Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Rock Lobster

Written and first recorded by The B-52’s (1978).
Hit version by The B-52’s (US #56/CAN #1/UK #7 1980 |UK #12/AUS #3 1986).

From the wiki: “‘Rock Lobster’ was written by Fred Schneider and Ricky Wilson, two members of The B-52’s. It was produced in two versions, one by DB Records released in 1978 (and backed with ’52 Girls’), and a re-recording which was part of the band’s 1979 self-titled debut album, released by Warner Bros.

“The song became one of the B-52’s signature tunes and it helped launch the band’s success. The DB Records single version lasts 4’37” and is rawer and faster than the 1979 Warner single version. (The 1979 single version itself is an edit from the album version released in 1979, which lasts about seven minutes and contains an extra verse.) It has, however, almost the same lyrics of the second version, just including some extra lines in the listing of marine animals.”

“According to a Behind the Vinyl interview video with Fred Schneider for CHBM-FM, the song was mostly inspired by a discotheque in Atlanta called ‘2001’, where instead of having a light show, the club featured a slide show with pictures of puppies, babies and lobsters on a grill.

“The song was the band’s first single to appear on the Billboard Hot 100, where it reached #56. In Canada, the single became a huge hit, eventually going on to reach #1 in the RPM-compiled national chart in May 1980. Although ‘Rock Lobster’ only reached #37 on the UK Singles chart in August 1979, it fared better there when reissued in 1986, reaching #12 as a double A-side with ‘Planet Claire’. In Australia, the single heralded the band’s breakthrough and was their first big hit to chart there, peaking at #3 in 1980.”

The B-52’s, “Rock Lobster” single version (1980):

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