Thursday, August 11, 2011
Today, August 11, 2011, less than a week before Belinda Carlisle's birthday, The Go Go's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was unveiled. Here, for your convenience, I've copied and pasted the text from the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce's website:
In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Go-Go’s 1981 landmark debut album “Beauty and the Beat” and their current “Ladies Gone Wild” summer tour (including a headlining concert at the Greek Theater on August 17), the Go-Go’s will be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in front of the former nightclub, *The Masque, where they played their first show.
From their halcyon days as America's sweethearts to their current status as superstars who pioneered a genre, The Go-Go’s preside over an amazing three-decade reign as high pop priestesses. The internationally-loved pop hit makers helped cement the foundation of the early ‘80s pop-rock sound without the aid of outside composers, session players or, most importantly, creative compromise. From their very first show, the Go-Go's sang and played their own songs, offering five feisty role models for a generation of ready-to-rock girls and good, hooky fun for pop-loving guys.
Their story truly is a punk version of the American Dream. They came, they saw and they conquered the charts, the airwaves and, with their kicky kitsch appeal, pop culture in general.
For a while, the band was virtually inescapable: TV guest shots, magazine covers, high-profile concert tours and movie offers turned Belinda Carlisle, Charlotte Caffey, Gina Schock, Kathy Valentine and Jane Wiedlin into certified rock stars. Their sparking California pop appealed to an astonishingly wide cross section of music fans internationally.
Because of -- or maybe in spite of -- all this attention, they soared to become a pop phenomenon while having a lot of fun and blazing a brand-new trail -- for the DIY ethic in general, and women in music in particular. Their self-contained battle cry was a string of irresistibly catchy, self-penned pop singles featuring Carlisle's infectious vocals, with Caffey and Wiedlin's loud, punk rock guitars and sweet backing vocals, all slammed home with Valentine's throbbing bass and Schock's big ‘60s beat.
Sure, before the Go-Go's debuted in May of '78, there were other all-female bands, but to a man (ahem, or in this case, woman) there was usually a seedy, cigar-chompin' guy lurking just behind the curtain, pulling strings, writing songs and shaping the image as his gals danced on his string. But the Go-Go's didn't need a doctor in their house. It was their baby right from the start and they nursed the bouncing infant on a diet of non-stop nocturnal nourishment in dank clubs all across the city.
They danced to their own joyous beat from the very beginning. The Go-Go's banded together in the truest of punk ethics: there was no master plan to get signed or in any way conquer the world. In fact, when Belinda Carlisle and Jane Wiedlin met, they weren't even musicians. But since nearly everyone else in their vicious circle of friends was forming bands, they said why not? and jumped right in that darn fountain, fully clothed.
The band was conceived in the very same gritty glitter of the rough Los Angeles scene that also birthed X, The Germs, and The Weirdos. By all accounts, their first show was short, sweet -- and very, very raw. They didn't care, they were just having fun. But, just as lust can turn to love, their newfound hobby turned to dedication.
Two months later, real musician Charlotte Caffey joined and their sound quickly improved. The unique mix of snotty punk discord blended with sweet pop melodies was presented with a freewheeling let's have a party thrift-store chic attitude. The ensemble quickly cultivated a dedicated clique of fans and collected glowing notices in the notoriously fickle LA press.
By '79, with the addition of Gina Schock on drums, the Go-Go's were beating their path to stardom on their own terms. They played every cool club and party in L.A. and, naturally, record companies were starting to sniff around. Still, the band remained true to their punk leanings, releasing an early version of “We Got The Beat” through the quirky Stiff Records in the UK.
As '80 turned into '81, Kathy Valentine joined and by April, the band was signed to upstart new wave haven I.R.S. Records. As summer arrived, so did Beauty and the Beat, hot on the heels of their debut U.S. single “Our Lips Are Sealed.” Summer turned to fall, and the world fell in love with the cute, bubbly and effervescent (and yes, they hate that description) Go-Go's.
Belinda at the Whisky, The Joneses look on
The double platinum-certified Beauty and the Beat reached number one and begat Vacation in ‘82 and Talk Show in ‘84 during the ladies' charming reign of chart and radio smashes. And, like any truly classic rock band, their enduring hits including “Vacation,” “Head Over Heels” and “Turn To You” live on in countless compilations, movie soundtracks, remakes and, yes, even a string of very successful television commercials.
In 2000, their raucous and rocky off-stage history, often re-told and colorfully embellished, was unflinchingly presented in a very popular episode of VH1s “Behind The Music” series with an accompanying greatest hits collection. Behind The Music: The Go-Go's Collection continues to be a strong-selling catalog item.
On the strength of the VH1 special, God Bless The Go-Go's, an all-new collection of songs was released in 2001. A stack of glowing reviews soon followed backed by a triumphant tour, later immortalized in the exciting DVD, Live In Central Park.
The Go-Go’s recently released an expanded 30th Anniversary edition of their double platinum debut album, Beauty and the Beat, and are on the road this summer for their "Ladies Gone Wild" tour, including a stop at Los Angeles’ Greek Theatre on Wednesday, August 17.
The whole world may have lost its head, but in a world gone crazy, the Go-Go's still have the beat. And now, three decades after the release of their first album, go-go music still makes us dance!
Rodney Bingenheimer and Charlotte