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The Go-Go's

The Go-Go's were the most popular all-female band to emerge from the punk/new wave explosion of the late '70s and early '80s, becoming one of the first commercially successful female groups that wasn't controlled by male producers or managers. While their hit singles -- "We Got the Beat," "Our Lips Are Sealed," "Vacation," "Head Over Heels" -- were bright, energetic new wave pop, the group was an integral part of the Californian punk scene. And they did play punk rock, even if many of their rougher edges were ironed out by the time they recorded their first album, 1981's Beauty and the Beat. Even as they became America's darlings, the Go-Go's lived the wild life of rockers, swallowing as many pills and taking as much cocaine as possible, trashing hotel rooms, and just generally being bad. More importantly, their earliest music -- now collected on Return to the Valley of the Go-Go's -- was raw and rocking; it may not have directly inspired the female alternative rockers and riot grrrls of the '90s, but it certainly foreshadowed it.

Originally formed in 1978 as the Misfits, the group featured Belinda Carlisle (vocals), Jane Wiedlin (guitar, vocals), Charlotte Caffey (lead guitar, keyboards), Margot Olaverra (bass), and Elissa Bello (drums). The band soon changed its name to the Go-Go's and began playing local parties and small clubs in California. In 1979, Gina Schock became the group's drummer. During that year, the band recorded a demo and supported the British ska revival group Madness in both Los Angeles and England. The Go-Go's spent half of 1980 touring England, earning a sizable following and releasing "We Got the Beat" on Stiff Records. An import copy of "We Got the Beat" became an underground club hit in the U.S., which meant the band was popular enough to sell out concerts, yet they had a difficult time landing a record contract.

At the end of 1980, bassist Olaverra became ill and had to stop performing; she was replaced by Kathy Valentine, a guitarist who had never played bass before. Early in 1981, the Go-Go's signed with IRS Records. Released in the summer of 1981, their debut album, Beauty and the Beat, became one of the surprise hits of the year, staying at number one for six weeks and selling over two million copies; "Our Lips Are Sealed" hit number 20 and a re-recorded version of "We Got the Beat" spent three weeks at number two.

The following year, the group released Vacation. Although it sold well -- the album made the Top Ten and it went gold, spawning the Top Ten hit single "Vacation" -- it failed to keep the momentum of the first record. During the next year the band was unable to perform as Caffey recovered from a broken wrist. In 1984, the Go-Go's returned with Talk Show, their most musically ambitious album. While it had two Top 40 hits -- the number 11 "Head Over Heels" and "Turn to You" -- it failed to even go gold. By the end of the year, Wiedlin had left the band, and the Go-Go's broke up in May of 1985.

Belinda Carlisle became the most successful solo artist to emerge from the group, scoring a string of mainstream pop singles in the late '80s, including the number one single "Heaven Is a Place on Earth." For a while, Charlotte Caffey was in Carlisle's backing group; she eventually formed the Graces, who released Perfect View in 1990. Jane Wiedlin recorded two solo albums and acted in a few films. Wiedlin also organized the group's brief 1990 reunion, where they performed at a benefit for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals; they also recorded a version of "Cool Jerk" for their 1990 Greatest Hits album. The Go-Go's reunited once more in 1994, recording three new songs for the double-disc compilation Return of the Valley of the Go-Go's.

After recording new material, the group decided to continue as a full-time unit. In 2000, they appeared on VH1's Behind the Music series and released an accompanying best-of album, VH1 Behind the Music: Go-Go's Collection. God Bless the Go-Go's, the band's first studio album comprised entirely of new material, followed in 2001. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Comments

Doesn't matter what they say in the jealous games people play.
Head Over Heels : I LOVE THE GO GO'S and Belinda Carlisle. I haven't heard them in AGES. This is nice. Thank you.
Excellent and still they are being played at weddings
VACATIONNNNN N N N N N N N N N N N N N N
I CAN'T SEEM TO GET MY MIND OFF OF YOU!
we got the beat
Best song on Beauty and the Beat!
Those girls can still rock it out
Beauty and the Beat - one of the best album covers ever!
This band....i love them so much
you like the go-go's, you will adore my band called The Girl Turds
Love singing along, I make cats howl though.
I was 19 when this came out.So.Cal.s u m m e r of' 81.Great times at the beach!Every song on the record was excellent.
I love the GO-GO'S
Love me some Belinda Carlisle
WE GOT THE BEAT!
VACATION!
I can't seem to get my mind off of you!
love it....
Doesn't matter what they say in the jealous games people play
Great great boogie jamming tune. Gets the engine going.
Charlotte Caffey was the hottest.
80 music the best!!!!!
Belinda Carlisle is still smoking hot
And I'm 46 and no fool
We Got The Beat: I never get tired of it. I will always have The GO-GO'S on my Pandora. No matter what is going on in my life, We Got The Beat, get's me right back On The Beat. Class of 82, (High School).
Excellent BIO, as a guy who is about Belinda's age I really loved these chics and their music. We were young and free and...well lets just say having way too much fun. by the time of the GO GO's they evolved and channeled into the New Wave era I had just bought a factory ordered '79 Mustang COBRA and, needless to say was a very happy camper. 19 years of age. Many great times, many beautiful young ladies on my arm. And always good music CRANKING on that premium stereo.
Love this group..they were another punk pop all girl band these girls had guts..
Head Over Heels. I LOVE THE GO GO'S. THIS WAS MY VENTURA COUNTY AND SANTA BARBARA COUNTY BEACH BUM MUSIC.
Omg yes
This is life.
I wish the go go's would do just one more album and a tour!
Great girl band like the Bangles. Loved them still do. The 80's were the best years for music...seri o u s l y .
I wasnt born until 90 but all i listen to is 60s 70s and 80s music literally. Like I was born in the wrong generation. Too bad music isn't like this anymore. Love the GoGo's
At least these gals succeeded with class!
vic_dlg
Love the go go's there amazing I love the 80s and the 90s
The christian boy band Mission Six did a cover of We Got The Beat
Belinda, little hotty
Bad girls who done good!
80S rock rules. much better and epicer. :D
Love these girls!
Best Go Go's song. Ya.. I love the 80's!
yep! our lips are sealed! what a song and an 80's classic you just have to groove and sing to!
karen.robled o
seems like you people know this band really well and it looks like i still have alot to learn about the 80s
henry350zx
This was in the Rugrats Episode "Vacation" this was literally the best episode ever n the song fits quite well :)
Damn they were HOT!!!! Chick band personified. Belinda she moves me. A stunning view of what the eighties was all about.
wow...1981 and 1982....reme m b e r seeing them at the Greek Theatre in Hollywood... s o l d out...senior year of high school...the GoGo's were rocking the San Fernando Valley part of Los Angeles.
I Loved This Group!!!
always loved this band. oxoxox
Love this group!! Miss the 80's
I just saw them this past week and they were GREAT...
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