Wednesday, December 20, 2006
The Go Go's Punk Beginnings
Did anyone know, back in May 1978, when this photo of Belinda Carlisle was taken, that she would become a pop superstar? Did anyone know that Elvis Costello, with whose cardboard cut-out Belinda is posing, would go on to enter the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, and be considered in the pantheon of songwriters alongside the likes of members of the Beatles? I saw Belinda work very hard to get to where she got. She had self-determination from the moment we first met when we were on our respective high school forensic speaking teams (for the record: I was a debater, Belinda performed Dramatic Interpretation) back in the early/mid 70s.
You may think this is a truly goofy outfit Belinda is wearing, but if you go back to the pages of Vogue from those days...everyone who wanted street cred was wearing some big top over leggings and stiletto heels. Seriously.
Charlotte Caffey and I met in 1976, in a line waiting to see The Ramones from as close to the stage as we could get. She was not yet in The Eyes at that time, so to see her develop her talents and land, with Belinda, as The Go Go's, in the eye of the mainstream, was particularly satisfying, not just for me, but for the group of people who all got to know one another at punk rock shows in Los Angeles in the 70s. Unless you were there or are a record collector or trivia fanatic, you may not know just how punk rock the Go Go's were. The world knows them as a pop girl group, but they were in the trenches alongside The Germs, The Bags, The Weirdos, etc. Belinda even did duty as "Dottie Danger," playing drums for the Germs during band practice, and she was a "Blackette," singing back up for Black Randy who was one of the dirty jewels in the scruffy Dangerhouse Records crown.
Belinda was definitely an "It Girl," destined to be photographed where ever she went, and people watched what she did. For me, its pretty easy to connect the dots that took the Go Go's from The Masque to the Billboard charts.