Late in the year 1981, after the success of the B-52s first two studio albums, the group's manager, Gary Kurfirst, wanted the band to expand their retro-go-go, spacey surf-rock sound with new material. “I really do feel trapped,” guitarist and fellow songwriter Ricky Wilson told Rolling Stone near the end of 1980. “Gary was talking about our next album, and I mentioned that it might not be a dance record, and he was so shocked by that idea. It’s shocking to me that people really do expect that of us now.”
Kurfirst was also the manager of the Talking Heads, among other acts like the Ramones and Blondie; but it was the Talking Heads who were the first band to befriend the B-52s once they left Georgia for even bigger things in New York. “Actually, we wanted to write more songs,” fellow lead singer, and songwriter Kate Pierson recalled to the A.V. Club. “We weren’t really ready to put out this album, and Gary had suggested working with David Byrne, but we hadn’t written all the songs out. He said, ‘You gotta put another record out!’ He was one of those managers who was, ‘Ya gotta do this! Ya gotta do that!’ So he kind of forced us.”
Since there was not enough material for a third album, Mesopotamia was released as an EP on Jan. 27, 1982, followed by the B-52’s “Meso-American” tour to promote the record. Of course ancient Egyptian imagery and symbolism is nothing new to popular music; but the EPs self-titled song, Mesopotamia, is not just about the past but also seems to be about a time travel fantasy. The song lyrics start out:
"Turn your watch, turn your watch back
About a hundred thousand years
A hundred thousand years
I'll meet you by the third pyramid
I'll meet you by the third pyramid
Ah come on, that's what I want
We'll meet in Mesopotamia, oh-oh-oh"
What is interesting about the following verse is that the would-be time travelers, realize that they may not be prepared to go back in time. So they consider:
"Now I ain't no student (we're goin' down to meet, feel those vibrations)
Of ancient culture (I know a neat excavation)
Before I talk
I should read a book
(Mesopotamia, that's where I wanna go)
But there's one thing that
I do know (Mesopotamia, that's where I wanna go)
There's a lot of ruins in Mesopotamia"
Of course the time travel imagery is reinforced with the backup singing, "Mesopotamia, that's where I wanna go." If the B-52s really are significant to the John Titor time travel case, like the 2009 177 tempus redax rerum letter states, it seems reasonable that if some or all of the band members met a John Titor when he traveled to 1975, they may have had time travel wishes for John to try and fulfill. Of course John Titor claimed that his gravity distortion machine was only good for about 60 years; so in reality, if there is any truth to the future band members of the B-52s meeting a time traveler, John could not take them back that far no matter how much they dreamed. But it seems John did instill in them, if there is truth of course to the case and the connection, the need to prepare themselves before taking a trip. Certainly this can all be a coincidence, but time travel again with this band? Since the band admits putting "hidden messages" in most of their songs, could there be any truth to these clues?
Probably the most interesting aspect to me about the song, Mesopotamia, is the musical intro that lasts for the first 15 seconds or so. After the beginning, this sample is not heard in any other part of the song as far as I can tell. So it seems like this is an intro to the rest of the song. Since there is also an Art Bell connection to the John Titor case and time travel in particular, with the two faxes allegedly sent to the show in 1998 and Art's big interest in time travel subjects, guests and callers, this intro to Mesopotamia sounds strangely similar to the 1978 "Chase" instrumental by Giorgio Moroder, which of course is the music used for the opening theme to the Coast to Coast radio show started by Art and continued today. Could it be that if the band met a John Titor back in the mid 70s, he told them about the importance of Coast to Coast, and the band used the intro as sort of a homage to Art Bell and his support of time travel?
Over the next few weeks I will be exploring the significance of the musical group the B-52s to the John Titor case. Please check my onsteller channel for more articles about this strange connection. And as always, decide for yourself....