but his voice was pure soul. Classic tracks included: “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?,” “Time” and “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya.” (more…)

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