165. B-52’s – ‘Rock Lobster’ (1978)

“We were at the beach
Everybody had matching towels
Somebody went under a dock
And there they saw a rock
It wasn’t a rock!
Was a rock lobster!”

Taken from the album The B-52’s

Also released on Best Of The B-52’s: Dance This Mess Around, Planet Claire, Time Capsule: Songs For A Future Generation and Nude On The Moon: The B-52’s Anthology

AUS #3, UK #12, US #56

This may be the ultimate party record – not club record, party. Have you ever listened to this song and not done a variation on the twist? I certainly haven’t. Even if you’re not doing it physically, somewhere deep inside, when ‘Rock Lobster’ is playing, there are five little members of the B-52’s twisting around in your heart.

‘Rock Lobster’ is basically nonsense, but never has nonsense sounded so good, and made so much sense within context. Reading the lyrics may be like reading a surreal novel, but with Fred Schneider’s manic, overly camp voice and that surf guitar, everything comes together and turns into a giant hot mess. The sixties guitar, the seventies kitsch value, the girl group backing vocals, the futuristic feel given by the dream-like lyrics – ‘Rock Lobster’ is both completely of it’s time and timeless.

Australia can be proud of being among the first countries to take the B-52’s to heart, with ‘Rock Lobster’ reaching number three here, and remaining the only major market in which the song reached the top ten. A little too weird for mainstream consumption upon release, it has since been accepted as a classic. The group may have reached commercial success a decade later with ‘Love Shack’ and ‘Roam’, but ‘Rock Lobster’ is truly their greatest achievement.

Music video:

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