The B-52’s guitarist Keith Strickland reveals how a tragic death nearly ended the group

‘We thought the band was finished’: The B-52’s guitarist Keith Strickland reveals how a tragic death nearly ended the group… before they wrote their biggest hit Love Shack

Quirky new wave rock group The B-52’s are perhaps best known for their infectious hits Love Shack and Rock Lobster.

But 1989’s Love Shack almost never happened after the death of long-time band member, guitarist Ricky Wilson, of an AIDS-related illness in 1985.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph on Friday, guitarist Keith Strickland said the band had all but broken up after Ricky’s death, at age 32.

'We thought the band was finished': On Friday, The B-52's guitarist Keith Strickland (pictured) revealed how a tragic death nearly ended the group... before they wrote their biggest hit Love Shack, released in 1989

‘We thought the band was finished’: On Friday, The B-52’s guitarist Keith Strickland (pictured) revealed how a tragic death nearly ended the group… before they wrote their biggest hit Love Shack, released in 1989

‘After Ricky died, we thought the band was finished because we couldn’t imagine continuing without him,’ Keith, 65, said.   

Ricky was the brother of fellow band member Cindy Wilson, 62.

Tragically, Ricky had not told Cindy of his illness, and instead only confided in Keith so as to not worry his sister or others in the band.

'After Ricky died, we thought the band was finished because we couldn't imagine continuing without him,' Keith, 65, said. Pictured from left: Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson, Ricky Wilson, Keith Strickland and Cindy Wilson

‘After Ricky died, we thought the band was finished because we couldn’t imagine continuing without him,’ Keith, 65, said. Pictured from left: Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson, Ricky Wilson, Keith Strickland and Cindy Wilson

The group reconvened a few years after Ricky’s death and wrote their biggest hit, Love Shack, which was born out of a jam session

‘Love Shack was difficult to piece together, it was very long, it didn’t have a chorus,’ said Keith on Friday.

Despite its inauspicious beginnings, the song became a world-wide hit in 1989.

Playing again: The group reconvened a few years after Ricky's death and wrote their biggest hit, Love Shack, which was born out of a jam session

Playing again: The group reconvened a few years after Ricky’s death and wrote their biggest hit, Love Shack, which was born out of a jam session

The B-52’s were formed in Athens, Georgia, in 1976, and had hits with Rock Lobster, Planet Claire and Roam.

The band had many fans – not the least of which was former Beatle, John Lennon. 

In 1980, Lennon declared The B-52’s to be his favourite band, and cited Rock Lobster as the inspiration for his comeback album Double Fantasy.

'Love Shack was difficult to piece together, it was very long, it didn't have a chorus,' said Keith on Friday. Despite its inauspicious beginnings, the song became a world-wide hit in 1989

‘Love Shack was difficult to piece together, it was very long, it didn’t have a chorus,’ said Keith on Friday. Despite its inauspicious beginnings, the song became a world-wide hit in 1989

 

Via Source