52 Girls

Album: The B-52's (1979)

Songfacts®:

  • "52 Girls" is the second track on the band's debut album. The lyrics are simply a list of women's first names with the question, "Can you name 'em today?" And while the words won't send anyone to the mountaintop, the song is a great example of the unique sound the B-52s created, with a surf-rock rhythm generated by guitarist Ricky Wilson, and harmony lead vocals between Cindy Wilson (Ricky's younger sister) and Kate Pierson.
  • Only 25 names are listed in the lyric; the 52 relates to the band name, with the "52 girls" being Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson. If you're looking for a song that really does mention the number of girls promised in the title, check out "88 Lines About 44 Women" by The Nails.
  • The B52s were five musically inclined friends from Athens, Georgia, a very artistic community. The group was very communal when they started, accepting contributions from many of their friends in the area. The lyric to "52 Girls" was written by one such friend: Jeremy Ayers, an artist who was a fixture in the Athens community. Ayers also helped out another burgeoning Athens band, R.E.M., contributing lyrics for their tracks "Windout" (1984) "Old Man Kensey" (1985).
  • Early on, this was a staple at B-52s concerts. Kate Pierson remembers playing it at the 1979 Valentine's Day party that was their first-ever show.

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