aka The Vinyl Villain incorporating Sexy Loser

#002 – THE B-52’s – ‚Planet Claire’ (Island Records, ’79)

Hello friends,

Let me start with another applause to JC for being so kind to feature my insufficient attempts on TVV. The truth of the matter is: I told him that I was afraid no-one would read them anyway if they were to appear on sexyloser. The audience here is much bigger, of course, which in theory should increase my chances. Well, so I thought.

But now I’m not so sure any longer. The thing is, my interest in music could easily be described as ‘old-fashioned’: people who know me and/or have read sexyloser in the past will be able to confirm this. And now we are talking about my favourite 111 singles … I mean it’s obvious that there will be a few choices which will only knock the socks off those who are very young indeed or have lived on a remote island somewhere in the Pacific since WW II!

In conclusion, there isn’t pretty much to say about today’s single, you will know it by heart. But I thought it had to be bought, because it’s one of those songs that never fail to put a smile on my face since I first heard it in the very early 80’s.

The band was founded in Athens, Georgia in 1976 and if memory serves, ‘Planet Claire’ was their third single. The beehive haircuts of the ladies (Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson) gave the band their name, because in the Southern US-states those haircuts were often compared to the front part of the Boeing B-52 bomber.

And if you, like I have always been, ever were confused why they sometimes are being referred to as ‘B-52’s’ and sometimes as ‘B-52s’: they lost their apostrophe in 2008, don’t ask me why.

Apostrophe or not, this is a neat record, and excellent for dancing in fact (not that I find myself on the dance floor all too often, basically this only happens when I’m crossing it on me way to the bar).

So here you are, an oldie but goodie if you like, some crackles here and there, but hey, the single is 43 years old!

mp3: The B-52’s – Planet Claire

All the best, enjoy,


PS: and no. It’s not, as I thought for several decades, “She drove a Plymouth Satellite / and masturbated at the speed of light” …

I’VE DANCED TO THIS IN EACH OF THE 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s and 10s.

This sounded really weird on first listen back in 1979. And 37 (!!!!!!!) years on I still think it has a fair degree of weirdness.

But when I say that, I am praising and not castigating the record for it’s one that has aged magnificently.

mp3 : The B-52’s – Planet Claire

Ok, I know that it chunders along in much the same way as The Theme From Peter Gunn, but back in 1979 I had no idea of the existence of that bit of music….

Planet Claire is one of those songs that I sort of dread coming up on random shuffle on the i-pod if I’m using public transport as its impossible to keep still while it plays. At the very minimum my head will move from side to side and my shoulders will start shaking, thus putting my fellow passengers in great fear that I’m about to suffer some sort of fit. And god forbid that it should ever come on when I’m half-drunk as I’m very likely to wail tunelessly in a dreadful impression of the organ sound…

Here’s the equally bizarre b-side:-

mp3 : The B-52’s – There’s A Moon In The Sky (Called The Moon)



Last call for readers to e-mail me lists of their Top 10 LPs for 2015 so that I can submit a collective entry for the BAMS 2015.  Click on this post for more background.



Formed in Athens, Georgia in 1976, and still going strong almost 40 years later, the B-52’s have rarely been taken all that seriously by music critics or indeed bloggers .  I’m prepared however, to put my head above the parapet and say that I’m quite fond of a lot of their earlier material. 

The B-52s were one of those bands that I first head about via the music papers but I never seemed to ever hear their songs getting played on the radio.  That all changed in 1979 with them inking a deal with Island Records for the UK distribution of their material and the re-release of the previous year’s 45 Rock Lobster.  At the time my  musical tastes were firmly ensconced in the sounds being made by UK new wave/post-punk bands but there was just something so infectiously catchy about Rock Lobster that you couldn’t help but enjoy it.

So before too long I spent some of the money earned from the paper-round on a copy of the eponymous debut LP and learned that I could like music that wasn’t angst-ridden, bitter or angry.  Music to dance to with a grin on your face as you sang along to totally nonsensical lyrics.  Just 12 months or so later, the band released follow-up LP Wild Planet which musically followed the formula of the debut.

After aborting plans for a full-length LP with David Byrne in the producer’s chair, it took until 1983 before Whammy! hit the shops. By this time, the musical snob in me had seen me move on from the band and I wasn’t the slightest bit interested…..until one night I found myself dancing in the student disco to what I later learned had been one of the singles lifted from LP………and all these years later I still love Song For A Future Generation.

The next LP, Bouncing Off The Satellites, was overshadowed by AIDS-related death of Ricky Wilson.  The band hardly promoted it and it more or less sunk without trace.  Three years later however, they made an unexpected comeback and even more unexpectedly, they found world-wide chart success thanks to the single Loveshack.

The B-52’s of that era and since are a pop act quite unrecognisable from the songs you’ll find on the first two LPs. I don’t own anything they’ve released since 1989 but as I said at the start of this post, I am fond of some of the earlier material:-

mp3 : The B52’s – Rock Lobster (single edit)

mp3 : The B52’s – Planet Claire

mp3 : The B52’s – Give Me Back My Man

mp3 : The B52’s –  Song For A Future Generation