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The Go-Go's

From Academic Kids

The Go-Go's are an all-woman band. They formed in 1978 and first rose to fame in the ska punk community supporting Madness on tour. They played primarily pop punk and retro-1960s rock. They have had five top-40 hits.

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Background

In 1980, the Go-Go's' "We Got the Beat" became an underground hit. After exchanging Olaverra for Kathy Valentine (the band's sound was turning from punk to pop, and Olaverra's punk persona was becoming a pop liability), the Go-Go's signed to IRS Records and released Beauty and the Beat, which was a surprise hit and topped the charts for six weeks. "Our Lips Are Sealed" and a new version of "We Got the Beat" were extremely popular singles. The follow-up, however, Vacation, sold well but quickly ran out of momentum. 1984 saw a return to critical acceptance with the album Talk Show, but sales were poor. In 1985 the band broke up.

Rumor has it that what did the band in was excessive hedonism and drug abuse. Around 1983, Carlisle had a US$300-a-day cocaine habit, and Caffey had a heroin habit. In 1983, a videotape surfaced showing Carlisle and Valentine at a post-gig party at which both were inebriated and uninhibited. In 1985, Caffey underwent treatment to rid herself of the heroin habit, and Carlisle followed suit. After the drug treatment, the band recruited a replacement for the now-departed Jane Wiedlin, and finally selected Paula Jean Brown as their new bassist, with Valentine moving to rhythm guitar. They played the 1985 Rock in Rio festival with this new lineup, but personality conflicts soon led to the band's breakup.

Belinda Carlisle had a successful solo career for most of the late 1980s, while Wiedlin did some recording and acting. Charlotte Caffey worked with Carlisle and then in 1990 formed a band called the Graces for Perfect View.

In 1990, Wiedlin organized a reunion that began with a benefit for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), and again in 1994, when they released Return of the Valley of the Go-Go's. In 2001, they released an album of new material entitled God Bless the Go-Go's. They have since decided to continue performing and recording together.

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