The Go-Go’s are an all-female American pop/new wave band formed in 1978. They made rock history as the first all-woman band that both wrote their own songs and played their own instruments to top the Billboard album charts. Formed in Los Angeles, California in 1978, the Go-Go's initially consisted of Belinda Carlisle (vocals), Jane Wiedlin (guitar, vocals), Margot Olaverra (bass), and Elissa Bello (drums). They were formed as a punk band, and had roots in the L.A. Punk community; they shared a rehearsal space with X, and under the name "Dottie Danger", Carlisle had briefly been a member of punk-rock band The Germs. (Coincidentally due to illness, she left The Germs before playing a gig.)
The Go-Go's signed to I.R.S. Records in April 1981. Their debut album, Beauty and the Beat, was a surprise hit and topped the U.S. Charts for six weeks and eventually received a double platinum certification. The album was also a success outside the U.S. Charting at #2 in Canada, where it received a platinum certification, and #27 in Australia. "Our Lips Are Sealed" and a new version of "We Got the Beat" were extremely popular singles in North America in early 1982. The Go-Go's became America's sweethearts and started to have a cult following.
In 1982 the group was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best New Artist. The follow-up album, Vacation, sold well (Gold certification in the U.S.), and spawned another top 10 US hit with the title track. However, the group was forced to go on hiatus when Schock underwent surgery for a congenital heart defect. In 1983 Vacation LP was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Packaging.
In the beginning, they played primarily a pop-inflected form of the emerging punk sound, and later defined themselves with the distinct sound of 1980s rock. The Go-Go’s had five U.S. Top 40 hits. Musical influences include the Ramones, the Shangri-Las, the Buzzcocks, the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and Blondie. During their career, the Go-Go's have sold more than seven million copies.
1984 saw a return to critical acceptance with the harder-edged Martin Rushent produced album Talk Show, but sales were less successful than their prior albums. Still, album tracks "Head over Heels" and "Turn to You" were both top 40 hits in the US. Nevertheless, personality conflicts and creative differences were also taking a toll. Carlisle and Caffey soon realized their hearts were no longer in the group and decided to disband the Go-Go's in May 1985.
In 1990, the Go-Go's "classic" line-up (Caffey, Carlisle, Schock, Valentine, Wiedlin) reunited to play a benefit concert for the California Environmental Protection Act, a 1990 ballot initiative. This led to more show dates later that year. The band also entered the studio with producer David Z to re-record a cover of "Cool Jerk" for a greatest hits compilation.
In 1994, the same line-up got together again to release the 2-disc retrospective Return to the Valley of The Go-Go's, which featured 3 new recordings. A single pulled from the album, "The Whole World Lost Its Head", only 'bubbled under' on the US charts at #108, but became the band's first and only top 40 hit in the UK, peaking at #29. The band toured again to promote the release; ex-Bangle Vicki Peterson stood in on several dates for Caffey, who was pregnant. [wikipedia]