The B-52s (styled as The B-52’s prior to 2008) is an American new wave band formed in Athens, Georgia, in 1976. The original line-up consisted of Fred Schneider (vocals, percussion), Kate Pierson (vocals, keyboards, synth bass), Cindy Wilson (vocals, percussion), Ricky Wilson (guitar), and Keith Strickland (drums, guitar, keyboards). Ricky Wilson died from AIDS-related illness in 1985, and Strickland switched from drums to lead guitar. The band also added various members for albums and live performances.
The group evoked a “thrift shop aesthetic”, in the words of Bernard Gendron, by drawing from 1950s and 1960s pop sources, trash culture, and rock and roll. Schneider, Pierson, and Wilson sometimes use call-and-response-style vocals (Schneider’s often humorous sprechgesang contrasting with the melodic harmonies of Pierson and Wilson), and their guitar- and keyboard-driven instrumentation comprises their trademark sound, which was also set apart from their contemporaries by the unusual guitar tunings used by Ricky Wilson on their earlier albums.