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Rant Of The Day THIS RANT 08/07/99

Rant Of The Day is where I get to mouth off about whatever I feel like for however long I like. Theoretically, I'll update my whinge/opinion piece every weekday; in practice, maybe not so often.

Getting (back) to grips with the B-52's

It all started with the HMV sale. I'd not been able to find anything more interesting in the massive display of $5 discs than a copy of Then Jericho's The Big Area, but two days later one of my colleagues came back with Time Capsule: Songs For A Future Generation: The Best Of The B-52's. I'd been tempted by this when it came out last year, but somehow had never got around to it. At $5 a pop, there was no excuse not to get around to it.

The B-52's had actually been one of my earliest musical obsessions. As band historians know, long before their 1989 album Cosmic Thing broke them through to the worldwide mainstream, they'd enjoyed a strong following in Australia. 'Rock Lobster' was a much bigger hit here than anywhere else in the world, and in 1980 the band toured Australia and appeared to be constantly on Countdown (the shot at right was taken from the show's 1980 annual).

As an avid watcher of the show (even at that young age), I was immediately taken with this zany bunch of Athenians. However, back in those days, I had practically no money to spend on buying tapes, so the only way I got to hear their stuff was on tapes borrowed from the local library.

Nonetheless, I retained an interest in the band and was able to go around quoting annoying details from their career and singing obscure tracks like 'Whammy Kiss' which no-one else had heard when the 1989 breakthrough occurred. I've danced to 'Love Shack' more times than is sensible or proper, and I even bought the soundtrack to The Flintstones later in the band's career.

For some odd reason, though, I never got round to adding their work to my CD collection when it began to expand rapidly around 1994. Prior to purchasing Time Capsule, the only other things I had on disc were 'Love Shack' (one of my first ever CD singles) and the eponymous 1979 debut, which I also got for $5.

I've made up for it now, though. Earlier in the week, I attacked Sydney CBD record shops and emerged with the entire B-52's back catalogue: The B-52's, 1980's Wild Planet, the Party Mix and Mesopotamia EPs (1981 and 1982, now on a single CD), 1983's Whammy, 1986's Bouncing Off The Satellites, Cosmic Thing, 1992's Good Stuff and Time Capsule (which has two new songs and one unreleased mix and thus remains highly relevant). Guess what I'll be listening to this weekend?

I wouldn't mind developing a B-52's section of this site, but in the meantime, I'm especially taken by B-WARE, a German discography site which has the kind of major-league attention to detail that I love. Check it out.


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