The Go-Go’s formed in 1978 as The Misfits – The line-up, at the time, consisted of Belinda Carlisle (vocals), Jane Wiedlin (guitar, vocals), Charlotte Caffey (lead guitar, keyboards), Margot Olaverra (bass), and Elissa Bello (drums).
They made their debut performance at a basement punk club called The Masque.
In 1979, Elissa Bello left the band and was replaced by Gina Schock. Recording their first demo, they also supported British Ska bands Madness and The Specials on tour in the US and England. While on tour in England, the band released the single We Got the Beat on Stiff.
Margot Olaverra became ill at the end of 1980 and was unable to play, so the group added Kathy Valentine. The girls then signed to IRS Records in 1981 and released Beauty & The Beat.
The album was an intoxicating mix of punk attitude and pop sensibility. It went platinum twice and provided Top 20 hits with both Our Lips Are Sealed (co-written by Terry Hall of The Specials) and We Got The Beat.
The following year they released Vacation (1982) to disappointing album sales although it made the Top Ten album charts. The band were bagged by critics and fans alike for “selling out” to their image, undoing all the work they had achieved with their first album, and losing credibility.
In 1983, drummer Gina Schock was diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, a repetitive strain injury, so the band took the year off to allow her to recover.
In 1984, The Go-Go’s relocated to the UK for the recording of their third album Talk Show. Far more musically ambitious than it’s predecessors, it still failed to sell despite the charted songs Head Over Heels and Turn To You.
Jane Wiedlin left the band in late 1984, sick of a life of “bickering, drugs and egos.”
The band officially broke up in 1985 but reformed twice in the 1990s. Neither reformation produced any new material – just the album Return to the Valley of the Go-Go’s – a definitive album featuring both their greatest hits and rarities that were never released.
Belinda Carlisle went on to a successful solo career, smoothing out her pop-punk edges and becoming a contemporary AOR performer.
She has released six solo albums and has charted with Mad About You, I Get Weak, Circle in the Sand, Leave a Light On and Summer Rain.