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Music / The Go-Go's

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L-to-R: Charlotte Caffey, Belinda Carlisle, Kathy Valentine, Gina Schock, Jane Wiedlin
Go-go music really makes us dance
Do the Pony puts us in a trance
The Watusi just gave us a chance
That's when we fall in line
'Cause we got the beat, we got the beat, we got the beat
Yeah, we got it!
— "We Got the Beat"

The Go-Go's are an all-female American pop 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.

The Go-Go's rose to fame in the early 1980s. Their debut album, Beauty and the Beat, is considered one of the "cornerstone albums of new wave" (Allmusic), breaking barriers and paving the way for a host of other new American acts. 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 albums.

They started out with Belinda Carlisle (who later had a successful solo career), Jane Wiedlin, Margot Olavarria, and Elissa Bello. Later in 1978, Charlotte Caffey joined, and Bello left the next year and was replaced by Gina Schock. The classic lineup came together in 1981 when Kathy Valentine replaced Olavarria. Although the lead vocalist, Belinda Carlisle, is the most well-known of the band, both with the band and in her aforementioned solo projects, other members of the band have contributed to other projects as well. Jane Wiedlin, the rhythm guitarist, was the writer and co-writer of several of the Go-Go's songs. Away from the group, she had several solo albums, including the top 10 hit, Rush Hour, and an acting career with roles in Star Trek IV, Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure (as "Miss 'of Arc'"), and Clue, as well as voicing the character Gwen on Mission Hill and Dusk of the Hex Girls in several Scooby-Doo projects.

At least two other groups share the Go-Go's name with them: a British group who released the novelty single "I'm Gonna Spend My Christmas with a Dalek" in 1964, and an American trio who recorded the album Swim with the Go-Go's and a couple of singles for RCA Victor the same year. However, unless you're either a classic Doctor Who fan and/or a 1960s surf pop expert, chances are slim that you'll ever deal with those two groups.

The classic lineup of Carlisle, Wiedlin, Caffey, Schock, and Valentine entered the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2021.

Principal members (Founding members in bold, current members in italic):

  • Paula Jean Brown – bass (1985)
  • Belinda Carlisle – lead vocals (1978–1985, 1990, 1994, 1999–present)
  • Elissa Bello – drums (1978–1979)
  • Charlotte Caffey – lead guitar, keyboards, backing vocals (1978–1985, 1990, 1994, 1999–present)
  • Margot Olavarria – bass (1978–1980)
  • Gina Schock – drums (1979–1985, 1990, 1994, 1999–present)
  • Abby Travis – bass (2012–2018)
  • Kathy Valentine – bass, backing vocals (1981–1985, 1990, 1994, 1999–2012, 2018–present)
  • Jane Wiedlin – rhythm guitar, backing vocals (1978–1984, 1990, 1994, 1999–present)


  • Beauty and the Beat (1981)
  • Vacation (1982)
  • Talk Show (1984)
  • Greatest (1990)
  • Return to the Valley of The Go-Go's (1994)
  • VH1 Behind the Music: Go-Go's Collection (2000)
  • God Bless The Go-Go's (2001)

"We got the tropes, we got the tropes, we got the tropes!":

  • Alliterative Name: Aside from the band itself, there is Charlotte Caffey.
  • Bathtub Scene: The cover art for Beauty and the Beat depicts them at a spa, wearing mud masks and towels. The back of the cover shows the members each in a bathtub, including Kathy Valentine reading a novel while eating chocolates.
  • Bifauxnen: In the "Turn to You" video, the whole band dresses up as handsome men performing at a school prom. Gina, however, only dresses as a man outside of prom.
  • Break-Up Song: "Fading Fast" is a pretty nasty one, with Belinda (written by Charlotte) throwing the guy out and singing about how she is actively putting him out of her memory.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Jane Wiedlin. Watch the band's ''Behind the Music'' episode, particularly toward the end, and you'll find out why.
  • Cover Version: The Capitols' "Cool Jerk," on Vacation. Cool Jerk is often played in concerts and compilations.
  • Creator Provincialism: "This Town" is about Los Angeles, the city the band is from:
    "This town is our town
    This town is so glamorous
    Bet you'd live here if you could
    And be one of us."
  • Crosscast Role: In the prom-set "Turn to You" video, the whole band except for Gina is male while onstage. Offstage she's the only one dressed as a boy.
  • The '80s: This is the decade where they had their biggest hits.
  • Genki Girl: Jane Wiedlin is the most animated member in live performances and music videos.
  • Kaleidoscope Hair: Jane Wiedlin dyed her hair in several different colors throughout her career, from green to blue to purple.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Gender-inverted in "Lust to Love". The song is about a woman who constantly flirts with men and treats them as playthings until she ends up falling in love.
  • Long Runner Lineup: Type 2. The classic lineup was originally together only from 1981–1984, with brief reunions in 1990 and 1994, but had a more lasting reunion from 1999–2012. They reunited yet again in 2018.
  • Ms. Fanservice: All five members appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone in 1982 in their underwear.
  • Precision F-Strike: "Club Zero" includes the line "Zero fucks given" shouted in the middle of the song's second verse.
  • Silly Love Songs: Many of their songs are based around love, including their hits Head over Heels and Vacation.
  • Take That!: "Throw Me a Curve" is a jab at the fashion industry promoting anorexic models instead of curvy women.