It was on this day in 1946 that the bikini first went on sale after a debut at an outdoor fashion show in Paris. Going to the beach has never been the same since.
The bikini has a very interesting history. Its inventor was a French automobile engineer named Louis Réard who also ran a clothing store with his mother, and got involved with a rival who said that they would produce the world's smallest bathing suit.
Réard revolutionized the bathing industry with his two-piece design using only 30 square inches of fabric. No model would dare wear the revealing garment in public, so he was forced to use a nude dancer. He called it the bikini after the Bikini Atoll, where the nuclear weapons were tested in World War II, believing that the shock from it's introduction would be similar to the shock of the bombings in Japan.
He was sort of right. The bathing suit was a huge hit, and he received more than 50,000 fan letters for its invention. These days, bikini sales are an almost $1 billion a year industry, and more than a few musicians have paid tribute to the iconic and sexy garment. Today we salute the best of those.
The Cramps, "Bikini Girls With Machine Guns" Always open with The Cramps is you can. That's my motto. The story goes that "Bikini Girls" off of 1990's Stay Sick! was inspired by an ad in Soldier of Fortune magazine that had the phrase plastered across the top. Not that anyone should ever need to explain why they wanted to look at well-armed scantily-clad women.
Honeymoon Suite, "Wave Babies" Believe it or not, the most innocuous band in Canadian history is still out there making music after more than 40 years in the business. "Wave Babies" is not a deep song, just a light-hearted pop tune from their debut album. That said, the video is just hilarious. It's like "The '80s Go Hawaiian" or something, but it does feature more than a few lookers in their bikinis.
The Judy's, "Ghost in a Bikini" Let's take a look at something nice and local. Our own Judy's through out this timeless tune in 1985, and it's still a hell of a lot of fun to listen to. Did you know you can finally get Washarama on CD? Yes you can, and this is a great time to relive one of the most important bands in '80s Houston music.
The Stranglers, "Peaches" Back in 1977, The Stranglers were competing with the Sex Pistols for the most controversial band in all of England. "Peaches" was a sneering creep song expressing (loudly) every dirty thought that waltzed through Hugh Cornwell's head as he watched pretty girls on the beach. It almost got the band in trouble as it included a reference to a clitares, which is a type of bathing suit in France but which Cornwell purposely mispronounces to sound more like "clitoris."
Spies Like Us, "Martinis and Bikinis" Back when I was in high school, I thought ska was the greatest music of all time, and the band I absolutely worshipped was San Antonio's Spies Like Us. I wore out their self-titled album and still have a button hanging on my Frank-n-Furter jacket in the closet. I was real happy to hear that they had reunited, and always thought that this deep cut from said album was a surprising brilliant bit of dance excellence. Good to see you back, boys.
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