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Ricky Wilson


Ricky Wilson died 10 days before Rock Hudson but didn't get the same coverage.  Ricky was the first public person whose death truly affected me.

Ricky Helton Wilson (March 19, 1953 October 12, 1985) was in the original B-52's, which he helped form in 1976 with his sister Cindy, Kate Pierson, Keith Strickland, and Fred Schneider.   The group members became friends in Athens, Georgia, and the band was begun as a joke for entertaining themselves and other friends.   Soon they were playing at CBGB, uber-hip NY club, and on the road to success.

Their debut album, The B-52's, contained "Rock Lobster" and "52 Girls", along with six more originals and a remake of Petula Clark's classic "Downtown". It eventually went platinum.  They released several more alums but Ricky's last was Bouncing Off the Satellites in 1985.  I still feel a bit sad whenever I hear "Summer of Love," one of the songs on the album. 

Ricky died at age 32 of what was originally reported as cancer but was later revealed to be AIDS-related illness.  The band went into immediate seclusion and one of the only acts they performed was recording a TV PSA to publicize HIV/AIDS.  After a 3 year hiatus they resumed touring and recording.  The album "Cosmic Thing" was released in 1989 and brought the band commercial success with songs like "Love Shack" and "Roam." 

I met the B-52's at a post-concert party in late 1984 but Ricky wasn't there.  By then he was noticeably ill and making it through a concert was hard enough on him.  Cindy was a Southern charmer but clearly sad and trying to put on a happy public face.   

Ricky is sitting on the floor.

I just bought the new B-52's CD Funplex and it's a rollicking good time. 


hey drac,

 what a nice storey !

I know  rickey is in rock lobster heaven , he brought JOY to millions of us DISCO era boys and goyls !

                                                             I'll have to look for the album .

                                                                           karl , no Disco's in Silva


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