The B-52's - Cosmic Thing

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The B-52's - Cosmic Thing
The B-52's - Cosmic Thing.jpg
Studio album by
 The B-52's
Released June 27, 1989
Recorded 1988–1989
Studio Dreamland Recording Studio, West Hurley, NY
Genre Pop rock
Length 47:03
Label Reprise
  • Nile Rodgers
  • Don Was
The B-52's chronology
Bouncing Off the Satellites
Cosmic Thing
Good Stuff
Singles from Cosmic Thing
  1. "Channel Z"
    Released: 1989
  2. "(Shake That) Cosmic Thing"
    Released: 1989
  3. "Love Shack"
    Released: 1989
  4. "Roam"
    Released: 1990
  5. "Deadbeat Club"
    Released: 1990
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars
Chicago Tribune 3/4 stars
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3/5 stars
Spin Alternative Record Guide 8/10
The Village Voice B


  "Cosmic Thing" is the fifth studio album by American new wave band the B-52's, released in 1989. It contains the singles "Love Shack" and "Roam". The success of the album served as a comeback after the death of guitarist Ricky Wilson in 1985.

Six of the album's songs were produced by Nile Rodgers in New York City, and the remaining four by Don Was in upstate New York. The band embarked on the Cosmic Tour to promote the album.

Background and recording

Following the death of guitarist Ricky Wilson in 1985 and the short promotional campaign for their 1986 album "Bouncing Off the Satellites", the group mutually agreed to part ways indefinitely. The group's popularity had declined in the late 1980s and so it was unknown, both to the public and amongst the group, whether the band would record another album in the foreseeable future.

However, this changed in 1988 when, prompted by drummer/guitarist Keith Strickland, the band began to group together and write new songs. Cindy Wilson described this as a healing process for herself and the band after her brother's death three years prior As the album began to take shape, it became clear that the new songs were of a more mature and less-kitsch variety than those of their previous albums, with themes such as anti-capitalism, environmentalism, and self-reflection and reminiscence being introduced into songs.

Much of the album was written in Woodstock and surrounding areas in upstate New York, a place where Strickland and Wilson had relocated to following the group's hiatus, and all four members felt the proximity to nature in these places that was not found in their previous home of New York City aided the creative process to a great extent.

Recording of the album was focused in two locations: Skyline Studios in New York City, and Dreamland recording Studios in West Hurley, upstate New York. The initial sessions in New York City were produced by Nile Rodgers, who aided the band in the crafting of their songs and of a new, more mature and untimely commercially appealing sound for the album. The rest of the sessions were helmed by producer Don Was in upstate New York, which allowed the band time to greater flesh out more songs amongst their new surroundings, including the future hit "Love Shack".


Promotion and Commercial Performance

"Channel Z" was selected as the album's first single and was released in March 1989. Whilst the single was not commercially successful in the mainstream at first, it generated substantial amounts of airplay on American college radio, helping re-establish the group's youth popularity. The single would eventually peak at number one on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, and reach number 61 on the UK singles chart.

Following the release of promotional single "Cosmic Thing", June 1989 saw the release of the band's largest global hit, "Love Shack". The track helped propel the success of the album globally, whilst reaching number 3 in the US and number 2 in UK, and spending 8 weeks at number one in Australia in 1990. Following this, the album reached the top 10 in the UK and US album charts, and number one in Australia and New Zealand.

Aided by further success of singles such as the transatlantic top 20 hit "Roam", or the US top 30 "Deadbeat Club", the album continued to sell strongly, particularly in the US, where it spent 22 weeks inside the Billboard 200 top 10 in 1990, becoming the country's 9th best-selling album of the year.

By 2000, "Cosmic Thing" had achieved platinum status in the UK, and 4x platinum status in the US, denoting sales of over 4 million copies there. As of 2019, the album has sold over 5 million copies worldwide.

In addition to the album's successful singles, the band embarked on the extensive "Cosmic Tour" to promote the album worldwide.


Track listing

All tracks are written by Kate Pierson, Fred Schneider, Keith Strickland, and Cindy Wilson, except "Roam", music by the B-52's, with lyrics by Robert Waldrop.

Side one
No. Title Vocals Length
1. "(Shack That) Cosmic Thing" Schneider, Pierson, Wilson 3:50
2. "Dry County" Schneider, Strickland, Pierson, Wilson 4:54
3. "Deadbeat Club" Wilson, Pierson, Schneider, Strickland 4:45
4. "Love Shack" Schneider, Pierson, Wilson 5:21
5. "Junebug" Schneider, Pierson, Wilson 5:04
Side Two
No. Title Vocals Length
6. "Roam" Pierson, Wilson 4:54
7. "Bushfire" Wilson, Pierson, Schneider 4:58
8. "Channel Z" Pierson, Wilson, Schneider 4:49
9. "Topaz" Pierson, Wilson, Schneider, Strickland 4:20
10. "Follow Your Bliss" Pierson, Sara Lee 4:08




  • Fred Schneider – vocals, percussion (tracks 5 & 7)
  • Cindy Wilson – vocals
  • Kate Pierson – vocals, keyboards (tracks 4-5 & 8)
  • Keith Strickland – guitars, keyboards, backing vocals

Additional musicians

  • Carl Beatty – horns (track 4)
  • Crispin Cioe – horns (track 4)
  • Leroy Clouden – drums (tracks 6 & 9-10)
  • Charley Drayton – drums (tracks 4-5 & 7-8)
  • Sonny Emory – drums (tracks 2-3)
  • Steve Ferrone – drums (track 1)
  • Bob Funk – horns (track 4)
  • Arno Hecht – horns (track 4)
  • Richard Hilton – keyboards (tracks 6 & 10)
  • Sara Lee – bass, backing vocals (track 10), keyboards (track 10)
  • Paul Litteral – horns (track 4)
  • Tommy Mandel – keyboards (track 1)
  • Nile Rodgers – guitars (track 9)
  • Philippe Saisse – keyboards (tracks 2-3)


  • Producers: Nile Rodgers (tracks 1–3, 6, 9–10), Don Was (tracks 4–5, 7–8)
  • Engineers: David Cook, Tom Durack
  • Second Engineers: Ed Brooks, Patrick Dillett, Keith Freedman
  • Assistant Engineer: Martin Kunitz
  • Mastering: Bob Ludwig
  • Mixing: Tom Durack, Nile Rodgers
  • Production Manager: Budd Tunick
  • Programming: Richard Hilton


  • Alpana Bawa – clothing/wardrobe


Chart (1990) Peak
Australian ARIA Albums Chart 1
Belgian Albums 152
Dutch Album Chart 70
New Zealand Albums 1
Swedish Albums 38
UK Albums Chart 8
US Billboard 200 4
West German Albums 25
Year-end chart (1990) Position
Australian ARIA Albums Chart 25
US Billboard 200 9


Certifications and Sales

Region Certification Certified Units/Sales
Australia 2x Platinum 140,000*
Canada Platinum 80,000*
New Zealand Platinum 15,000*
United Kingdom Platinum 300,000*
United States 4x Platinum






The B-52s - Cosmic Thing

German Reprise records WX 283 (925 854-1) stereo (1989).

The vinyl record has remained in excellent condition.

Audio quality is very clear and strong throughout.

Both record centre labels are clean, unmarked, and free from tears, stains or stickers.

The album cover is in excellent condition, displayed only minimal signs of wear.

The album cover has a strong, undamaged spine, displaying very clear, printed script.

The original promotional stickers is still adhered to the front cover, (see scan).

The original coloured, printed inner sleeve, is excellently presented.

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