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GO-GO'S BIOGRAPHY

Los Angeles' Go-Go's formed in May, 1978, as part of the burgeoning LA punk/new wave scene. The nascent line up was a quartet consisting of Belinda Carlisle on vocals (under the nom de plume of "Dottie Danger"), Jane Wiedlin (as "Jane Drano") on guitar, Margot Olivarria on bass and Elissa Bello on drums.

But success would take longer to find them than it did most of their contemporaries in the LA scene. In June of 1978, only two months after forming, Go-Go's became a quintet with the addition of Eyes bassist Charlotte Caffey, who switched to guitar upon joining. Charlotte's "professional" background helped build the band's ambition. Except for Bello who was not taking her bandmates' ambitions seriously. The rest of the band decided to drop Bello. With virtually no confrontation, Bello was replaced by Gina Schock, who had previously drummed for Edie and the Eggs, a band fronted by John Waters screen oddity Edith "The Egg Lady" Massey. Now bolstered with a second "professional" musician the band began to get noticed.

They headed into a studio and recorded five songs as a demo. From this, their manager, Ginger Canzoneri, managed to get them booked on a UK tour as an opening act for two-tone trendsetters Madness and The Specials. These two bands were able to convince their label, Stiff Records, to release a single of "We Got The Beat" (with "How Much More" as the b-side). Despite becoming a big import dance hit in the US, Stiff was particularly unimpressed with the band and did not sign them. It is important to note that their first hit tune, "Our Lips Are Sealed" was written by Jane Wiedlin and The Specials' Terry Hall during this period...

Back in the States and undaunted by their lack of a record deal, Go-Go's participated in an industry showcase at LA's famed Starwood in 1979 -- a concert where label reps see and hear a large number of unsigned bands. It was here that I.R.S. honcho Miles Copeland first heard the girls. But it would be a year before he officially signed them.

Go-Go's circa 1980
Go-Go's circa 1980. L to R: Belinda, Jane, Charlotte, Margot and Gina.

In 1980, shortly after being signed (and being filmed for the punk concert film, URGH A MUSIC WAR), Olivarria fell ill and was replaced by Textones guitarist Kathy Valentine, who switched to bass -- sort of the opposite of what Charlotte did. Unlike the replacement of Bello, this transition was anything but smooth, with Olivarria suing the rest of the band (a settlement was later reached out of court). Now with a signed record contract and most troubles behind them, the energized Go-Go's went into the studio with producers Rob Freeman (of Blondie production fame) and Richard Gottehrer, whose track record for making hits was spanning into three decades (Angels in the 60's, Blondie in the 70's and now Go-Go's in the 80's).

The LP BEAUTY AND THE BEAT was released in the Summer of 1981. Airplay of the first single and associated word of mouth slowly grew and over a half a year later Go-Go's became the first all-girl rock band to go #1 on the Billboard Charts. It was also I.R.S.'s first #1 album and first gold and first platinum album.

The following Summer their second LP was released as an instant best-seller, featuring the single "Vacation" which was a reworked Valentine-penned Textones tune. But things were not going smoothly at this point. Manager Canzoneri quit the music business; Charlotte was diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, effectively hampering her guitar playing and moreso her keyboarding (in reality she had some addiction troubles); and (like The Cramps the previous year) Go-Go's had financial disagreements with I.R.S. (again, the issue was later settled out of court). All these disruptions led to a near two-year break between VACATION and its anticipated follow-up...

But troubles still plagued Go-Go's as they recorded their third LP, TALK SHOW with New Hormones producer Martin Rushent in London in the winter of 1983/4. A hole was discovered in Gina's heart and she immediately underwent corrective surgery. She made a quick recovery, fortunately, and was able to tour in support of TALK SHOW in 1984. But all was not well in "Go-Go-land..."

In late 1984 Jane Wiedlin became the first Go-Go to fly the coop. Kathy moved back to guitar and a new bassist, Paula Jean Brown, took over bass duties until Go-Go's officially broke up in May 1985. Belinda Carlisle was the next Go-Go to do a solo record, with close support from Charlotte Caffey (who later formed The Graces with Meredith Brooks). Gina formed a band called House Of Schock, and a few years later briefly teamed with ex-Bangle Debbie Peterson in a band called Smashbox. Kathy Valentine has kept a low profile, occaisionally playing for many of her musician friends. Belinda Carlisle has had the highest profile of any of the "ex-Go-Go's".

In 1990 I.R.S. decided to release a Greatest Hits collection. The band reunited in support of the album and even recorded a new version "Cool Jerk" for it. The reunion was shortlived and all parties soon went back to their solo activities. Then, in 1995, they learned that I.R.S. was planning to release another collection of Go-Go's material, this time a double CD with not only a few of the hits but also a lot of rarities (the cult tune "Johnny Are You Queer", for example was first recorded and ultimately not released by Go-Go's and went on to be a big (only?) hit for Josie Cotton), live cuts and unreleased b-sides. They decided to re-unite, tour and even record some new tunes. BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE GO-GO'S spawned a hit tune ("The Whole World Lost It's Head") but despite this they packed up yet again and went their separate ways. A third reunion in 1999 and accompanying tour in 2000 with a reformed Pretenders showed the women in mature form, both personally and musically. They were so well received on tour that they headed into the studio at year's end to work on a brand new Go-Go's album of all new material. GOD BLESS THE GO-GO'S was released in the Spring of 2001. Whether or not Go-Go's last in this incarnation remains to be seen. The new recordings definitely demonstrate they've evolved as musicians. It is unfortuante that the climate of today's radio and music industries didn't give the new CD at least a fighting chance beyond the handul of stations catering to "80's Music." At the very least we can expect another reunion every five years, maybe even sooner now that ABC-TV is planning a TV movie Bio-Pic of the band!!


GO-GO'S I.R.S. DISCOGRAPHY

This discography will cover only GO-GO'S recordings for I.R.S. Records. Recordings for other labels, other recordings, solo recordings and guest appearances, may be mentioned in the biography or discography, but details can be found by visiting some of the cool links for GO-GO'S, below...

Albums & EPs

SP 70021 (original cover) SP 70021 (revised cover) BEAUTY AND THE BEAT
IRS SP 70021 (Released 7 Jul 1981)

Vinyl and Cassette.
Reissued as SP75021 Vinyl, CD & Cassette in 1984 (midprice line)

Produced by Richard Gottehrer & Rob Freeman
Recorded and Mixed by Rob Freeman
Recorded at Pennylane Studio, NY
Assisted by John Terelle & Ted Blechta
Additional Recording at Record Plant Studio, NY
Assisted by James Ball
Additional Recording at Sound Mixers Studio, NY
Assisted by Eric Kortee & Darroll Gustamacho
Mixed at Record Plant Studio, NY
Assisted by: Gray Russell
Art Direction by Mike Doud & Ginger Canzoneri
Photography by George Du Bose
Photo Illustration by Cindy Marsh
Design by Mike Fink

Musicians:
Belinda Carlisle lead vocals
Jane Wiedlin rhythm guitar & vocals
Charlotte Caffey lead guitar, keyboards & backing vocals
Kathy Valentine bass & guitar
Gina Schock drums & percussion

Track Listing:

  1. Our Lips Are Sealed (Wiedlin/Hall) 2:45
  2. How Much More (Caffey/Wiedlin) 3:03
  3. Tonite (Caffey/Wiedlin/Case) 3:33
  4. Lust To Love (Caffey/Wiedlin) 4:00
  5. This Town (Caffey/Wiedlin) 3:15
  6. We Got The Beat (Caffey) 2:36
  7. Fading Fast (Caffey) 3:32
  8. Automatic (Wiedlin) 2:34
  9. You Can't Walk In Your Sleep (If You Can't Sleep) (Caffey/Wiedlin) 3:00
  10. Skidmarks On My Heart (Caffey/Carlisle) 3:13
  11. Can't Stop The World (Valentine) 3:22

Review Coming Soon!


SP70031 VACATION
IRS SP 70031 (Released 20 Jul 1982)

Vinyl & Cassette.
Reissued as SP75031 Vinyl, CD & Cassette in 1985 (midprice line)
ReMastered & Reissued on CD by Uni/A&M (IGA) in 1999.

Produced by Richard Gottehrer
Recorded & Mixed by Thom Panunzio
Recorded At Studio 55 and Sunset Sound (Hollywood) and Indigo Ranch (Malibu)
Mixed At Record Plant (NY) and Indigo Ranch (Malibu)
Assisted by James Ball, Stuart Furusho, David Leonard and Neil Pedinoff
Mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound (NY)
Art Direction by Mick Haggerty & Ginger Canzoneri
Design & Photos by Mick Haggerty
Management: Ginger Canzoneri
Special Thanks from Richard and Thom to: Richard Kaplan, Michael Hoffman and all the staff at Indigo Ranch
The Go-Go's wish to thank: Michael Boddicker (programming), David Dubow, Paul Jamison, Stan Lynch, Mike Osborne, Kent Smythe and Shelly Yakus
And Special Thanks to Cypress Gardens, Florida for co-operation on cover photography

Musicians:
Belinda Carlisle lead vocals
Jane Wiedlin rhythm guitar & back-up vocals
Charlotte Caffey lead guitar, keyboards & backing vocals
Kathy Valentine bass & back-up vocals
Gina Schock drums, percussion and back-up vocals
Additional Musicians:
Steve Berlin saxaphone on "This Old Feeling"

Track Listing:

  1. Vacation (Valentine/Caffey/Wiedlin) 2:57
  2. He's So Strange (Caffey/Phillips/Custis/Wiedlin) 2:55
  3. Girl Of 100 Lists (Wiedlin) 2:16
  4. We Don't Get Along (Valentine) 2:42
  5. I Think It's Me (Caffey/Carlisle) 2:40
  6. It's Everything But Partytime (Wiedlin/Schock) 3:18
  7. Get Up And Go (Caffey/Wiedlin) 3:15
  8. This Old Feeling (Caffey/Wiedlin) 3:04
  9. Cool Jerk (Storball) 2:52
  10. The Way You Dance (Caffey/Wiedlin/Valentine) 2:54
  11. Beatnik Beach (Caffey/Carlisle) 2:50
  12. Worlds Away (Wiedlin/Valentine) 3:58
Review Coming Soon!!!
SP 70041 TALK SHOW
IRS SP70041(Released 16 Mar 84)

Vinyl & Cassette

Produced & Engineered by Martin Rushent
Recorded At Genetic Sound, England
Assistant Engineers Dave Allen, Philip Tennant and Jim Russell
Vocal Direction Nathan Lam
Art Direction by Douglas Brian Martin
Photography by Chris Craymer
Management: Front Line Management

Musicians:
Belinda Carlisle lead vocals
Jane Wiedlin rhythm guitar & back-up vocals
Charlotte Caffey lead guitar, keyboards & backing vocals
Kathy Valentine bass & back-up vocals
Gina Schock drums, percussion and back-up vocals

Track Listing:

  1. Head Over Heels (Caffey/Valentine) 3:38
  2. Turn To You (Caffey/Wiedlin) 3:48
  3. You Thought (Schock/Valentine) 4:12
  4. Beneath The Blue Sky (Valentine/Wiedlin) 3:00
  5. Forget That Day (Wiedlin) 4:25
  6. I'm The Only One (Valentine/Harvey/Carter) 3:29
  7. Yes Or No (Wiedlin/Mael/Mael) 4:04
  8. Capture The Light (Wiedlin) 3:15
  9. I'm With You (Schock/Wiedlin) 3:37
  10. Mercenary (Wiedlin/Valentine/Caffey) 3:40

Review coming Soon!


31013 GO-GO'S CD3
A&M/IRS CC31013 (Released Apr 1988)

CD3
Produced by Richard Gottehrer & Rob Freeman (* Richard Gottehrer only)
Engineered by Rob Freeman, (except* Thom Panunzio)
Compiled by John Guarnieri
Photography by George Du Bose


Musicians:
Belinda Carlisle lead vocals
Jane Wiedlin rhythm guitar & vocals
Charlotte Caffey lead guitar, keyboards & backing vocals
Kathy Valentine bass & guitar
Gina Schock drums & percussion

  1. Our Lips Are Sealed (Wiedlin/Hall) 2:45
  2. Speeding (Caffey/Wiedlin) 2:11 *
  3. Surfing & Spying (Caffey) 1:50

By the late 1980's many labels were experimenting with making the music even MORE portable than the five inch Compact disc. Solution? a three inch disc! With three songs! This one featured the Go-Go's first hit, "Our Lips Are Sealed", "Speeding" (previously only available on the FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH Soundrack or as a b-side) and "Surfing & Spying" which was the B-side of their debut IRS single....


SP70059 GREATEST HITS
IRS-70059 (Released Oct 1990)

Cassette & CD.

Tracks 1, 3, 10, 11 & 13 Produced by Richard Gottehrer & Rob Freeman
Tracks 2, 5-7 Produced by Richard Gottehrer
Tracks 4, 8, 9, 12 & 14 Produced by Martin Rushent
Engineered by Various (See Original LP Credits)




Musicians:
Belinda Carlisle lead vocals
Jane Wiedlin rhythm guitar & back-up vocals
Charlotte Caffey lead guitar, keyboards & backing vocals
Kathy Valentine bass & back-up vocals
Gina Schock drums, percussion and back-up vocals

Track Listing:

  1. Our Lips Are Sealed (Wiedlin/Hall) 2:45
  2. Cool Jerk (Storball) 2:52
  3. We Got The Beat (Caffey) 2:36
  4. Head Over Heels (Caffey/Valentine) 3:38
  5. Get Up And Go (Caffey/Wiedlin) 3:15
  6. Vacation (Caffey/Valentine/Wiedlin) 2:57
  7. Beatnik Beach (Caffey/Carlisle) 2:50
  8. You Thought (Schock/Valentine) 4:12
  9. I'm The Only One (Valentine/Harvey/Carter) 3:29
  10. This Town (Caffey/Wiedlin) 3:15
  11. Lust To Love (Caffey/Wiedlin) 4:22
  12. Mercenary (Wiedlin/Valentine/Caffey) 3:40
  13. How Much More (Caffey/Wiedlin) 3:03
  14. Turn To You (Caffey/Wiedlin) 3:48

Review coming Soon!


IRS 29694 RETURN TO THE VALLEY OF THE GO-GO'S
IRS-29694 (Released 14 Oct 1994)

Cassette & CD



Production Credits Coming Soon!




Musicians:
Belinda Carlisle lead vocals
Jane Wiedlin rhythm guitar & back-up vocals
Charlotte Caffey lead guitar, keyboards & backing vocals
Kathy Valentine bass & back-up vocals
Gina Schock drums, percussion and back-up vocals

Track Listing:

  1. Living At The Canterbury/Party Rose
  2. Screaming
  3. Johnny Are You Queer? (Paine)
  4. Fun With Ropes
  5. Fashion Seekers
  6. Blades
  7. He's So Strange (Caffey/Phillips/Custis/Wiedlin)
  8. London Boys
  9. Let's Have A Party
  10. Beatnik Beach (Caffey/Carlisle)
  11. Remember (Walking In The Sand)
  12. Lust To Love (Caffey/Wiedlin)
  13. How Much More (Caffey/Wiedlin)
  14. Cool Jerk (Storball)
  15. We Got The Beat (Caffey)
  16. Skidmarks On My Heart (Caffey/Carlisle)
  17. This Town (Caffey/Wiedlin)
  18. Our Lips Are Sealed (Wiedlin/Hall)
  19. Surfing & Spying (Caffey)
  20. Vacation (Valentine/Caffey/Wiedlin)
  21. Speeding (Caffey/Wiedlin)
  22. Get Up And Go (Caffey/Wiedlin)
  23. It's Everything But Partytime (Wiedlin/Schock)
  24. Beneath The Blue Sky (Valentine/Wiedlin)
  25. Good For Gone (Schock/Valentine)
  26. Head Over Heels (Caffey/Valentine)
  27. Turn To You (Caffey/Wiedlin)
  28. Yes Or No (Wiedlin/Mael/Mael)
  29. I'm With You (Schock/Wiedlin)
  30. We Don't Get Along (Valentine)
  31. Can't Stop The World (Valentine)
  32. I'm The Only One (Valentine/Harvey/Carter)
  33. Mercenary (Wiedlin/Valentine/Caffey)
  34. Good Girl (Caffey/Wiedlin)
  35. Beautiful (Caffey/Schock)
  36. Whole World Lost Its Head? (Valentine/Wiedlin)

Review coming Soon!


58290 THE WHOLE WORLD LOST ITS HEAD
IRS-58290 (Released 1994)

Cassette & CD
"Production Credits Coming Soon!"
Musicians:
Belinda Carlisle lead vocals
Jane Wiedlin rhythm guitar & back-up vocals
Charlotte Caffey lead guitar, keyboards & backing vocals
Kathy Valentine bass & back-up vocals
Gina Schock drums, percussion and back-up vocals

CD Track Listing:

  1. The Whole World Lost Its Head (Valentine/Wiedlin)
  2. Automatic (Live, 1981) (Wiedlin)
  3. Lust To Love (Live, 1981) (Caffey/Wiedlin)
  4. You Thought (Live 1984) (Schock/Valentine)
  5. We Got The Beat (Stiff Records version) (Caffey)
Cassette Track Listing:
  1. The Whole World Lost Its Head (Valentine/Wiedlin)
  2. Skidmarks On My Heart (Live, 1981) (Caffey/Carlisle)
  3. Forget That Day (Live, 1984) (Wiedlin)

Review coming Soon!


58347 GOOD GIRL
IRS-58347 (Released Jan 1995)

CD and Cassette
"Production Credits Coming Soon!"
Musicians:
Belinda Carlisle lead vocals
Jane Wiedlin rhythm guitar & back-up vocals
Charlotte Caffey lead guitar, keyboards & backing vocals
Kathy Valentine bass & back-up vocals
Gina Schock drums, percussion and back-up vocals

CD Track Listing:

  1. Good Girl (Caffey/Wiedlin)
  2. Our Lips Are Sealed (Wiedlin/Hall)
  3. Vacation (Valentine/Caffey/Wiedlin)
  4. Beautiful (Caffey/Schock)
  5. I Wanna Be Sedated (Ramones)
Cassette Track Listing Coming Soon!
Review Coming Soon!

Singles

IR9901 (orig) IR9901 "Our Lips Are Sealed"/"Surfing & Spying"
IR9901 (Released 12 Jun 1981)

Produced by Richard Gottehrer & Rob Freeman
Sleeve Design by Carl Grasso
Photos by George Du Bose

IRS's first chart topping single! Initial pressing came in a sleeve printed on a buff matte-finished paper. Subsequent pressings had the usual slick 45 sleeve that singles customarily received... "Surfing & Spying" is an instrumental non-LP track (until RETURN... came along that is).


IR9903 "We Got The Beat"/"Can't Stop The World"
IR9903 (Released 15 Dec 1981)

Produced by Richard Gottehrer & Rob Freeman
Design Timothy Eames
Photos by Chris Cramer

"We Got The Beat", though it WAS the second single off their first LP, is considered "the Go-Go's anthem."


8001a 8001b "Our Lips Are Sealed"/"We Got The Beat"
IRS-8001 (Released 22 June 1982)

Picture Disc

Produced by Richard Gottehrer & Rob Freeman

Review coming Soon!


IR9907 IR70201 "Vacation"/"Beatnik Beach"
IR9907 / CS70201 (Released 18 Jun 1982)


Produced by Richard Gottehrer

The lead single off their second LP. Thid record also marked the launch of the cassette single, under the name "Cassingle," an EXCLUSIVE Trademark of IRS! In fact Miles successfully sued at least one other company for using the name "Cassingle"!!!


9910 "Get Up And Go"/"Speeding"
IRS-9910 (Released 10 Sep 1982)


Produced by Richard Gottehrer
Recorded & Mixed by Thom Panunzio

Review coming Soon!


9911 "This Old Feeling"/"It's Everything But Partytime"
IRS-9911 (Released 11 Nov 1982)

Produced by Richard Gottehrer
Recorded & Mixed by Thom Panunzio


Review coming Soon!


9926 "Head Over Heels"/"Good For Gone"
IRS-9926 (Released 6 Mar 1984)

Produced & Engineered by Martin Rushent
Design by Douglas Brian Martin
Photography by Chris Craymer

Review coming Soon!


9928 "Turn To You"/"I'm With You"
IRS-9928 (Released 30 May 1984)


Produced & Engineered by Martin Rushent


Review coming Soon!


9933 "Yes Or No"/"Mercenary"
IRS-9933 (Released 4 Sep 1984)


Produced & Engineered by Martin Rushent
"Yes Or No" remixed by Martin Rushent

Review coming Soon!


8690 "Our Lips Are Sealed"/"We Got The Beat"
IRS-8690 (Released 17 Apr 1984)


Produced by Richard Gottehrer & Rob Freeman


Review coming Soon!


8691 "Vacation"/"Cool Jerk"
IRS-8691 (Released 17 Apr 1984)


Produced by Richard Gottehrer


Review coming Soon!


Compilations & Soundtracks

KROQ PRESENTS THE NORMAL NOISE OF IRS (IRS #?) includes "Head Over Heals"
LIVE FOR LIFE (IRS5731) includes "We Got The Beat" (Live)
ON THE CHARTS: IRS RECORDS 1979-1994 (IRS29695) includes "Our Lips Are Sealed"
THESE PEOPLE ARE NUTS! (IRS82010) includes "We Got The Beat"
URGH! A MUSIC WAR (A&M SP 6019) includes "We Got The Beat" (Live)


GO-GO'S LINKS & OTHER COOL STUFF

There are a number of websites devoted to Go-Go's...

Beatnik Beat also has a quarterly fanzine. For info write:
(in the US of A): Jim Ginter
Beatnik Beat
POBox 607215
Chicago, IL
60660-7215
(in the U.K.): Paul Barber
Beatnik Beat
POB 129
Southport
Merseyside, England PR86UW


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This Page Last Updated 24 October 2002

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