Meaning of Rock Lobster by The B-52’s & The Story

The debut single in the discography of the rock band The B-52’s was the track Rock Lobster. A strange song with mysterious lyrics played an important role in the story of the band. She topped the charts in Canada, hit the charts in other countries, entered several well-known ratings of the best musical compositions and became the hallmark of the group.

And the song returned to the creative activity of John Lennon (John Lennon). But more about that below, but first about how one of the most unusual tracks in rock music was born.

Rock Lobster song story

It was written by Fred Schneider and Ricky Wilson. Schneider said under what circumstances he had the idea to write a song:

I was at a disco where they showed pictures of lobsters and kids playing ball. Rock Lobster sounded like a good title for a song.

Rolling stone

In an interview with CHBM-FM, Fred recalled that the talk was about the 2001 disco in Atlanta, and images of children, puppies and grilled lobsters were shown in a slideshow format instead of light music. Then he thought: “Rock this, rock that, rock lobster.”

He shared the idea with other members of The B-52’s. They began to improvise, and in the course of the jam, the music and lyrics of the song “Rock Lobster” were born.

Fred recalled how they worked on the composition:

We improvised for hours using miles of film. Keith and Ricky pooled ideas, shared them with Keith, Cindy and me, and we put in our two cents. In the end, we composed this song with a duration of six minutes and forty-eight seconds.

We have always acted in our own way. No preconceived notions. Keith and I wrote the lyrics on the way to the studio, but then I changed the lines and something else, and at the end the girls added their sounds.

Boom 97.3, Toronto

Meaning of Rock Lobster song

It is hardly worth looking for a deep meaning in the absurd lines about a beach party, which brought together real and fictional representatives of the ocean fauna.

Given the context, the title of the song is tempting to translate as “rock lobster”. However, dictionaries suggest that we are talking about lobster (English rock lobster or spiny lobster).

The first two lines are based on the experience of Fred Schneider. Once at a party, he dropped an earring into a layered sauce.

Sounds allegedly made by fish and marine animals were performed by Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson. B-52 guitarist Keith Strickland says:

Cindy makes this screech inspired by Yoko Ono. John [Леннон] heard it in some club in the Bahamas, and then, as they say, called Yoko and said: “Get the guitar – they are ready for us again!”. Youko said that she and John listened to us in the last weeks before his death.


In the spring of 1980, Lennon really returned to creative activity, listening to Rock Lobster. Excerpt from John’s interview:

…she is [песня] sounds exactly like Ono’s music, and I said to myself: “Time to get the old ax and wake up my wife!”


Yoko Ono also recalled those events:

Listening to the B-52, John realized that my time had come. He could record an album, taking me as an equal partner, and we will not scandal, as happened before., 2013

Recall that in November 1980, John Lennon and Yoko Ono released a joint album Double Fantasy.

Release and achievements

The song was recorded at Mountain Studios, Atlanta in February 1978. In March, the composition was released as a single, the first in the history of the rock band The B-52’s. It topped the charts in Canada, peaked at number three in Australia, and also charted in the UK, US and New Zealand.

Rolling Stone magazine included Rock Lobster in its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Rock Lobster – The B-52’s video

The song was released before the MTV era, but a music video was shot for it, which helped to promote the track in European countries.

Watch the video Rock Lobster rock band The B-52’s.

YoInteresting Facts

  • This is the only rock hit that mentions the narwhal.
  • At The B-52’s New York concert in 2002, Yoko Ono joined the musicians. She helped them play Rock Lobster, performing the mysterious sounds that appeared in the song thanks to her creativity.
  • Group Panic! at the Disco sampled Rock Lobster on the track Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time.

Lyrics of Rock Lobster by The B-52’s

We were at a party
His earlobe fell in the deep
Someone reached in and grabbed it
It was a rock lobster
rock lobster
rock lobster

We were at the beach
Everybody had matching towels
Somebody went under a dock
And there they saw a rock
It wasn’t a rock
It was a rock lobster

Rock lobster x4

motion in the ocean
His air hose broke
Lots of trouble
Lots of bubbles
He was in a jam
S’in a giant clam
Rock rock
rock lobster

Down, down

Underneath the waves
Mermaids wavin’
Wavin’ to mermen
Wavin’ sea fans

Seahorses sailin’
Dolphins wailin’

Rock lobster x4

Red snappers snappin’
Clam shells clappin’
Mussels flexin’
Flippers flippin’

Rock, rock
rock lobster
Down, down

Lobster rock
Lobster rock

Let’s rock!

Boys in bikinis
girls in surfboards
Everybody’s rockin’
Everybody’s fruggin’

Twistin’ ’round the fire
Have fun
Bakin’ potatoes
Bakin’ in the sun

Put on your noseguard
Put on the lifeguard
Pass the tanning butter

Here comes a stingray
There goes a manta-ray
In walked a jelly fish
There goes a dog-fish
Chased by a cat-fish
In flew a sea robin
Watch out for that piranha
There goes a narwhal
Here comes a bikini whale!

Rock lobster x4

Rock Lobster Lyrics by The B-52’s Alternate

We were at a party
His earlobe fell into the depths
Someone got it and pulled it out
It was a lobster
spiny lobster

We were on the beach
Everyone had the same towels
Someone went under the pier
And there they saw a stone
It wasn’t a stone
It was a lobster

Lobster – 4 times

movement in the ocean,
His air hose is broken.
How many troubles
How many bubbles
He was in a state of flux
Caught in a giant shell
stone, stone,
spiny lobster
Down, down

Under the waves
Mermaids are waving
Waving water,
Waving coral fans

Seahorses swim by
Dolphins howl

Lobster – 4 times

Sea bass biting
Clams crack their shells,
mussels wriggling,
flipping fins

Rock, rock
spiny lobster
Down, down

rock lobster
rock lobster

Let’s play rock!

bikini boys,
girls on surfboards
Everybody’s on fire
Everyone is dancing

Writhing around the fire
having fun
fried potatoes,
Roasting in the sun

Cover your nose so you don’t get burned
Check if there is a lifeguard
Pass the sun cream

And here is the electric ramp,
A manta ray swims there,
The jellyfish has arrived
And there is a fish-dog,
Chased by a cuttlefish
Sea rooster sailed
beware of the piranha
Narwhal there,
And here is a whale in a bikini!

Lobster – 4 times

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