Thursday, February 12, 2015


The Go-Go's initial run of success may not have been too long, but wow did they make an impact and change the game. To this very day they are the ONLY all female group to write their own songs and play their own instruments to top the Billboard charts. I know what you're thinking: HELLO!! THE BANGLES!! But no. The Bangles did not write either of their #1 hits and none of their albums hit #1, so suck me. Anyhoo....The Go-Go's were formed in 1978 by singer Belinda Carlisle, guitarist and vocalist Jane Wiedlin, bassist Margot Olivarria and drummer Elissa Bello. Olivarria and Bello were not long for the band and were replaced by lead guitar and keyboard player Charlotte Caffey and Gina Schock on drums, and guitarist Kathy Valentine. The band started getting traction playing famous L.A. venues like Whiskey A Go Go andThe Masque. The band signed to I.R.S. records in 1981 and released their debut album, Beauty and the Beat. The album was a sudden surprise hit, topping the US charts for six weeks and going triple platinum by 1982. The girls were off and running as America's sweethearts. Their singles We Got the Beat (#2 US) and Our Lips Are Sealed (#20 US) shot up the charts as the album sat at #1. They were nominated for Best New Artist at the Grammys that year, losing to Sheena Easton. Their follow-up album, released just one year later, was Vacation. Though it sold less than it's predecessor, Vacation went gold and contained the top 10 title track. By the time their third album, Talk Show, was released in 1984 behind the scenes drama including in-fighting and drug abuse were beginning to tear the girls apart. Talk Show did manage to produce one of their most enduring hits with Head Over Heels (#11 US) and a minor hit Turn To You (#32 US) with a gender-bending video. Wiedlin was the first to leave the group in the fall of '84 citing her dissatisfaction with not being allowed to sing lead on their albums. She was replaced, but soon after Schock and Caffey left the group and it seemed that was it for The Go-Go's. The original line-up reunited in 1990 to play a benefit concert. They gelled again and played some more dates upon the release of their greatest hits set, recording a cover of Cool Jerk by The Capitols for the album. 1994 brought about a two-disc set Return To The Valley of The Go-Go's that included three new tracks, including The Whole World Lost Its Head (#21 US Modern Rock, #108 Bubbling Under charts) which became the band's first and only top 40 UK hit, making it to #29. The band toured again and then separated for a few years. 2001 saw the return of the group with its first new album of new material since 1984, 17 years earlier, God Bless The Go-Go's. The album was a critical success, hit #57 on the Billboard 200. The lead single, Unforgiven, co-written by Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong, hit #22 on the Adult Top 40 chart. The band continues to tour to this day, though Kathy Valentine left in 2013, suing the band for "breach of fiduciary duty and abuse of an attempt to deprive [her] of her position and interest in the group, including her right to receive her full one-fifth, 20% share of the benefits and revenues generated by the group substantial reputation, fame, and goodwill." Yikes. Of course, Belinda Carlisle has had a very successful solo career over the years and the other members have had varying degrees of success, but The Go-Go's will always hold their place in pop music history as pioneering ladies of pop. Here are some of my fave hits of The Go-Go's for you to enjoy. Love these women. Rock on!!

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