Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact
Album: The B-52'sReleased: 1979Charted:
Many B-52's songs have fun, whimsical lyrics, and this is one of them. It's about a beach party where someone encounters a rock lobster (which is also known as a crayfish, but that wouldn't sound as good).
John Lennon heard this song playing in a Bermuda disco in 1979. It reminded him of Yoko Ono's music so much that it inspired him to return to the recording studio after a 5 year retirement. The B52s' guitarist Keith Strickland recalled to Q
magazine that at the end of the song, "Cindy does this scream that was inspired by Yoko Ono. John heard it in some club in the Bahamas, and the story goes that he calls up Yoko and says, Get the axe out – they're ready for us again! Yoko has said that she and John were listening to us in the weeks before he died." (This interview is available at Rock's Backpages
Yoko confirmed the story in her 2013 Songfacts interview
. She recalled: "Listening to the B-52's, John said he realized that my time had come. So he could record an album by making me an equal partner and we won't get flack like we used to up to then."
This reached #1 on the Canadian charts in 1980, following Blondie's "Call Me
" and preceding The Pretenders' "Brass In Pocket
." It held the pole position for one week.
There is no bass guitar in this song but a baritone guitar instead.
The B-52's Fred Schneider stopped eating crustaceans at the age of four after going crabbing with family in New Jersey and watching them being boiled alive. He explained in a video he narrated for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals that he got the idea for this song when a projector displayed images including lobsters on a grill at an Atlanta disco. He said he thought, "Rock this, rock that... rock lobster!" The band jammed on the title and "Rock Lobster" was created.