After their 1979 self-titled album and 1980 follow-up Wild Planet, the B-52’s unleashed 1983’s Whammy!, an album of similarly zany new wave and post-punk chaos. Whammy! was released on this day (April 27) in 1983, and to celebrate its release, we’re sharing a live version of one of its strangest tracks, “Big Bird.”
The Athens art-pop group gave fans a sneak preview of this song on their 1982 tour, a full year before the studio version was released. Not only that, but the live version is even more maniacal than the official recording, so this New York City crowd got the bizarro rhythmic track of their dreams. The show featured the band’s original five-piece lineup—Fred Schneider, Cindy Wilson, Ricky Wilson, Kate Pierson and Keith Strickland—plus horns from David Buck and Roberto Arron. Schneider even joins in on various toy instruments.
Listen to “Big Bird” live in 1982 via the Paste vault below.