You Say It's Your Birthday: The B-52s' Cindy Wilson

Today is the birthday of B-52's singer Cindy Wilson, who

was born in Athens, Georgia. Chock-full of lively, fun vocals and danceable

rhythms, the B-52's emerged from the Athens music scene to become one of the

most popular party bands of all time with songs like "Rock Lobster" and "Love

Shack." The group formed in 1976 during a jam session "under the influence of

tropical drinks," bringing together Wilson and her brother Ricky, Kate Pierson,

Fred Schnieder and Keith Strickland. After debuting at a Valentine's Day party,

they livened up performances with the ladies in miniskirts, go-go boots and

huge bouffant hairdos, as well as their vocal harmonies and Schnieder's

whacked-out, chatty style. They pressed 2,000 copies of "Rock Lobster," selling

those rapidly and starting a new dance craze.

In 1979 and 1980 they

released a self-titled debut and followup called Wild Planet, the latter

of which charted at #18. After a record of dance remixes and an EP, the B-52's

returned with the top-30 Whammy! and singles for "Legal Tender" and

"Song for a Future Generation." Ricky Wilson died of AIDS-related illnesses in

1985, casting a shadow over the group which made it impossible for them to tour

for Bouncing off the Satellites. But their greatest success came with

Cosmic Thing, released in 1989, which included "Love Shack," "Roam" and

"Deadbeat Club." Wilson left the group in 1990; meanwhile, other members worked

on side projects. Pierson lent vocals to Iggy Pop on "Candy" and REM on "Shiny

Happy People," and Schnieder made a solo record and published a book of poetry.

The B-52's remade the Flintstones theme for that movie in 1994. That same year

Wilson returned to do some performances with the group. Schnieder has again

been bitten by the solo bug; however, the B-52's are still on hiatus.

Other

birthdays: Ian Stanley (Tears for Fears), The late Brian Jones (guitarist for

The Rolling Stones), Joe South, Marty Sanders (Jay & The Americans), Barbra

Acklin, Eddie Manion (Southside Johnny & the Ashbury Jukes), Phillip Gould

(Level 42), Marcus Lillington (Breathe) and Mike Pickering (M People). -- Beth

Winegarner