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Meet the Go-Gos [PHOTOS] [VIDEOS]

Go-Gos cover
Beauty and the Beat. (Craig Allen photo)

The Go-Gos made history as the first all-female to write their own songs and play their own instruments, to top the Billboard charts!

The band achieved fame in the 1980s, but formed in Los Angeles in 1978. The original lineup included Belinda Carlisle (vocals), Jane Wiedlin (guitar, vocals), Margot Olavarria (bass), and Elissa Bello (drums).

The Go-Gos formed as a punk band, playing at L.A. punk venues like the famous “Whiskey A Go Go.”

Charlotte Caffey (lead guitar, keyboards) joined in 1978. Gina Schock replaced Bello on the drums in 1979. With these changes, the Go-Gos started to adopt the more mainstream sound that would gain them fame.

In late 1979, the band recorded a 5-song demo. In 1980, they supported “Madness” (“Our House” and “It Must Be Love,” 1983 chart hits) in concert in Los Angeles and England. The Go-Gos spent half of 1980 touring in England, and the demo version of “We Got The Beat” became a minor hit in England.

In late 1980, Margot Olaverria fell ill, and was replaced by Kathy Valentine.

In 1981, the G-Gos signed to I.R.S Records, a haven for “new wave” artists. Their debut album “Beauty And The Beat” topped the U.S. Charts for six weeks. It eventually went triple platinum. “Our Lips Are Sealed” (#20/1981) and “We Got The Beat” (#2 for 3 weeks/1982) (a new version, not the 1979 demo) were big hit singles, and are among “Jersey’s Favorite Hits.”

The Go-Gos were nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy in 1982.

The followup album “Vacation” went gold.

vinyl
The "Vacation" album on the turntable! (Craig Allen photo)

The title track (“Vacation”) went top ten on the charts (#8/1982), and is another of “Jersey’s Favorite Hits!”

1984 brought the album “Talkshow.” “Head Over Heels” (#11/1984), and “Turn To You” (#32/1984) were the result. This album failed to reach the top 10.

At this time, personality conflicts and creative differences, as well as drug problems for some members, started taking a toll. Jane  Wiedlin left the band in October 1984. She was replaced by Paula Jean Brown.

This lineup debuted at the “Rock In Rio Festival” in 1985. After playing two shows, Carlisle and Caffey decided that their hearts weren’t in the band anymore, and the Go-Gos called it quits in May 1985.

In 1990, the “classic” Go-Gos (Caffey, Carlisle, Schock, Valentine and Wiedlin) reunied for a benefit concert in California. More concert dates resulted.

In 1994, the same lineup returned to tour, and to release the two disc “Return To The Valley Of The Go-Gos,” a best-of compilation that included three new songs.

In 1997, Gina Schock sued the other group members, claiming back pay for contributions since 1986. And for breach of a songwriting agreement.

By 1999, the suit was resolved, and the Go-Gos began to resolve their personal differences.

The Go-Gos have toured regularly since 1999.

In 2001, the Go-Gos released “God Bless The Go-Gos,” and the single “Unforgiven” went to #22 on the Adult Top 40 chart.

Belinda Carlisle became the most commercially successful of the Go-Gos in the solo world, scoring several pop hits in the late 1980s, including: “Mad About You” (#3/1986), “Heaven Is A Place On Earth” (#1/1987), “I Get Weak” (#2/1988) and “Circle In The Sand” (#7/1988).

Belinda
Remember when CDs came in big cardboard boxes, as a security measure? (Craig Allen photo)

Jane Wiedlin scored a #9 song…

vinyl
Vintage 1988 vinyl "promo copy" of "Rush Hour." (Craig Allen photo)

 …with “Rush Hour” in 1988!

It can be said that “no one doesn’t love” the Go-Gos…case in point: my roommate in my freshman year of college was a big-time rocker. Usually, he was spinning “Who” albums on the turntable. But, when no one was around, he’d shut the door, and crank up “Beauty And The Beat” and “Vacation.” And, he was always embarrassed when I caught him indulging in his guilty pleasure.

I had the extreme pleasure of meeting the Go-Gos, backstage, in concert, in 2000, in Camden. Here is my ”staff” ticket …

Go-Gos ticket
My station staff ticket. Wow, back in 2000! (Craig Allen photo)

Now, if I could only find my picture with the Go-Gos! And my station badge, and all-access pass. They’re all in a box of radio memories. Somewhere…

The Go-Gos continue to tour this year! To find out what else they are up to, click here for their official website!

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