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.

Cosmic Thing
The B-52's - Cosmic Thing.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJune 27, 1989
StudioDreamland Recording Studio, West Hurley, NY
GenrePop rock
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
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
Chicago Tribune3/4 stars[2]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[3]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3/5 stars[4]
Spin Alternative Record Guide8/10[5]
The Village VoiceB[6]

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 recordingEdit

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.[7] 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.[8]

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".[9]

Promotion and Commercial PerformanceEdit

"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[10], becoming the country's 9th best-selling album of the year.

By 2000, "Cosmic Thing" had achieved platinum status in the UK[11], and 4x platinum status in the US[12], 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 listingEdit

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
1."(Shake That) Cosmic Thing"Schneider, Pierson, Wilson3:50
2."Dry County"Schneider, Strickland, Pierson, Wilson4:54
3."Deadbeat Club"Wilson, Pierson, Schneider, Strickland4:45
4."Love Shack"Schneider, Pierson, Wilson5:21
5."Junebug"Schneider, Pierson, Wilson5:04
Side Two
6."Roam"Pierson, Wilson4:54
7."Bushfire"Wilson, Pierson, Schneider4:58
8."Channel Z"Pierson, Wilson, Schneider4:49
9."Topaz"Pierson, Wilson, Schneider, Strickland4:20
10."Follow Your Bliss"Pierson, Sara Lee4:08
30th Anniversary Expanded Edition Bonus Tracks
11."B-52's Megamix"6:36
12."Love Shack [Edit]"4:23
13."Channel Z [Rock Mix]"6:22
14."Roam [Extended Mix]"5:28
15."Roam [12" Mix]"8:17
30th Anniversary Expanded Edition Disc 2: Live 1990
1."(Shake That) Cosmic Thing (Live)"4:05
2."Bushfire (Live)"5:12
3."Quiche Lorraine (Live)"4:09
4."Dance This Mess Around (Live)"5:37
5."Dry County (Live)"4:54
6."Private Idaho (Live)"3:42
7."Give Me Back My Man (Live)"4:17
8."Deadbeat Club (Live)"5:15
9."Mesopotamia (Live)"5:35
10."Strobe Light (Live)"4:00
11."Roam (Live)"6:17
12."52 Girls (Live)"3:33
13."Love Shack (Live)"7:34
14."Rock Lobster (Live)"4:59
15."Whammy Kiss (Live)"4:06
16."Channel Z (Live)"6:24
  • Track 11, Disc One of the 30th Anniversary Expanded Edition was originally found on the B-side of the "Deadbeat Club" 12" single
  • Track 12, Disc One of the 30th Anniversary Expanded Edition was originally found on the A-side of the "Love Shack" 7" single
  • Track 13, Disc One of the 30th Anniversary Expanded Edition was originally found on the B-side of the "Channel Z" 12" single
  • Tracks 14 and 15 on Disc One of the 30th Anniversary Expanded Edition was originally found on the "Roam" 12" single
  • All tracks on Disc Two of the 30th Anniversary Expanded Edition were recorded live on 4th August 1990 at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in Houston, Texas except track 15, recorded live at the Starplex Amphitheatre in Dallas, Texas, on 3rd August 1990[13]



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[14] 1
Belgian Albums[15] 152
Dutch Album Chart[16] 70
New Zealand Albums[17] 1
Swedish Albums[18] 38
UK Albums Chart[19] 8
US Billboard 200[20] 4
West German Albums[21] 25
Year-end chart (1990) Position
Australian ARIA Albums Chart[22] 25
US Billboard 200[23] 9

Certifications and SalesEdit

Region Certification Certified Units/Sales
Australia 2x Platinum[24] 140,000*
Canada Platinum[25] 80,000*
New Zealand Platinum[26] 15,000*
United Kingdom Platinum[27] 300,000*
United States 4x Platinum




  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Cosmic Thing – The B-52's". AllMusic. Retrieved August 23, 2016.
  2. ^ Heim, Chris (August 3, 1989). "The B-52's: Cosmic Thing (Reprise)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 23, 2016.
  3. ^ Farber, Jim (July 13, 1989). "The B-52's: Cosmic Thing". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on November 14, 2007. Retrieved August 23, 2016.
  4. ^ Considine, J. D. (2004). "The B-52's". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 67–68. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. Retrieved November 2, 2011.
  5. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. New York City: Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  6. ^ Christgau, Robert (October 3, 1989). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved August 23, 2016.
  7. ^ "The B-52's 'Cosmic Thing' at 30: How the Band Overcame Loss and Found Catharsis at the 'Love Shack'". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  8. ^ "The B-52's 'Cosmic Thing' at 30: How the Band Overcame Loss and Found Catharsis at the 'Love Shack'". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  9. ^ "The B-52's 'Cosmic Thing' at 30: How the Band Overcame Loss and Found Catharsis at the 'Love Shack'". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  10. ^ "Chart History".
  11. ^ "BRIT Certified".
  12. ^ "Gold & Platinum". RIAA. Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  13. ^ "The B 52 Tours". Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  14. ^ "THE B-52'S - COSMIC THING (ALBUM)". Retrieved 2016-02-19.
  15. ^ "Belgian Charts History".
  16. ^ "Dutch Albums".
  17. ^ "NZ Charts".
  18. ^ "Swedish Albums Chart History".
  19. ^ "cosmic+thing - full Official Chart History - Official Charts Company". Retrieved 2016-02-19.
  20. ^ "The B-52s - Chart history - Billboard". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-02-19.
  21. ^ "West German Albums".
  22. ^ "ARIA Chart History".
  23. ^ "The B-52s - Chart history - Billboard". Billboard. Archived from the original on April 1, 2013. Retrieved 2016-03-24.
  24. ^ Gavin, Ryan (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Moonlight Publishing.
  25. ^ "Gold/Platinum". Music Canada. Archived from the original on 2014-07-26. Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  26. ^ "The Official New Zealand Music Chart". THE OFFICIAL NZ MUSIC CHART. Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  27. ^ "BRIT".
  28. ^ "Gold & Platinum". RIAA. Retrieved 2019-07-05.