Aretha Franklin

Prolific American singer and songwriter Aretha Louise Franklin was born March 25, 1942. Franklin began her career as a child singing gospel at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, where her father, C. L. Franklin, was minister. In 1960, at the age of 18, she embarked on a secular career, recording for Columbia Records but only achieving modest success.

Following her signing to Atlantic Records in 1967, Franklin achieved commercial acclaim and success with songs such as “Respect”, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”, “Spanish Harlem” and “Think”. By the end of the 1960s decade she had gained the title “The Queen of Soul”. Franklin eventually recorded a total of 112 charted singles on Billboard, including 77 Hot 100 entries, 17 top ten pop singles, 100 R&B entries and twenty number-one R&B singles, becoming the most charted female artist in the chart’s history. Franklin also recorded acclaimed albums such as I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, Lady Soul, Young, Gifted and Black and Amazing Grace. Unfortunately she began experiencing problems with her record company by the mid-1970s.

After her father was shot in 1979, Franklin left Atlantic and signed with Arista Records, finding success with her part in the film The Blues Brothers and with the albums Jump to It and Who’s Zoomin’ Who?. In 1998, Franklin won international acclaim for singing the opera aria “Nessun dorma”, at the Grammys of that year replacing Luciano Pavarotti. Later that same year, she scored her final Top 40 recording with “A Rose Is Still a Rose”. Franklin’s other popular and well known hits include “Rock Steady”, “Jump to It”, “Freeway of Love”, “Who’s Zoomin’ Who”, “Chain Of Fools”, “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” (with George Michael), and a remake of The Rolling Stones song “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”.

Over the years Franklin has won a total of 18 Grammy Awards and is one of the best-selling musical artists of all time, having sold over 75 million records worldwide. Franklin has been honored throughout her career including a 1987 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in which she became the first female performer to be inducted. She was inducted to the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. In August 2012, Franklin was inducted into the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Franklin is listed in at least two all-time lists on Rolling Stone magazine, including the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time; and the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.

Susan Sulley (Human League)

Susan Ann Sulley, British singer with electronic new wave band The Human League was born 22 March 1963. The Human League were formed in Sheffield in 1977. Before adopting the name the Human League, the band briefly had two previous incarnations.In early 1977, Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh, who had met at youth arts project Meatwhistle, were both working as computer operators. Their musical collaboration combined pop music (such as glam rock and Tamla Motown) with avant-garde electronic music. Ware and Marsh were Joined by their friend Adi Newton and another synthesizer (a Roland System-100), they formed The Future and a collection of demos from this period was released retrospectively on CD in 2002 titled The Golden Hour of the Future, mixed by Richard X.

Newton left The Future and went on to form Clock DVA. Ware and Marsh invite an old school friend, Philip Oakey, to join the band as vocalist. They changed their name to The Human League and released the album Dare in 1981Which included the singles “Don’t You Want Me”and “Being Boiled”. They received the Brit Award for Best British Breakthrough act in 1982. They were followed by other international hits including “I don’t depend on You” “Love Action”, “Open Your Heart”, “Mirror Man”, “Fascination”, “The Lebanon”, “Human” (a US No. 1) and “Tell Me When”.

The only constant band member since 1977 is vocalist and songwriter Philip Oakey. Originally an avant-garde all-male synthesizer-based group, The Human League evolved into a commercially successful synthpop band under Oakey’s leadership. Since 1987, the band has essentially been a trio of Oakey and long-serving female vocalists Joanne Catherall and Susan Ann Sulley (both of whom joined the ensemble in 1980), with various sidemen. Since 1978, The Human League have released nine studio albums, four EPs including The Dignity of Labour and Holiday 80, 30 singles and several compilation albums. They have had five albums and eight singles in the UK Top 10 and have sold more than 20 million records.

Chaka Khan

American musician, singer and songwriter Chaka Khan was born Yvette Marie Stevens on March 23, 1953 into an artistic, bohemian household in Chicago, Illinois. The eldest of five children born to Charles Stevens and Sandra Coleman, ] Her sister Yvonne later became a successful musician in her own right under the name Taka Boom. Her only brother, Mark, who formed the funk group Aurra, also became a successful musician. She has two other sisters, Zaheva Stevens and Tammy McCrary. Khan was raised as a Catholic. She attributed her love of music to her grandmother, who introduced her to jazz as a child. Khan became a fan of rhythm and blues music and formed a girl group, the Crystalettes, which included her sister Taka. In the late 1960s, Khan attended several civil rights rallies with her father’s second wife, Connie, a strong supporter of the movement, and joined the Black Panther Party after befriending fellow member, activist, and Chicago native Fred Hampton in 1967. In 1969, she left the Panthers and dropped out of high school, having attended Calumet High School and Kenwood High School (now Kenwood Academy).

She began to perform in small groups around the Chicago area, first performing with Cash McCall’s group Lyfe, which included her then-boyfriend Hassan Khan. She was asked to replace Baby Huey of Baby Huey & the Babysitters after Huey’s death in 1970. The group disbanded a year later. While performing in local bands in 1972, Khan was spotted by two members of a new group called Rufus and eventually replaced their singer Paulette McWilliams. They later signed with ABC Records in 1973. Prior to signing with the label, she married Khan, changing her stage name to Chaka Khan.

In 1973, Rufus released their eponymous debut album which contained a fiery rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Maybe Your Baby” and the ballad “Whoever’s Thrilling You (Is Killing Me)”. Then in In 1974 Stevie Wonder collaborated with the group on the song, “Tell Me Something Good”, which won the group their first Grammy Award. It was followed by, “You Got the Love” which helped their second album Rags to Rufus, go platinum. Between 1974 and 1979, Rufus released six platinum-selling albums including Rufusized, Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan, Ask Rufus, Street Player and Masterjam. Hits the group scored during this time included “Once You Get Started,” “Sweet Thing,” “Hollywood,” “At Midnight (My Love Will Lift You Up),” and “Do You Love What You Feel.” The band gained a reputation as a live performing act, with Khan becoming the star attraction, thanks to her powerful vocals and stage attire.

Sadly Relations between Khan and the group, became stormy. So she signed a solo contract with Warner Bros. Records in 1978 and Khan released her solo debut album, which featured the disco hit, “I’m Every Woman”. Khan also featured on Quincy Jones’s hit, “Stuff Like That”. In 1979, Khan reunited with Rufus to collaborate on Masterjam, featuring the song “Do You Love What You Feel”. In 1979 she dueted with Ry Cooder on his album Bop Till You Drop. In 1980, while Rufus released Party ‘Til You’re Broke, again without Khan, she released her second solo album, Naughty, featuring the disco hit “Clouds” and the R&B ballad “Papillon”. Khan had a cameo appearance as a church choir soloist in The Blues Brothers starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. Khan also released two albums Camouflage and What Cha’ Gonna Do for Me and appeared on three tracks on Rick Wakeman’s concept album 1984. In 1982, Khan released the jazz-oriented album Echoes of an Era and a more funk/pop-oriented self-titled album Chaka Khan. The jazz-inflected sing “Be Bop Medley”, also won Khan a Grammy. In 1983, Rufus released their final studio album, Seal in Red, after which Khan returned won a live album, Stompin’ at the Savoy – Live, featuring the song, “Ain’t Nobody”,

In 1984, Khan released her sixth studio album, I Feel for You. The title track, the first single released, was originally written and recorded by Prince in 1979 and had also been recorded by The Pointer Sisters and Rebbie Jackson. Khan’s version featured a harmonica solo by Stevie Wonder and an introductory rap by Grandmaster Melle Mel. This became a huge hit and netted Prince the 1985 Grammy Award for Best R&B Song. Other singles on I Feel For You included “This is My Night” and the ballad “Through the Fire”. Khan was featured in Steve Winwood’s 1986 number-one hit, “Higher Love” and was intended to duet with with Robert Palmer for the song “Addicted To Love”. In 1986 Chaka Khan released the album Destiny followed in 1988 by the album CK. In the late 1980s Khan released a remix album, Life Is a Dance: The Remix Project. In 1990, she collaborated with Ray Charles and Quincy Jones on a new jack swing cover of The Brothers Johnson’s “I’ll Be Good to You” which won her and Ray Charles a Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance By a Duo or Group. In 1992 Khan released the album The Woman I Am, featuring the R&B songs “Love You All My Lifetime” and “You Can Make the Story Right”. In 1995, she and rapper Guru had a hit with the duet “Watch What You Say” and she provided a contemporary R&B cover of the classic standard, “My Funny Valentine”, for the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack. In 1996, Khan released her greatest-hits album, Epiphany: The Best of Chaka Khan, Vol. 1. In 1998, Khan signed with Prince’s NPG Records label and issued Come 2 My House, followed by the single “Don’t Talk 2 Strangers”, a cover of a 1996 Prince song and went on a tour with Prince.

In 2004 she released the jazz covers album ClassiKhan and also covered “Little Wing” with Kenny Olson on the album Power of Soul: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix. In 2007 Khan released the album Funk This, featuring, “Angel”, and the Mary J. Blige duet, “Disrespectful” which won the singers a Grammy Award, while Funk This also won a Grammy for Best R&B Album. The album also contains covers of Dee Dee Warwick’s “Foolish Fool” and Prince’s “Sign o’ the Times”. In 2008, Khan participated in the Broadway adaptation of The Color Purple playing Ms. Sofia to Fantasia Barrino’s Celie. In 2004, Chaka Khan was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music. In 2009, Khan toured with singers Anastacia and Lulu for Here Come the Girls and was guest singer with the song “Alive” on jazz drummer Billy Cobham’s album Drum ‘ n voice 3. In 2010, she contributed to vocals for Beverley Knight’s “Soul Survivor”, collaborated with Clay Aiken on a song for Phineas and Ferb, and performed two songs with Japanese singer Ai on Ai’s latest album The Last Ai. In 2011, Khan was given the 2,440th Hollywood Walk of Fame star plaque on a section of Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles as was Stevie Wonder, who had written her breakout hit “Tell Me Something Good”. Khan and her former band Rufus were also jointly nominated for induction to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Recently, Khan rerecorded her song, “Super Life”, under the title “Super Life: Fear Kills, Love Heals” with Eric Benet, Kelly Price, and Luke James in tribute to Trayvon Martin, a teenager who was killed on February 26. A number of celebrities also joined in the recording including Loretta Devine, Terry Crews, Eva Pigford, and reporter Kevin Frazier. In 2012, Chaka Khan performed at a benefit for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). The IDF originally invited Stevie Wonder, however after a successful lobbying campaign by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, Wonder withdrew and was replaced by Khan who was able to raise $14 million for the IDF. In 2013, Khan was honored 40 years after signing her first recording contract with a ceremonial renaming of Blackstone Avenue between 50th and 51st street (where her former high school, Kenwood Academy, sits) as Chaka Khan Way. the city also declared 28 July as Chaka Khan Day. In 2014, Khan served as grand marshal at the 85th annual Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic in her hometown of Chicago. In 2015, Khan was paired with professional dancer Keo Motsepe for the TV sereis Dancing with the Stars. In 2018 she released a new single called “Like Sugar”, a collaboration with Major Lazer member Switch and a new album Hello Happiness in 2019. Khan served as Grand Marshal in the 2019 Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade on January 1, 2019 in Pasadena, California.

Damon Albarn

Damon Albarn, the lead singer of Blur and Gorillaz was born 23rd March 1968. Blur were formed in London in 1988 as Seymour, the group consists of singer/keyboardist Damon Albarn, guitarist/singer Graham Coxon, bassist Alex James and drummer Dave Rowntree. Blur’s debut album Leisure (1991) incorporated the sounds of Madchester and shoegazing. Following a stylistic change influenced by English guitar pop groups such as The Kinks, The Beatles and XTC, Blur released Modern Life Is Rubbish (1993),Parklife (1994) and The Great Escape (1995). As a result, the band helped to popularise the Britpop genre and achieved mass popularity in the UK, aided by a chart battle with rival band Oasis in 1995 dubbed “The Battle of Britpop”.

In recording their follow-up, Blur (1997), the band underwent another reinvention, showing influence from the lo-fi style of American indie rock groups. “Song 2″, one of the album’s singles, brought Blur mainstream success in the United States. Their next album, 13 (1999) saw the band members experimenting with electronic and gospel music, and featured more personal lyrics from Albarn. In May 2002, Coxon left Blur during the recording of their seventh album Think Tank (2003). This album contained electronic sounds and more minimal guitar work, and marked Albarn’s growing interest in hip hop and African music. After a 2003 tour without Coxon, Blur did no studio work or touring as a band, as members engaged in other projects.

After Blur temporarily split Damon Albarn went on to form Gorillaz with Jamie Hewlett in 1998, fronted by four animated members: 2D (lead vocals, keyboard, and melodica), Murdoc Niccals (bass guitar), Noodle (guitar, keyboard, and backing vocals) and Russel Hobbs (drums and percussion). THe music is a collaboration between various musicians, with Albarn being the only permanent musical contributor. Their style is an amalgamation of genres, with influences including rock, alternative, Britpop, trip hop, hip hop, electronica, indie, dub, reggae and pop.

The band’s 2001 debut album Gorillaz sold over seven million copies and earned them an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records as the Most Successful Virtual Band. It was nominated for the Mercury Prize in 2001, but the nomination was later withdrawn at the band’s request. Their second studio album, Demon Days, released in 2005, was equally successful Going five times platinum in the UK, double platinum in the United States, and earning five Grammy Award nominations for 2006, winning the Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals category.The band’s third studio album, Plastic Beach, was released in March 2010 and ths album, The Fall, was released in December 2010 as a free download for fan club members. The future of the Gorrillaz was once under speculation due to the status of Albarn and Hewlett’s friendship; however, Gorillaz planned to release new material in 2016. Blur reunited in 2008, with Coxon, for a series of concerts and have released a number of singles and retrospective releases since. In 2012, Blur received a Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music (And Adele Adkins got cut off in her prime). Blur also released the album Magic Whip and The Gorillaz released the album Humanz featuring the songs Marz Barz, Ascension and We’ve got the power.

Roger Hodgson (Supertramp)

Roger Hodgson the former lead singer of Supertramp was born 21st March 1950. Supertramp formed in 1969 under the name ”Daddy” before renaming themselves in early 1970. Though their music was initially categorised as progressive rock, they have since incorporated a combination of traditional Rock, pop and art rock into their music. The band’s work is marked by the inventive songwriting of Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson, the distinctive voice of Hodgson, and the prominent use of Wurlitzer electric piano and saxophone in their songs.

IT WAS THE BEST OF TIMES http://youtu.be/SpAT6ruDvbA

While the band’s early work was mainstream progressive rock they would enjoy greater critical and commercial success when they incorporated more conventional and radio-friendly elements into their work in the mid-1970s, going on to sell more than 60 million albums. They reached their peak of commercial success with 1979′s Breakfast in America, which has sold more than 20 million copies.Though their albums were generally far more successful than their singles, Supertramp did enjoy a number of major hits throughout the 1970s and 1980s, including “Bloody Well Right”, “Give a Little Bit”, “The Logical Song”, “Goodbye Stranger”, “Take the Long Way Home”, “Dreamer”, “Breakfast in America”, “It’s Raining Again”, and “Cannonball”. The band attained significant popularity in the United States, Canada, Europe, South Africa and Australia With classic albums like Breakfast in America and It Was the Best of Times. Since Hodgson’s departure in 1983, founder Rick Davies has led the band by himself.

Carl Palmer (Emerson, Lake and Palmer)

English Drummer and percussionist Carl Frederick Palmer was born 20 March 1950. He is credited as one of the most respected rock drummers to emerge from the 1960s and is a veteran of a number of famous English bands, including The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Atomic Rooster, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and Asia. Palmer began taking drum lessons as a young boy, travelling to Denman Street, Piccadilly. His first band, with others from the Midlands area, was originally known as the King Bees, but changed its name to the Craig. They made their first record, “I Must Be Mad”, produced by Larry Page, in 1966; the flip side was “Suspense”. Palmer also did session work, playing on the song “Love Light” by the Chants, a group from Liverpool. In 1966, he was invited to join Chris Farlowe and the Thunderbirds.

Carl Palmer was recruited as a replacement drummer for the Crazy World of Arthur Brown, after the original drummer Drachen Theaker abruptly left the band during a U.S. tour in 1969 becoming a permanent band member until he left with Vincent Crane, the keyboard player with the Crazy World of Arthur Brown, to form Atomic Rooster, with vocalist/bassist Nick Graham, and their first album was released in early 1970. Meanwhile, Palmer received a call from Keith Emerson to audition for a new group and left Atomic Rooster in the summer of 1970.

Palmer met up with two other young English musicians, Greg Lake, and Keith Emerson. Emerson had most recently been a member of the Nice, and Lake was in King Crimson, and both wanted to further expand their musical creativity. After auditioning several drummers, including Mitch Mitchell, they felt an “immediate chemistry” with Palmer, and by the summer of 1970 they had formed a band. In naming the new group, the trio chose their surname|last names alphabetically – Emerson, Lake & Palmer, also shortened to ELP. The band has been the most successful of his career, and he remained with ELP until they first disbanded in 1980. They developed a sound that merged art rock, jazz, electronica, pop rock and classical music and found fans within their peers and the public alike. During that time Palmer released only one single as a solo artist but went on to develop a solo career, alongside ELP and his other future bands.[citation needed] During the latter part of 1981, Palmer played drums on the Mike Oldfield album Five Miles Out, including the song “Mount Teide”. Other recordings that Palmer did with Oldfield, such as “Ready Mix,” remained unreleased until 2001. Emerson, Lake & Palmer subsequently reunited in the early 1990s and played the progressive rock circuit, especially in outdoor summer concerts. Following the deaths of Emerson in March 2016 and Lake in December 2016, Palmer is the only surviving member of Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

Following the first break-up of ELP in 1980, Palmer formed PM with Texas blues rock guitarist John Nitzinger for one album before joining John Wetton and Steve Howe in early 1981, who had been brought together to form a new super-group. They were later joined by Geoff Downes to form Asia. Palmer left Asia in 1991 to join the ELP reunion. After several personnel changes the four founder members of Asia including Palmer reunited in 2006. Palmer was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1989.

Palmer has performed a series of drum clinics across the UK, Europe and United States. Highlights of Palmer’s live drum solo over the years have included the use of both gongs and tambourines. Palmer is also a patron of the British ‘Classic Rock Society’, which promotes Progressive Rock concerts. In 2006 Palmer reunited with the original line-up of Asia to celebrate their 25th anniversary. They have since released four new studio albums, Phoenix, in 2008, Omega in 2010, XXX (30) in 2012, and Gravitas in 2014. A live album and DVD from the 2006 reunion tour, entitled Fantasia was released by Eagle Rock Records. In 2013, Palmer embarked on a world tour that included shows in South and North America, and Europe with him on drums and percussion, guitarist Paul Bielatowicz and bassist Simon Fitzpatrick. In 2014 Carl Palmer appeared on the second annual Moody Blues Cruise, on the cruise ship MSC Ship Divina Performing instrumental versions of many of ELP’s hits. He also embarked on “The 2014 Rhythm of Light Tour”, a 19-date North America tour billed as “Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy”, and in2016 Palmer embarked on “Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy Tour 2016”, a 25-date North American tour. As of 7 December 2016, following the death of Greg Lake, Palmer is the only surviving member of Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

Ricky Wilson (B-52’s)

Ricky Wilson, the former guitarist withThe B-52’s was born 19 March 1953. The B-52s were formed in Athens, Georgia in 1976. The original line-up consisted of Fred Schneider (vocals, percussion, keyboards), Kate Pierson (organ, bass, vocals), Cindy Wilson(vocals, bongos, tambourine, guitar), Ricky Wilson (guitars), and Keith Strickland (drums, guitars, synthesizers, various instruments) and cowbell player, poet and vocalist Fred Schneider played an impromptu musical jam session after sharing a tropical Flaming Volcano drink at a local Athens Chinese restaurant. Other ideas they had to name their band were the “Tina-Trons” and “Felini’s Children”. When they first jammed, Strickland played guitar and Wilson played congas. They later played their first concert (with Wilson playing guitar) in 1977 at a Valentine’s Day party for their friends.

The band’s name comes from a particular beehive hairdo resembling the nose cone of the aircraft of the same name. Keith Strickland suggested the name after a dream he had had one night, of a band performing in a hotel lounge. In the dream he heard someone whisper in his ear that the name of the band was “the B-52s.” The band’s quirky take on the new wave sound of their era was a combination of dance and surf music set apart from their contemporaries by the unusual guitar tunings used by Ricky Wilson and thrift-store chic. Their first single, “Rock Lobster”, recorded in 1978, was an underground success, which led to the B-52’s performing at CBGB and Max’s Kansas City in New York City. A rerecorded version of Rock Lobster was released as a single. In the UK and Germany it was backed with Running Around (Instrumental), which appeared on their second album Wild Planet. The buzz created by the record in the UK meant their first show in London at the Electric Ballroom, London, was packed in anticipation, with many UK pop stars such as Sandie Shaw, Green Gartside from Scritti Politti, Joe Jackson, and others in attendance. In Canada, released on the Warner Bros. label, the single went from cult hit to bona fide smash, eventually going on to reach the No. 1 position in the RPM-compiled national chart on May 24, 1980.

In 1979 The B-52’s signed contracts with Warner Bros. Records for North America, South America, Australia, and New Zealand; and with Island Records for the UK, Europe, and Asia. Chris Blackwell, founder of Island, produced their debut studio album. Recorded at Blackwell’s Compass Point Studios in The Bahamas, and released on July 6, 1979, The B-52’s contained re-recorded versions of “Rock Lobster” and “52 Girls”, six originals recorded solely for the album, and a remake of the Petula Clark single “Downtown”. According to the band interview on the DVD With the Wild Crowd! Live in Athens, GA, the band was surprised by Blackwell’s recording methods; he wanted to keep the sound as close as possible to their actual live sound so used almost no overdubs or additional effects. The album was a major success for the band, especially in Australia where it reached number three on the charts alongside its three singles “Planet Claire”, “Rock Lobster”, and “Dance This Mess Around”. In the United States, the single “Rock Lobster” reached the Billboard Hot 100 chart, while the album itself was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.

The follow-up, Wild Planet, reached number eighteen on the Billboard 200 chart in 1980 and was certified gold. “Private Idaho” became their second Hot 100 entry. On January 26, 1980, The B-52’s performed on Saturday Night Live. They also performed at the Heatwave festival (billed as the “New Wave Woodstock”) in Toronto, Canada in August 1980; and appeared in the Paul Simon film One Trick Pony. Their third release was a remix of tracks from their first two studio albums. Party Mix! took six tracks from the first two LPs and presented them in extended forms. John Lennon cited “Rock Lobster” as an inspiration for his comeback. In 1981 the band collaborated with musician David Byrne to produce a third full-length studio album. Due to alleged conflicts with Byrne over the album’s musical direction recording sessions for the album were aborted, prompting the band to release Mesopotamia (1982) as an extended play (EP), in 1991, Party Mix! and Mesopotamia, the latter of which had been remixed, were combined and released together on a single compact disc. In 1983 the band released their fourth album Whammy!; this album brought the band into synthesizer and drum machine experimentation. The album entered the Billboard 200 chart in 1983, reaching number twenty-nine during the year. “Legal Tender” reached the Billboard Hot 100 chart, as well as the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play Singles chart alongside “Whammy Kiss” and “Song for a Future Generation”. After initial pressings of Whammy! were released, copyright issues with Yoko Ono led to the song “Don’t Worry” being removed and replaced on future pressings by “Moon 83″, a remixed version of the track “There’s a Moon in the Sky (Called the Moon)” from their debut album.

After taking a one year absence from their musical careers in 1984 The B-52’s regrouped in 1985 to record Bouncing off the Satellites, their fifth studio record, and in January of that year they performed in Brazil, at Rock in Rio; their largest crowd ever. During the recording, guitarist Wilson had been suffering from AIDS/HIV-related health complications. None of the other band members were aware of his illness. In an interview, fellow band member Kate Pierson stated that Wilson had kept his illness secret from his fellow band members because he “did not want anyone to worry about him or fuss about him.” Tragically On October 12, 1985 Ricky Wilson died from the illness, at the age of 32. With Cindy Wilson devastated by her brother’s death, and her bandmates too being depressed about Ricky’s passing, the band went into seclusion and did not tour to promote their album nor the group, prompting a hiatus from their musical careers. In 1987 they released a public service announcement in the style of The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover on behalf of AMFAR (The Foundation for AIDS Research).

Following Ricky Wilson’s death in 1985 Strickland switched full-time to guitar. The band subsequently added various musicians for their live shows. This included Sara Lee or Tracy Wormworth on (bass), Zachary Alford or Sterling Campbell on (drums, percussion) and Pat Irwin or Paul Gordon (keyboards & guitars). The B-52’s are Rooted in new wave and 1960s rock and roll and include many genres of music ranging from post-punk to pop rock. The “guy vs. gals” vocals of Schneider, Pierson, and Wilson, sometimes used in call and response style (“Strobe Light,” “Private Idaho”, and “Good Stuff”), are a trademark. Presenting themselves as a positive, fun, enthusiastic, slightly oddball and goofy party band, the B-52’s tell tall tales, glorify wild youth and celebrate sexy romance.