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The Go-Go's

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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
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Stations Featuring
The Go-Go's

    Female Rock

    Female Rock
    5 songs

    New Wave

    New Wave
    5 songs

    '80s Alternative

    '80s Alternative
    5 songs

    66 Songs That Changed The '80s

    66 Songs That Changed The '80s
    1 song

    Awesome '80s

    4 songs

    Patriotic Songs

    1 song

    Classic Hits

    3 songs

    Classic Summer Songs

    1 song

    Shuffle Hits

    4 songs

    Gay Anthems

    1 song

Albums by
The Go-Go's

Top Songs by
The Go-Go's

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   Our Lips Are Sealed
  3.   Vacation
  4.   We Got the Beat
  5.   Head Over Heels
  6.   Turn to You
  7.   This Town
  8.   Tonite
  9.   Lust to Love
  10.   How Much More
  11.   Capture the Light
  12.   Apology
  13.   Screaming
  14.   Johnny Are You Queer? -
  15.   Bonus Track
  16.   Automatic Rainy Day
  17.   Get up and Go
  18.   London Boys
  19.   He's So Strange
  20.   You Thought
  21.   Talking To Myself
  22.   Super Slide
  23.   Surfing and Spying/Beatnik Beach
  24.   Whole World Lost Its Head, The ('94)
  25.   Beautiful ('94)
  26.   Good Girl ('94)
  27.   Walking in the Sand (Remember)
  28.   I Think I Need Sleep
  29.   Let's Get Together
  30.   Daisy Chain
  31.   Talking Myself Down
  32.   Throw Me a Curve
  33.   Sonic Superslide
  34.   Insincere
  35.   Here You Are
  36.   Vision of Nowness
  37.   Stuck in My Car
  38.   Unforgiven
  39.   La La Land
  40.   I'm Gonna Spend My Christmas With a Dalek
  41.   Tonight
  42.   Head over Heals
  43.   Automatic
  44.   Fading Fast
  45.   You Can't Walk in Your Sleep (If You Can't Sleep)
  46.   Worlds Away
  47.   The Way You Dance
  48.   This Old Feeling
  49.   I Wanna Be Sedated
  50.   Beautiful
  51.   Good Girl
  52.   Can't Stop the World
  53.   We Don't Get Along
  54.   Speeding
  55.   Beneath the Blue Sky
  56.   Forget That Day
  57.   I'm the Only One
  58.   Yes or No
  59.   I'm With You
  60.   Mercenary
  61.   Living at the Canterbury/Party Pose
  62.   Fun With Ropes
  63.   Fashion Seekers Intro
  64.   Blades
  65.   Let's Have a Party
  66.   Beatnik Beach
  67.   (Remember) Walking in the Sand
  68.   Cool Jerk
  69.   Skidmarks on My Heart
  70.   It's Everything But Party Time
  71.   Kissing Asphalt
  72.   Girl of 100 Lists
  73.   I Think It's Me
  74.   The Whole World Lost Its Head
  75.   Good for Gone
  76.   Surfing and Spying

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