Sometimes music can be deep, meaningful and powerful. And sometimes it doesn’t need to do anything more than to put a smile on your face.
I have particularly strong memories of tracks that were prominent in the charts between October 1989 and June 1990 – my first year at university. This period provided the songs that were playing on my iPod when two of our three children were born – Richard Marx’s Right Here Waiting and Sinead O’Connor’s Nothing Compares 2 U – not to mention Madonna’s Vogue and All Around the World by Lisa Stansfield, a schoolmate of one of my university friends.
Oh, and M C Hammer’s U Can’t Touch This. Anyone remember when balloon pants were a thing? No? Just me?
Anyhow, one of the big hits of the spring of 1990 was a song reputedly about a hut with a rusted tin roof that B-52’s band member Kate Pierson once lived in. It’s about as deep and meaningful as the contents of a fortune cookie, but who cares? Love Shack is fun.
The B-52’s had been around for more than a decade by this point and they were mostly known only for the cult hit Rock Lobster before Love Shack came along. It gave the band their only UK top ten single (peaking at number two) and their first US top 30 entry. However, mainstream success proved elusive, with only follow-up single Roam making any significant impact on either side of the Atlantic.
Their star may have shone only briefly but the song has withstood the test of time. More than a quarter of a century later, Love Shack remains a staple of 80s and summer playlists, and it still puts a smile on my face whenever I hear it.
Watch out in the video (at 2:05 and 2:27) for the then unknown drag queen RuPaul dancing away in the crowd. And some truly awful lip-syncing from singers Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson. Whatever – it’s still a great song.