Saturday, August 26, 1989

The B-52’s hit the chart with “Love Shack”

First posted 11/16/2019.

Love Shack

The B-52’s

Writer(s): Kate Pierson, Fred Schneider, Keith Strickland, Cindy Wilson (see lyrics here)


Released: June 20, 1989


First Charted: August 26, 1989


Peak: 3 US, 4 CB, 5 RR, 14 MR, 2 UK, 5 CN, 19 AU
(Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales *: 0.5 US, 0.2 UK, 0.84 world (includes US + UK)


Radio Airplay *: 1.0


Video Airplay *: 29.6


Streaming *: --


* in millions

Review:

The B-52’s arrived on the scene a decade earlier with their debut album and became a definitive band of the new wave/post-punk era. They had a cult following primarily comprised of the gay community and college radio listeners. However, their relevance declined and in 1985, they considered calling it quits after guitarist Ricky Wilson died of AIDS. Instead, they soldiered on with drummer Keith Strickland recording guitar parts in Wilson’s style. SF

In 1989, they came back on the scene in a big way. The band wanted Nile Rodgers (best known for his band Chic) to produce their Cosmic Thing album, but he wasn’t available. They turned to Don Was who had his own group Was (Not Was), but had also worked with Bob Dylan, Elton John, and the Rolling Stones. Kate Pierson, one of the singers in the band, credits Was for making the song a hit. The band used to perform songs live before recording them, but Was helped them structure “Love Shack” and record it in the studio. SF It didn’t just put them back on the radar, but gave them their first taste of mainstream success and became their signature song. It topped the charts in Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand and hit the top 5 in the U.S., UK, and Canada. WK

The band was inspired by the club in the movie The Color Purple, as well as Hawaiian Ha-Le, a real club outside Athens, Georgia where the band hung out. The club drew a wide variety of hippies, scenesters, and University of Georgia students. Cindy Wilson, another of the band’s singers, described the club as “a really cool place – a run-down love shack kind of thing…It was a really interesting place.” SF The concept for the song was that the Love Shack was “a place where people of all stripes come together for a groovy time.” SF

The song was also inspired by a tin-roofed cabin – also in the Athens, Georgia area – where Pierson lived in the ‘70s. The band conceived their 1979 hit “Rock Lobster,” probably their best-known song prior to “Love Shack,” at the cabin. Wilson’s memorable line about “tin roof rusted” was actually an outtake from a jamming session. WK The line has been famously misinterpreted as “Hennn-ry, busted.” SF Wilson has said she was thinking of the rusty roof from the Hawaiian Ha-Le club. SF


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Saturday, August 19, 1989

8/19/1989: Del Amitri charted with “Kiss This Thing Goodbye”

First posted 12/24/2019.

Kiss This Thing Goodbye

Del Amitri

Writer(s): Justin Currie, Iain Harvie, Mick Slaven (see lyrics here)


Released: July 1989


First Charted: August 19, 1989


Peak: 35 US, 35 CB, 28 RR, 17 AR, 13 MR, 43 UK, 28 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales *: -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US + UK)


Radio Airplay *: --


Video Airplay *: 0.32


Streaming *: --


* in millions

Review:

Del Amitri were a Scottish band who got their start in the ‘80s. From then until their final release in 2002, they never featured the same lineup on any two records. WK Only singer/songwriter Justin Currie (the singer) and guitarist/songwriter Iain Harvie appeared on all their albums and keyboardist Andy Alston proved a stable member, having been with the band from 1989 on. While a changing lineup would certainly produce a different sound each time out, it was never more marked than it was from their 1985 self-titled debut to 1989’s Waking Hours. On the latter album, the band eschewed the post-punk sound of the first album for what was arguably “Del Amitri’s first ‘mature’ record.” WK

They also found their first taste of mainstream success. In the U.K., they recached #11 with “Nothing Ever Happens,” and then they hit the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 when “Kiss This Thing Goodbye” saw a re-release as a single. This time, they hit the top 40 and also took the song to the top 20 of the album rock and modern rock charts. In the U.S., they only hit the top 40 two more times – with 1992’s “Always the Last to Know” (#30) and 1995’s “Roll to Me” (#10), but they scored fifteen top-40 hits in the U.K.

Songfacts.com describes it as “one of the more resigned break-up songs, about a relationship that is not working and never will. The couple can barely even stand to share the same space, so there’s no point in prolonging the end of it.” SF The music, however, betrays the gloomy lyrical theme with its poppy, upbeat feel.

On a personal note, I repurposed the song in the early ‘90s. I played the song (then on a car tape deck) as a farewell to my first car – a used Mustang – when I bought a brand spankin’ new Grand Am.


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