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Cynthia "Cindy" Leigh Wilson (born February 28, 1957) is a singer, and is one of the lead vocalists, songwriter and a founding member of new wave rock band The B-52s.
The B-52's were formed when Wilson (who was born in Athens, Georgia), alongside her older brother and guitarist Ricky, organist and vocalist Kate Pierson, drummer and percussionist Keith Strickland, and vocalist Fred Schneider played an impromptu musical jam session after sharing a tropical Flaming Volcano drink at a local Chinese restaurant. They later played their first concert in 1977 at a Valentine's Day party for their friends.
Wilson and the others broke into the music world with their campy, '60s retro band. Their 1979 debut album The B-52's, yielded the hit singles "Rock Lobster" and "Planet Claire" and launched the band into stardom.
On April 21, 1985, Wilson married Keith Bennett, a successful advertiser who was a longtime friend of the band and Ricky's guitar tech on tour. Ricky died later that year, leaving her devastated.
Wilson took a sabbatical from the band in 1990 to concentrate on raising a family, during which time The B-52's recorded and released the album Good Stuff as a trio of Pierson, Schneider and Strickland. During the live tour to promote the Good Stuff album in 1992 and 1993, Julee Cruise sang as a replacement for Wilson. Wilson rejoined The B-52's in 1994. In 1998 she took part in recordings from which two new songs were selected to be included along with the band's hit singles on the album Time Capsule: Songs for a Future Generation. Wilson then took maternity leave in 1999 (being replaced on tour by Gail Ann Dorsey), later rejoining the band in 2001 for regular touring of their greatest hits.
The B-52's completed the album Funplex in 2007 and it was released in March 2008. Wilson co-wrote every song on the album with the three other band members. In all, she has co-written much of the band's back catalogue, including "Dance This Mess Around", "Private Idaho" and all of the Cosmic Thing album including hit singles "Love Shack" and "Roam".
Wilson's vocal efforts include the typical B-52's "call-and-response" vocals with Schneider and/or Pierson, as well as her harmonies with Pierson on the band's all-female songs such as "Roam", "52 Girls", "Cake", "Legal Tender", "Summer of Love" and "Juliet of the Spirits". One of the band's signature elements is the setup between the three vocalists. However, Wilson sings the greatest number of solo performances in the band, especially on their earlier albums. Examples of Cindy's solo vocal performances in The B-52's include "Hero Worship", "Loveland", "Nip It in the Bud", "Girl from Ipanema Goes to Greenland", "Ain't It a Shame", "She Brakes for Rainbows" and the live favorite "Give Me Back My Man".
Wilson is the band's bongosero, playing the bongos in regular live favorites "Planet Claire", "Mesopotamia", "Pump" and "Party Out of Bounds" as well as other songs such as "6060-842" and "Big Bird". Less remarked is her guitar work; she played acoustic guitar in The Cindy Wilson Band, and made electric guitar contributions (alongside her brother Ricky) in the songs "There's a Moon in the Sky (Called the Moon)" from The B-52's first album and playing the guitar solo for "Nip It In the Bud" during the band's 1982 Mesopotamia tour. She has stated that she was encouraged to play guitar by her brother, but experienced finger pain. Cindy briefly played a note or two on the keyboard during the band's Whammy tour version of Private Idaho, and at Rock In Rio 1985. She also played an electronic drumkit on a commercial for the WE tv network.
In an interview with The Age, Wilson stated her older brother Ricky didn't tell anyone except Keith Strickland about his illness.
Ricky didn't tell me what was going on. I can't tell you what was in his mind. I was shocked and a lot of things I had to deal with because Ricky didn't confide in me. It kind of threw me for a loop when all of a sudden I got a phone call from the hospital saying 'your brother's dying'. And then I never did get to say goodbye to him. So it really screwed me up.
Ramones, in the early 1980s on the song "Chop Suey", with Kate Pierson and Debbie Harry; the title is available as a bonus track on the Ramones' 2002 expanded edition CD re-release of Pleasant Dreams.
Wilson, Pierson and Keith Strickland were part of the group Melon and recorded two songs ("I Will Call You" and "Honeydew") for a Japanese TV show titled "Snakeman Show". The soundtrack LP from 1980 and CD from 1988 was only released in Japan.
Martini Ranch, actor Bill Paxton's short-lived band, on several songs ("New Deal", World Without Walls", "Hot Dog") off the 1988 album Holy Cow.
1988 was also the year BadBob released his album Now Is Reaction. On several tracks "Bobbie Bennett" was adding her background vocals. Cindy Wilson used that name on this record as a pseudonym.
With Dreams So Real on the song "Appalachee Shoals" which is only available on the fan club-only released CD Nocturnal Omissions, and on the track "Stand Tall" from their official 1990 album Gloryline.
Kristen Hall on her 1992 album Fact & Fiction has Wilson singing vocals on the track "Too Long Running".
The soundtrack for The Rugrats Movie, released in 1998, contains the track "The World Is Something New To Me" and features Pierson, Schneider and Wilson along with other artists.
The Family Fantastic, a side project by Yazoo (Yaz)/Erasure mastermind Vince Clarke; a short sample of Wilson saying "Uh, gosh, I'm ready to dance" on the track "Doin' This Thing" from the 2000 album ...Nice!.
With Kate Pierson on their common cover of the McFadden & Whitehead's song "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now", recorded for the soundtrack to the movie The Associate in 1996.
In 1998, Wilson was involved in recording a children's music album entitled Not Dogs ... Too Simple (A Tale of Two Kitties), which was adapted from a children's book by Mark and Clay Harper.
Wilson appears with Pierson on the Junior Senior song "Take My Time" (2005) on their album Hey Hey My My Yo Yo.
The Rugrats Movie (1998, voice only)
Athens, GA: Inside Out (1987)
One Trick Pony (1980)
The B-52s official site
Cindy Wilson at the Internet Movie Database