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Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Revisiting Cosmic Thing - The B-52's (1989)

Cosmic Thing - The B-52's
Reprise Records
Produced by Nile Rodgers and Don Was
 Released 27th June 1989
US Chart #4
UK Chart #8
Australian Chart #1
Side 1
 Side 2
The B-52's
    Fred Schneider – lead vocals
    Cindy Wilson – backup vocals
    Kate Pierson – backup vocals
    Keith Strickland – guitar, keyboards

Additional musicians
    Carl Beatty – horns
    Crispin Cioe – horns
    Leroy Clouden – drums
    Charley Drayton – drums
    Sonny Emory – drums
    Steve Ferrone – drums
    Bob Funk – horn
    Arno Hecht – horn
    Richard Hilton – keyboards
    Sara Lee – bass
    Paul Litteral – horn
    Tommy Mandel – keyboards
    Nile Rodgers – guitar
    Philippe Saisse – keyboards

There are loads of links down below to various tracks, click to have a listen.

Singles On Cosmic Thing
A Channel Z (Rock Mix)     6:20
B1 Channel Z (Remix / Edit) 4:10
B2 Channel Z (Rock Dub) 5:34

Released: 9th March 1989
UK Did Not Chart*

* A re-release backed with Roam reached #61 in the UK 1990
 A Love Shack   
B1 Planet Claire (Live)  
B2 Rock Lobster (Live)   
 Released 16th June 1989 (US)
US #3 
UK #2 
Australia 8 weeks at #1 
New Zealand #1

A1 Roam (Radio Mix) 4:13
Roam (12" Remix) 8:17
B Roam (Extended Mix) 5:25
Released: 4th December 1989 (US)
US #3 
UK #17 
Australia #11
New Zealand #2
(Listen to Full Maxi Single Here

 A1 Deadbeat Club (LP Version)   
A2 Love Shack (LP Version)   
B B-52's Megamix
Released: February 1990 (US)
US #30
UK Did Not Chart

Almost four years had passed since the death of guitarist Ricky Wilson (Cindy's brother) and almost three years since the last album from The B-52's (Bouncing Off the Satellites). In the light of Ricky's death the band did very little to promote the album as you can well imagine they were too distraught to go out on tour, there were no hit singles and as a result the album did not sell well reaching only #85 in the US and #74 in the UK.

Cosmic Thing was like a comeback album of sorts and it would become one of their biggest selling albums and the one that had the best chart success!

Keith Strickland had been composing in 1988 and after he played some of his new music for the other band members, they all agreed to try writing together again, with Kate Pierson, Cindy Wilson and Fred Schneider contributing the lyrics and melodies. In 1989 the band released Cosmic Thing, their mainstream breakthrough, released on their new label, Reprise Records worldwide. The single Channel Z, from the album, became an alternative and college radio hit, hitting number one on the U.S. Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart, receiving significant airplay on MTV's modern rock show 120 Minutes. It wouldn't chart in the UK until it was re-released in 1990 and then it only hit the #61 spot.

The next single, Love Shack, with its party vibe and colorful music video, became their first top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, ultimately reaching #3 in November 1989. That peak was matched in March 1990 when their follow-up single, Roam, also reached No. 3. In Australia, the country that had most embraced the band a decade earlier, Love Shack stayed at number one for eight weeks.

A fourth single, Deadbeat Club, which reminisced about the band's early days in Athens and whose video was shot on location and featured a cameo by fellow Athens artist R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe, reached No. 30. The Cosmic Thing album climbed into the U.S. top five and earned multi-platinum certification. It also had huge international success reaching #1 in both Australia and New Zealand and #8 in the UK. The group had a hugely successful world tour to support the record, and appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone in March, 1990. In 1990 the B-52's were nominated for 4 MTV Video Music Awards including Video of the Year. They won two awards, Best Group Video and Best Art Direction.

Whilst I have a real fondness for a lot of the work that The B-52's have released over the years (their debut album and Wild Planet are absolute classics I think) Cosmic Thing is an album I return to a lot. Love Shack is always going to get a mention when speaking of this album but for me the absolute standout track is Roam. It is in my mind a real classy Pop single and it's never lost it's appeal for me. There's an absolutely delicious acoustic version of it with just Cindy Wilson singing it from a show in 2003 that used to be on You Tube but has since been removed. And it still sounds stunning live, this version is from 2013 when they played in London.
 Cosmic Thing Tracks Live
 Cosmic Thing    
Dry Country    
Deadbeat Club    
Love Shack    
Channel Z .

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