If "Mr. Brightside" was a B-52s song

This delightful cover was released a while ago, but I only just discovered it via Vanyland.

 

The 3-song EP by the B-69s also includes B-52-esque covers of Billie Eilish's "bad guy" and Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road," which are all just as fun. I'm just a big fan of anything "Mr. Brightside."

Image: raph_ph / Flickr (CC 2.0)

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Why Yoko Ono once performed backup vocals for "Rock Lobster" onstage with The B-52's

In February 2002, Yoko Ono took the stage with the B-52's during a New York performance of "Rock Lobster." The story about how she got there is fascinating and I'm surprised this is the first time I'm hearing of it. It begins in June 1980 when John Lennon heard the song and was inspired to start making music again after a long creative lull. The song's unusual backing vocals reminded him of Yoko Ono's style.

John Lennon, in a 1980 Rolling Stone interview:

"I was at a dance club one night in Bermuda... Upstairs, they were playing disco, and downstairs, I suddenly heard 'Rock Lobster' by the B-52's for the first time. Do you know it? It sounds just like Yoko's music, so I said to meself, 'It's time to get out the old axe and wake the wife up!' We wrote about twenty-five songs during those three weeks, and we've recorded enough for another album."

Writer Brian Scott MacKenzie:

"Rock Lobster" lit a fuse of inspiration that flared into Lennon’s 2-LP set Double Fantasy (1980), plus a posthumous release, Milk and Honey (1984). Without the B-52's, our world might lack "Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)," "Watching the Wheels," "Woman," "(Just Like) Starting Over," and "Nobody Told Me."

Atlanta Magazine (2013):

"I said, 'That’s Yoko!,'" Lennon recalled that fall in an interview with the BBC. "I thought there were two records going at once or something. Because it was so her. I mean, this person had studied her... I called her and I said, 'You won’t believe this, but I was in a disco and there was somebody doing your voice.

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The B-52s and a tour of their old Athens, GA haunts (1989)

In 1989, to promote their fifth studio album, Cosmic Thing, the B-52s took MTV viewers on a tour of the city where they formed: Athens, Georgia ((sadly, without guitarist Ricky Wilson who died of AIDS in 1985).

They began at the now-defunct Bluebird Cafe, formerly named the Eldorado, a vegetarian eatery where Fred Schneider used to wait tables.

From there, they continued their Athens excursion, first from the back of a convertible and then by walking the streets.

As the story goes, the band formed in October of 1976 after drinking many Flaming Volcanos at Hunan, one of the few Chinese restaurants in town. After drinks, they had their first of many jam sessions, according to this 1980 Rolling Stone article:

"So after the meal we went over to this friend's house," Kate [Pierson] continues. "And we just started playing these instruments."

The song they wrote that night was called "Killer Bees." "It's about a bus being chased by killer bees," Ricky [Wilson] explains. "It runs off into a river, and all the people get eaten by piranhas. And then the killer bees swarm into a theater, where these people are watching a movie, and they attack them. It's a true story."

The method of composition the band used that night — Ricky and Keith jamming on a musical idea and Fred, Kate and Cindy improvising lyrics — is the one the B-52's still employ. The jams, which often last several hours, are recorded on tape, and then Ricky arranges the material into a three- or four-minute song after studying the recorded havoc.

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Celebrate Christmas with stolen hams and crazed yetis

The holidays are here and everyone is shopping for their hams and turkeys. Enjoy this cautionary tale from The B-52s frontman Fred Schneider's side project, The Superions.

After you've learned the Disco Garbage Can (if you've watched the video above, you'll know what I'm talking about), give a listen to my hands-down, all-time favorite holiday song: Teddy and Betty Yeti, from The Superions' album Destination Christmas.

That's Teddy Yeti on the album cover. Everything about it is pure Christmas genius.

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Fred Armisen cameos in Kate Pierson video

SNL alum and Portlandia star Fred Armisen cameos in B-52s founding member Kate Pierson's video for Mister Sister from her upcoming solo album Guitars and Microphones. Read the rest

Cindy Wilson performs vintage B-52s song

Cindy Wilson, founding member of The B-52s, has recently been performing with Glenn Phillips and his band at small venues in the Atlanta area. In this clip, she performs the classic song Hero Worship from the B's eponymous first album from 1978, and totally rocks it out. Read the rest