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Sunday, 24 July 2016

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 206 - Go-Go's

Beauty and the Beat, the debut album from the Go-Go's spent 6 weeks at the #1 spot in the USA in 1982 and sold in excess of two million copies. For a band who had begun life as part of the L.A. Punk Scene this was quite remarkable. Between their formation in 1978 and the release of the album they had drifted away from their early punk leanings to a more New Wave sound, the Poppier end of New Wave.

I have some bootlegs of theirs from the early days and it's interesting to see how they developed. You can have a listen to a few of the early songs on this great Compilation Go-Go's: Best In (Live) Show 1978-2006 - Click Here. They were playing many of the seminal Punk Venues at the time like the Whisky A Go Go and The Masque.

Belinda Carlise and Jane Wiedlen are the two remaining founder members of the original line-up in 1978, with Charlotte Caffey joining later that year on Keyboards and Lead Guitar. Gina Schock would join in 1979 on Drums and Kathy Valentine in 1980 on Bass (an instrument that she had not played before!) and thus came the classic line up of the band.

Band members
    Belinda Carlisle – lead vocals
    Charlotte Caffey – lead guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
    Gina Schock – drums, percussion
    Kathy Valentine – bass, backing vocals
    Jane Wiedlin – rhythm guitar, vocals

They got a break supporting Madness in Los Angeles and then again on various dates in England. Their demo for We Got The Beat was issued as a single on their touring partner's label Stiff Records.

In April 1981 they signed with I.R.S. Records and they exploded with Our Lips Are Sealed becoming a Top 20 hit followed in January 1982 by a re-recorded version of We Got The Beat that eventually peaked at #2 for three solid weeks. It was kept off the top of the charts by a certain young lady called Joan Jett and her Blackhearts with I Love Rock and Roll.

Now, I have to say this, because it gets mentioned a lot in various bios etc that I have read of the Go-Go's, they are often hailed because they were one of the first All-Female bands to have a major hit album, who not only wrote their own material but played all the instruments on their recordings. I feel this does a great diservice to many of the other All-Female bands who were out and about around the same time as if they do not matter as much because they didn't have hit records! Off the top of my head I can think of a few All-Female bands who were just as classy: The Slits, Girlschool, The Bangles (who formed in 1981) and The Raincoats (and not forgetting the likes of The Runaways who were still around when the Go-Go's formed and are to be considered as trailblazers for All-Female Rock and Roll bands).

Beauty and the Beat - Go-Go's
Produced by Richard Gottehrer and Rob Freeman
Released July 1981
US Chart #1

Singles from Beauty and the Beat
Stiff Records
    Released: May 1980

Our Lips Are Sealed/We Got The Beat
American Bandstand 1982

    "Our Lips Are Sealed" / "Surfing and Spying"
    Released: July 1981
US Chart #20
UK Chart #47

 "We Got the Beat" / "Can't Stop the World" (US Release) / "Skidmarks On My Heart" (UK Release)
    Released: January 1982
US Chart #2

    "Automatic" / "Tonite"
    Released: February 1982

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!
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