57. The B-52's - Love Shack

It's the fourth wedding that you've gone to in the last six months. Your college roommate's brother; then your little sister (man that was a great one, but that's another story); a guy from work you don't even like, but everyone was going; and now it's a good friend from high school who finally found the right girl. The wedding was okay. Boring but quick, so you can't argue too much. Now you're at the reception and the music's started. Your college roommate is actually the DJ, just mixing songs on his computer. There have been cool songs that you never expected ("Just Like Heaven" by The Cure) and lots of standards. You've done your dancing for the night and sit down for your fourth beer and then it comes on. "If you see a painted sign at the side of the road that says fifteen miles to the love shack!" Your DJ buddy looks at you and smiles, knowing he's got you. Smiling back, you head back to the dance floor, even though this song's been played at all four wedding receptions. And you danced and sang along every single time.

The B-52's had been one of the disputed champs of the "Funnest Song of All Time" category with their hit "Rock Lobster" until they decided that they'd take the title outright with the release of "Love Shack." It's a song that starts out fun and stays that way for the entire song. They never take themselves too seriously, unless you're talking about having a good time. In that regard, they're as serious as a heart attack. The B-52's have never written songs to be popular, but you'd think they'd have known that they had a great pop hit in "Love Shack." Not true. It wasn't the first single from their new (at the time) album Cosmic Thing. It wasn't even the second. Third time is the charm, and thank god they did release it.

It starts with that great drum fill and then plenty of hand claps. In all the B-52's songs, they have three singers: Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson & Cindy Wilson. They all share lead singing responsibilities for all of the band's stuff. So Fred starts it off with that awesome "If you see a painted sign..." line. The other thing that I love that the band does is that they're not afraid to have both of the ladies sing the same melody, rather than always doing some kind of harmony thing. It adds a richness to the melodies that they do, and it really adds a lot to the one for "Love Shack." Guitarist Keith Strickland plays that great guitar throughout the whole song and the effects that they use for the guitar sound add to the party atmosphere of the song.

The lyrics are pure fun. Staying with the not-taking-themselves-too-seriously thing. Here are some great little tidbits of fun:

I got me a Chrysler, it seats about 20
So hurry up and bring your jukebox money


Huggin' and a kissin', dancin' and a lovin', wearin' next to nothing
Cause it's hot as an oven
The whole shack shimmies! The whole shack shimmies when everybody's
Movin' around and around and around!

Then they break it down and give a little shout out to the Isley Brothers and their contender for "Funnest Song Ever," "Shout." (Get it? A little "shout" out? Man, I crack myself up...)

Bang bang bang on the door baby! Knock a little louder baby! Bang bang bang on the door baby! I can't hear you
Bang bang bang on the door baby!

The coda ends with one of those lines that everyone thought they knew, but weren't really sure about. Cindy screams out, "Your're what?!!!!!... Tin roof, rusted!" Tin roof, rusted? It wasn't until the internet that I knew what the hell that was all about. The song is a tribute to an old shack that they used to work in out in the middle of nowhere. It did indeed have a tin roof, but that's not where the line came from. "Tin roof rusted" is Southern slang for a woman being with child. So the "You're what?!!!" is Fred's exclamation at finding out that she's pregnant. God I love the internet.

The B-52's have always been a fun party band and "Love Shack" was their coup-de-grace that put them over the top and earned them entry into the Party Band Hall of Fame (if it were to exist). So we may have all heard this song in the tens of thousands, but it refuses to get stale. There may be some times when you think you've had enough of it and you swear it off forever. "That's it! I can't take it anymore! No more Love Shack!" But then you go to your college roommate's wedding......

(Fun Fact #119: If you get a chance check out another great (and seriously funny) song from Fred Schneider's solo album Fred Schneider and the Shake Society. It's a song called "Summer in Hell" and it's about how hell can't be all that bad because all of your friends are going to be there anyway. The lyrics are genius and as always, it's a really fun song. I couldn't find it on Youtube, but if you search for it and find it, I promise you won't be disappointed.)

(Fun Fact #323: There actually is a "love shack," or at least there was. The inspiration for this song comes from a shack that Kate Pierson's family had in the Georgia woods. It didn't have a bathroom or running water, but they could play their music as loud as they wanted, and that made up for all of it. They actually wrote "Rock Lobster" there and it always had a special place in the band members hearts. Unfortunately, the love shack burned down in a fire in 2004.)

(Not really a fun fact, but I have to give a shout out to an old buddy of mine from high school, Ramon Nasol. I was always jealous of him because he could pull off a scarf when it just made me look stupid. Haven't really talked to him much since, but you gotta love that Facebook makes it so easy to reconnect with old high school friends. So in honor of Ramon and all my other high school friends, I'm peggin' my jeans to show off my awesome new Reeboks!)

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