An all-woman band was unusual in the late 1970's and early 1980's. Record labels were skeptical that an all-female band could sell records and moreso because The Go-Go's considered themselves to be a punk band. Only one label took a chance on the band, I.R.S. Records. The Go-Go's signed with Miles Copeland's label on April 1, 1981. Each woman retained her music publishing rights.
Several things lined up to boost the Go-Go's to prominence. First was Richard Gotteher who produced their first album. He heard more pop than punk in their songs and had the band slow the tempo of their songs. Second was that MTv, the first all music television network launched in August 1981. MTv needed a constant flow of music films and videos. MTv put The Go-Go's first video "Our Lips Are Sealed" on heavy rotation. Finally Miles Copeland suggested that The Go-Go's be the opening act for The Police. While on the tour, the Beauty and the Beat album surpassed The Police album Ghost In the Machine on the Billboard chart and went on to #1. They were the first--and through 2021--the only all-woman group to write and record a #1 album.
The first cassette single (cassingle) was "Vacation" by The Go-Go's in 1982. Kathy Valentine wrote the song before she joined The Go-Go's. Most of the Go-Go's wrote songs. Charlotte Caffey contributed "We Got the Beat." Jane Weidlin penned "Our Lips Are Sealed." The problem with the publishing rights became apparent. The members who wrote more songs on an album got paid more than others. That was fair in one way as it recognized the songwriter, but simultaneously unfair because the arrangement and performance of each song was a group effort.
The Go-Go's understood that bands don't stay popular. They decided to make the most of their time in the spotlight with constant touring and recording when not on the road. By 1984 and the third album in three years, the stress and pay discrepancies drove the band apart. Jane left after the Talk Show tour.
On May 10, 1985 the Go-Go's announced they were disbanding. They didn't work together again for five years.
Beauty and the Beat was a double platinum album and Rolling Stone's #413 ranked album of its 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The follow-up album Talk Show was a gold album that was in the Top 10 albums, and the final album was a Top 20. They had two Top 10 singles and a total of five Top 40 singles.
In 2021 The Go-Go's were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
|Charlotte Caffey||guitar, keyboard|
|Gina Schock||drums, vocals|
|Jane Weidlin||guitar, vocals|
|Kathy Valentine||bass, vocals|
|Name||See associated acts|