Beauty and the Beat
All-female American rock and roll group the Go-Go’s, comprises of Belinda Carlisle, Charlotte Caffey, Jane Wiedlin, Gina Schock and Kathy Valentine, became one of the most popular all-female bands in late ‘70s and early ‘80s with to their five U.S Top 40 hits: “We Got the Beat” (1981), “Our Lips Are Sealed” (1981), “Vacation” (1982), “Head Over Heels”(1984) and “Turn to You” (1984). Their debut album, the #1 hit Beauty and the Beat (1981), is regarded as one of the basis albums of American New Wave. In the commencement the group played mostly pop punk and later identified themselves with the distinctive sound of 1980s rock.
During their stint in the music industry (from 1978 to 1985, 1990, 1994 until now), the Go-Go’s, which created rock history as the first all-woman band that penned their own songs and played their own instruments to top the Billboard charts with a No. 1 album, has spawned six other albums following their highly successful debut. They are the triple-platinum album Vacation (1982), the gold album Talk Show (1984), the Greatest Hits album (1990), Return To The Valley Of The Go-Go’s (1994), VH-1 Behind the Music: Go-Go’s Collection (2000) and God Bless The Go-Go’s (2001). They are now working on a project with Disney named the Po-Go’s. It features child musicians performing new Go-Go’s material.
The Go-Go’s was once named VH1’s “100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll.” VH1 also once voted the group as one of theirs “100 Sexiest Artists.”
Childhood and Family:
In 1978, in Los Angeles, California, the Go-Go’s (formerly the Misfits) was founded by Belinda Carlisle (vocals; born on August 17, 1958, in Hollywood, California), Jane Wiedlin (guitar, vocals; born on May 20, 1958, in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin), Charlotte Caffey (lead guitar, keyboards; born on October 21, 1953, in Santa Monica, California), Margot Olaverra (bass) and Elissa Bello (drums). Gina Schock (born on August 31, 1957, in Baltimore, Maryland) replaced Bello on drums in 1979 and in December 1980, bassist Olaverra was replaced with Kathy Valentine (born on January 7, 1959), who was guitar player with such bands as Girlschool and the Textones. In early 1985, Paula Jean Brown was brought in as an additional player following the departure of Wiedlin in October 1984. With Brown served as their new bassist, Valentine moved to rhythm guitar.
The Go-Go’s have made a name for themselves as one of the first commercially triumphant female bands that was not run by male managers or producers.
God Bless The Go-Go’s
The Los Angeles-based female group Go-Go’s started performing in local parties and small clubs as well as at influential punk rock venues like the Whisky A Go Go and The Masque. During 1979, they recorded a demo and appeared as a supporting player for the British ska renewal group Madness in both Los Angeles and the U.K. The Go-Go’s went on to spend considerably half of 1980 touring England, from which they received a great following. They also recorded the single “We Got the Beat” on Stiff Records and an import copy of it was an underground club hit in the US. Despite the success, the group found difficulty to score a record deal.
It was in April 1981 that the group’s luck began to change when they finally signed with I.R.S. Records. Their debut album, Beauty and the Beat, followed in the summer of 1981, which became one of the year’s shocker hits and spent six weeks at # 1 at the charts. The single “Our Lips Are Sealed” debuted at # 20 and went on to become a huge popular single in early 1982. A new version of “We Got the Beat” stayed at # 2 for three weeks and also became the group’s another massive hit. Thanks largely to those well-liked tracks, Beauty and the Beat sold over two million copies.
In 1982, the Go-Go’s released a sophomore effort, the well-received Vacation. With the Top Ten hit single “Vacation,” the album made the Top Ten and went gold. Unfortunately for the Go-Go’s, they were forced to take a break when Schock undertook surgery for an innate heart failing. In 1984, the group returned with the Martin Rushent produced album Talk Show, which was considered as their most musically striving album. Although it received positive reviews, the album’s sales were poor and it even failed to go gold. Talk Show had two Top 40 hits: “Head Over Heels” (#11 U.S.) and “Turn to You” (#32 U.S).
After the Prime Time tour in 1984, Wiedlin declared her parting from the Go-Go’s, citing personality conflicts and creative differences, and was soon replaced by bassist Paula Jean Brown. With a new line-up, the band performed in the 1985 Rock in Rio festival. Later that same year, Carlisle and Caffey followed in the footsteps of Wiedlin and departed the Go-Go’s in May 1985. Soon thereafter, the band broke up.
Belinda Carlisle embarked as the most victorious solo artist of the band’s alumnae with aseries of mainstream pop singles in the late 1980s, like the #1 song “Heaven Is a Place on Earth.” For a time, Charlotte Caffey sang back up for Carlisle and then the two formed a 1990 group called The Graces and released the album Perfect View in 1990. After the split up of the Graces, Caffey briefly formed a group called Astrid’s Mother. Jane Wiedlin produced two solo albums, including Fur, and acted in such movies as Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Clue, and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Gina Schock launched a self-titled album in 1988 with her band House of Schock, and later founded the soon-separated group K-Five. Kathy Valentine could be seen making her return to her blues-rock roots with the group the Blue Bonnets, which morphed into the Delphines, where Schock also became the band’s drum player.
While each member was busy doing their solo projects, organized by Wiedlin, the Go-Go’s rejoined in 1990 to play a benefit concert for the California Environmental Protection Act. They also worked for a version of “Cool Jerk” (#60 UK) for their 1990 Greatest Hits album. After another sabbatical, Carlisle, Caffey, Wiedlin, Schock and Valentine reunited once more in 1994 and released a double-disc compilation called Return to the Valley of the Go-Go’s. After recording three new tracks for the album, including “The Whole World Lost Its Head” (#108 U.S.) and “Good Girl,” the group decided to continue as a full-time unit.
The following year saw Jane Wiedlin form a band called froSTed. After releasing an album named Cold they separated in 1998. Wiedlin also teamed up with Caffey in 1997 to perform several acoustic in a show called Twisted and Jaded. In 2000, Wiedlin set up her own label, Painful Discs, to release her solo CD Kissproof World.
In 2000, the Go-Go’s performed on VH1’s Behind The Music series and launched a supplementary best-of album, VH1 Behind The Music: Go-Go’s Collection. This was followed by a new-material album, God Bless The Go-Go’s, in 2001. Although it earned rave reviews from critics, the album was a commercially failure. In 2006, the Go-Go’s launched a tour to celebrate the25th anniversary of Beauty and the Beat. Currently, they are collaborating with Disney for a project called the Po-Go’s, which featured young musicians performing new Go-Go’s material. Charlotte Caffey and Kathy Valentine are also scheduling a reality show with Susanna Hoffs and Vicki Peterson of the Bangles. The show will showcase female musicians and set up a new all-female band.