The Eighties Club
The Politics and Pop Culture of the 1980s
A Decade in the Life
of
The Go-Gos
Pictured, from left to right: Charlotte Caffey, Kathy Valentine, Belinda Carlisle, Gina Shock and Jane Wiedlen.

In 1978, high school cheerleader and vocalist Belinda Carlisle (b. 8.16.58, Hollywood, CA) joins Jane Wiedlen (b.5.20.58, Oconomowac, WI), who is studying fashion and plays guitar,  Charlotte Caffey (b.10.21.53, Santa Monica, CA), also a guitar player, bassist Margo Olaverra and drummer Elisa Bello to form an all-girl new wave band called The Misfits. The band gained experience playing gigs in the Los Angeles punk rock scene, and the following year changed their name to The Go-Gos. Bello is replaced by Gina Schock (b. 8.31.57, Baltimore, MD) on the drums. As the band prepared to release their first single, the girls had perfected an unique blend of '60s surfer and '70s punk sounds with rich and sassy vocal harmonies -- and in a few short years would prove themselves to be trailblazers for a whole host of Eighties female pop-rock acts, from The Bangles and Bananarama to Madonna and Cyndi Lauper....


May 1980
Stiff Records releases The Go-Gos' first single, "We Got The Beat," in the UK. Later, Kathy Valentine will take over bass duties from an ill Margo Olaverra; she will remain a permanent addition to the band.
October 1981
The Go-Gos sign on with I.R.S. Records and release their second single, "Our Lips Are Sealed," written by Wiedlen and Terry Hall of Fun Boy Three. It will spend 30 weeks in the Billboard Top 100, peaking at US#20. The band also appears in Derek Burbidge's documentary film on new wave, punk and techno group, Urgh! A Music War.
March 1982
The group's debut album, Beauty and the Beat soars to the top of the US album chart, where it will remain for six weeks. The re-recorded "We Got The Beat" climbs to US#2. The album will go double platinum.
August 1982
Vacation is released and will climb to US#8 and UK#75.
December 1982
The Go-Gos are named Billboard's Top Artist for 1982.
May 1984
"Head Over Heels", from the group's third album, Talk Show, soars to US#11. The parent album will peak at US#18.
August 1984
"Turn To You" reaches US#32.
October 1984
"Yes Or No" stalls at US#84. Jane Wiedlin quits the band, supposedly due to the drug addictions of Carlisle and Valentine. She is replaced by guitarist Paula Jean Brown.
May 1985
The Go-Gos announce they are splitting up. Wiedlen releases her solo album this same year, which peaks at US#127. Assisted by Caffey, Carlisle remains with I.R.S. and begins work on a solo album.
August 1986
Carlisle's debut solo album, Belinda, reaches US#13. It will be certified gold in November. The single "Mad About You" peaks at US#3.
October 1986
Carlisle's "I Feel The Magic," the second single off the Belinda album, stalls at US#82. Carlisle tours the U.S. opening for Robert Palmer before launching a three-month tour of her own.
October 1987
Having left I.R.S. and signed on with MCA Records (Virgin in the UK), Carlisle releases her second solo album, Heaven On Earth. It features Caffey as well as Thomas Dolby and Michelle Phillips.
December 1987
Carlisle hits the top of the US singles chart with "Heaven Is A Place On Earth." The video for the song is directed by actress Diane Keaton and has heavy MTV rotation. Meanwhile, Wiedlin has signed with EMI USA Records.
January 1988
"Heaven Is A Place On Earth" reaches UK#1 and stays there for two weeks, while Heaven On Earth peaks at US#13 and is certified platinum.
March 1988
"I Get Weak" becomes Carlisle's third Top 10 single, making US#2 and UK#10.
May 1988
Carlisle embarks on her first major tour, beginning in the US and Canada.
June 1988
"Circle In The Sand" peaks at US#7 and UK#4 while its parent album, Heaven On Earth, reaches UK#4.
September 1988
Carlisle undertakes her first UK tour, selling out three dates at London's Hammersmith Odeon. "World Without You" climbs to UK#34. Meanwhile, Wiedlin's first album with EMI, Fur, reaches UK#48 and US#105 in 1988.
October 1989
Carlisle's "Leave A Light On," featuring George Harrison on slide guitar, makes UK#4. In December it will peak at US#11.
November 1989
Carlisle's third solo album, Runaway Horses, is released. It features former Go-Gos Caffey, Valentine and Schock on the track "Shades Of Michelangelo." It will stay on the UK charts for eighteen months, peaking at UK#4. In the US it reaches the #37 spot. Meanwhile, Caffey has joined Meredith Brooks and Gia Ciambotti to form a group called The Graces, releasing an album entitled Perfect View (A&M) and a single, "Lay Down Your Arms", which peaks at US#56.


Beauty and the Beat (I.R.S, 1981)
Our Lips Are Sealed
How Much More
Tonite
Lust To Love
This Town
We Got The Beat
Fading Fast
Automatic
You Can't Walk In Your Sleep
Skidmarks On My Heart
Can't Stop The World

"Anyone still inclined to condescend to all-female bands needs only a whiff of this quintet's triumphant debut to experience a change of heart."
Trouser Press

"It's the Shirelles with an electric kick, the Shangri-Las with a California twang, the whole Sixties girl group tradition overhauled with the kind of spunk and affection Blondie and the B-52s are now much too cool to show."
Melody Maker

Vacation (I.R.S, 1982)
Vacation
He's So Strange
Girl Of 100 Lists
We Don't Get Along
I Think It's Me
It's Everything But Partytime
Get Up And Go
This Old Feeling
Cool Jerk
The Way You Dance
Beatnik Beach
Worlds Away

"Through their cheery music, The Go-Gos have liberated us all."
Creem

"So simple-minded and bland it makes the gentle listener want to stand up and scream."
Sounds

Talk Show (I.R.S, 1984)
Head Over Heels
Turn To You
You Thought
Beneath The Blue Sky
Forget That Day
I'm The Only One
Yes Or No
Capture The Light
I'm With You
Mercenary

"We're talking far more soignee suss than many a more musically adept or media-hyped outfit."
New Musical Express.

"Talk Show attempted a major revamp, turning up the rock energy on all fronts."
Trouser Press


Wiedlin pursued an acting career after The Go-Gos breakup, and appeared in such films as Star Trek IV and Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.

In 1990, The Go-Gos embarked on a reunion tour in support of the I.R.S.-released hits collection entitled Greatest, which peaked at US#127. The also appeared nude on a benefit poster for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals," using the slogan "We'd rather go naked than wear fur."

Another hits compilation, Return To The Valley Of The Go-Goswas released in 1994 by I.R.S., and included three newly-recorded tracks. Another reunion tour was launched; this time ex-Bangle Vicki Peterson stands in for Caffey, who is pregnant.

In 1995, Carlisle signed with I.R.S. to continue her solo career, while Wiedlin launched a new group called froSTed. Caffey and Wiedlin, joined by ex-Bangle Susannah Hoff, did the title song for the Now and Then movie soundtrack.

Schock filed suit against the band, claiming she had not received her fair share of earnings since 1986. She also filed suit against Caffey, charging that a songwriting agreement between the two had been breached.

In May 2001, The band reunited to release another album of all-new material, God Bless the Go-Gos.