|Produced by Steven Stanley|
|Released on April 1983|
|US CHART POSITION #29 . . . UK CHART POSITION #33 . . . GOLD RECORD|
|Find it at GEMM|
[high resolution scan]
S teven Stanley (Tom Tom Club) replaces David Byrne behind the boards, and The B-52s replace their strangeness with sweetness. Of course, they’re still plenty strange (“Don’t Worry,” “Trism”), but the atonal and grating guitars are mostly gone, the whammy bar has parked in their space and isn’t moving. Whammy! signals the beginning of the cuddly B-52s, the harmless space cadets whose songs about vegetables and teleportation wouldn’t scare anyone. The first two Tom Tom Club albums were more musical, but Stanley does a good job of filling in the spaces with the economy of music at his disposal: synthesizers and rudimentary (sometimes deliciously so) guitar lines. To my ears, this album has always sounded like Devo (Diva-o?), nowhere more than “Whammy Kiss.” While critics have been cool on Whammy!, I’ve got a soft spot for it. “Legal Tender” and “Trism” would make my best of the B-52’s, and nothing on here is an actual bomb. However, co-crediting “Don’t Worry” to Yoko Ono (without her permission) did backfire on the band, and the enigmatic Mrs. L (or her legal agents) blocked the band from using the song when Whammy! was reissued on compact disc. (It was replaced by “Moon 83,” which had earlier been the B side for “Legal Tender.”) With or without “Don’t Worry,” Whammy! isn’t an essential purchase. Whammy’s whimsy is its charm, not any particular song, so don’t expect a “Private Idaho” or “Dance This Mess Around.” Expect light, sweet, salty, silly fare, close to Tom Tom Club’s second album but without the bones.
|23819-1 back cover|
KATE PIERSON --
FRED SCHNEIDER --
KEITH STRICKLAND --
CINDY WILSON --
RICKY WILSON --
Steven Stanley -- engineer
return to THE B-52's discography
|REGION||RELEASE DATE||LABEL||MEDIA||ID NUMBER||FEATURES|
|US||April 1983||Warner Bros.||LP/CS||23819||inner sleeve|
|UK||1983||Island||LP/CS||ILPS/ICT 9759||inner sleeve|
|ARG||1983||Warner Bros.||LP||83509||lyric sleeve|
|CAN||1983||Warner Bros.||LP||92 38191|
|FRA||1983||Island||LP/CS||812 554||inner sleeve|
|YUG||Jugoton||LP||LSI 11044||inner sleeve|
|US||1989||Warner Bros.||CD||23819||repl. track #7|
|UK||Island||CD||842 445||repl. track #7|
The Last Word
“I enjoy the B-52s, because I heard them doing Yoko. It's great. If Yoko ever goes back to her old sound, they'll be saying, ‘Yeah, she's copying the B-52s.’” – John Lennon, Sept. 1980 interview with David Sheff.
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