a kinetic effervescence, with a pulse that shimmered and spangled

The Go-Go’s became the first all-female band — who played their own instruments and wrote their own songs — to have a No. 1 album in America. Why aren’t they in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
– LA Weekly: you’re mostly a bunch of New Yorkers, and New Yorkers have always treated L.A. punk like the bastard stepchild of the New York and London scenes.
– Belinda Carlisle: It’s sexist or it’s political.
– Rolling Stone: Is it because they complained about the time they were on the cover?
Their new documentary makes the case that they very much deserve to be there. posted by jessamyn (37 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
zomg Go-Go’s forever

fuck the RRHOF

and justice for LL Cool J while we’re at it
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 1:32 PM on August 23 [7 favorites]

Oral History: How The Go-Go’s Perfected Pop-Punk

On our very first tour, we went and played some clubs in the South. As we were walking up to the venue, we saw the marquee, and it said “GO-GO GIRLS,” and we were like, “What the f*** is that?! Oh my God, they thought we were gonna strip or something!” Man, were they so disappointed. We walk up there, and here’s these bedraggled girls who are like, road-tired and more than likely hungover. We get up onstage and just rip through one of our sets. It’s kind of funny, because people didn’t know what to expect, and we showed them. We’re the best when we’re together like that. When we splinter within the group for whatever reason, it’s really painful, but when we’re us against the world, it’s the best.
(Charlotte Caffey)
posted by chavenet at 1:40 PM on August 23 [13 favorites]
I saw them open for The Police, from pretty close up. They looked terrified; I think it was one of their first arena shows.
posted by thelonius at 1:54 PM on August 23 [6 favorites]
Kind of a weird way to frame what seems like a really good documentary on the band. It sounds like it’s a pretty teeny axe any of them are willing to grind, and I have doubts the status as inductees has any real significant meaning. And the movie doesn’t seem to beat that drum in a meaningful way.

Related, Kathy Valentine on WTF podcast last March.
posted by 2N2222 at 2:07 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]

The RRHOF isn’t really strong on punk bands in general, but LA Weekly might have a point.

Who’s not in the HOF? Aside from The Go-Go’s, X, Black Flag, The Germs, The Minutemen, and Bad Religion.

Who is? The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
posted by box at 2:27 PM on August 23 [10 favorites]

Kind of a weird way to frame what seems like a really good documentary on the band.

I saw the documentary and really enjoyed it, but I also think it’s pretty clear that the director of that movie very much thought that the band deserved to be in the RRHF and there’s a pretty big bit to that effect in the movie, if not by the band members. And when I was done watching it, that was what I wanted to learn about. And so here is the post.

I saw Kathy Valentine talking on the Seventh Inning Stretch (the FB Live show where the Red Sox Organist takes requests and has special guests) and it was definitely something she brought up during her pretty short guest spot.
posted by jessamyn at 2:40 PM on August 23 [6 favorites]

When he was around 22 or so, my dad managed one of the buildings the Go-Gos used to practice in before they got big. One night they were being a little too loud, so my dad had to go over and check things out. He was the quintessential Pointdexter: nice white shirt, plain tie, pocket protector, clipboard, etc. He had also just cut his ultra long waist length hippie hair since his boss refused to stop calling him the unibomber.

As he approached the unit where the girls were practicing, he saw that the door was open and that a few people were milling about in an effort to get some airflow going. Just as my dad was about to go inside and politely ask everyone to clear out, someone brushed up against him and he had to scoot back into the wall behind him to let them pass.

It was Belinda Carlisle. And boy, was she cute.

She immediately turned around. “Oh, I am so sorry, I didn’t see you, I –” Then she stopped, apparently transfixed, and reached out to touch my dad’s hair.

“Oh. My. God. Your hair… Is PERFECT! Don’t move.” She toyed with his bangs for a moment, tucked one behind his ear, tugged on her own locks in mild distress, and disappeared into the band room without another word.

This is one of his favorite memories.

It majorly cancels out the time he discovered that another tenant in a different building had been crushed to death in his storage unit by a giant bookcase and that that’s why blood was seeping into the unit below. 🙂
posted by Kitchen Witch at 2:57 PM on August 23 [37 favorites]

Why aren’t they in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

Because it was created simply to give Cleveland a tourist destination?
BTW I love the Go-Gos
posted by Rash at 2:57 PM on August 23 [3 favorites]

If I ever meet Belinda Carlisle, I intend to ask her who it is that says that in Heaven, love comes first; i.e. are we talking about theologians or greeting-card copywriters or someone else?
posted by acb at 3:11 PM on August 23 [2 favorites]
My dad would also like to claim credit for the beauty marks that Belinda would later wear on stage because he has freckles and in addition to Belinda admiring his hair she also tapped a few of those freckles and said, “Aha! I like these too!”

More components of this memory may be forthcoming as apparently I am doing a disservice to it in my retellings
posted by Kitchen Witch at 3:19 PM on August 23 [7 favorites]

Lost my virginity to Our Lips Are Sealed. Glad it wasn’t We Got the Beat.
posted by Hey, Zeus! at 3:37 PM on August 23 [5 favorites]
He had also just cut his ultra long waist length hippie hair since his boss refused to stop calling him the unibomber.

Your dad sounds great and imma let you finish, but his boss had one of the best lines of all time. Of all time.
posted by chavenet at 3:40 PM on August 23 [2 favorites]

Belinda Carlisle’s autobiography is well worth the read, BTW.
posted by signal at 4:04 PM on August 23 [2 favorites]
Lost my virginity to Our Lips Are Sealed.

I appreciate the contradiction between the first three words and the last four.

Who’s not in the HOF? Aside from The Go-Go’s, X, Black Flag, The Germs, The Minutemen, and Bad Religion.

I’ve never found the RRHOF to be at all relevant and this gets at why. I do hope the Go-Gos get the recognition they deserve.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:17 PM on August 23 [3 favorites]

How many people really care about the Hall of Fame at this point?

I wasn’t expecting much, but I was pretty disappointed. I learned a lot more about Rock and Roll at the Museum of African American History. The most worthwhile thing at the RRHOF is the exhibit on the roots of Rock and Roll and the occasional inclusion of someone interesting in the Hall of Fame, like Sister Rosetta Tharp or Les Paul.

Got some good things at the gift store, though.
posted by acrasis at 4:20 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]

Thank you for the reminder I wanted to watch this documentary, that was an excellent use of a Sunday afternoon too hot to go outside.

This is one of those extremely visceral bands for me. I was 9 in 1981 and Beauty and the Beat was one of the first albums I bought. There’s almost no point in my growing-up years and 20s that can’t be identified with a Go-Go’s or Carlisle or Wiedlin song.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:36 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]

Saw the Go-Gos back in the day up at Purdue. A Flock of Seagulls opened for them. Great night.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:48 PM on August 23 [4 favorites]
The problem with any Hall of Fame is that after (usually) very worthy initial class, it gets bogged down in ‘but are they truly great like that initial class was?’
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 4:57 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]
The Rock Hall is an irrelevant institution. That said, the first Go-Go’s album is just pure gold from start to finish. One of my all-time favorite new-wave records.
posted by TrialByMedia at 6:18 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]
In the 1980 my brother got a boom box and a Go-Go’s tape was one of like three tapes he owned. I heard it a lot. For years since then I dismissed the Go-Gos as 80s bubblegum music but a couple years ago I started reading about them and listening to them and, man, what a great band they are.

I don’t have Showtime so I’ll have to wait for the doc to be available elsewhere but I’m looking forward to watching it.
posted by bondcliff at 6:31 PM on August 23

I was a huge Go-Go’s fan back in the day and still love their music. It’s criminal they are not in the RRHOF. Can’t wait to see the documentary, all the reviews I’ve read have been very positive.
posted by pjsky at 6:41 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]
The RRHOF seems at this point to exist (any tourism benefit to Cleveland aside) to spawn arguments about who isn’t in it and why. It may be a great place, but in my mind it’s a somewhat largish Hard Rock Cafe, with the requisite guitars and gold lame jackets or whatever, and I’m not sure that I’d want to brave Cleveland traffic to visit it if I happened to be in or near that corner of Ohio.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:12 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]
There are many acts in the RRHOF who may be fine, entertaining musicians but not what I would consider RnR by any stretch of the imagination.

Given that, yes, it’s absurd that the Go-Gos aren’t.
posted by pmurray63 at 7:18 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]

Growing up, I don’t think anything music-related gave me as much joy as getting the clapping right on Head Over Heels.
posted by Mchelly at 7:22 PM on August 23 [4 favorites]
“Has the Whole World Lost Its Head” is on heavy rotation these days.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:35 PM on August 23
Forget everyone else and induct Kitchen Witch’s Dad to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:10 PM on August 23 [4 favorites]
Lost my virginity to Our Lips Are Sealed.

If I were in this situation, I wouldn’t mention the song, but merely that I lost my virginity to the Go-Gos. Technically still correct, and it will get you some wondering glances.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:22 PM on August 23 [2 favorites]

I saw them open for The Police at Madison Square Garden and loved them ever since.
posted by cazoo at 8:49 PM on August 23
….in addition to Belinda admiring his hair she also tapped a few of those freckles and said, “Aha! I like these too!”

Skipping over the backstory of how I ended up in a small entourage of family and friends for a three-day run of Go-Go’s shows, my first encounter with Jane Wiedlin was when she bounce-sprinted across the room, grabbed my cheeks and squealed, “Whoa, just LOOK at those dimples!” I turned ten shades of red, then we both broke into a fit of contagious laughter–the perfect icebreaker to help me feel welcome. Great memories.
posted by prinado at 9:52 PM on August 23 [4 favorites]

Saw that same tour in Minneapolis. It was a good show.
posted by Windopaene at 9:52 PM on August 23
Even before I knew about to documentary, this summer (from around my birthday in April on) has been dominated by the Go Go’s. I don’t know why. Hadn’t really thought about them in forever and then I just got reminded how damn awesome they were in those first albums and yeah, how completely SoCal they sound
posted by drewbage1847 at 9:57 PM on August 23
Saw them in October 1982, outdoors at The Muny in St. Louis. Pretty good show! I always liked Charlotte best, but they were all interesting in their own ways.

As for the Hall of Fame, I suppose their catalog is smaller than plenty of other prominent bands, but they’re not one-hit wonders, either. And being the first all-female band to have a #1 album ought to count for something, so sure, put ’em in there.
posted by Nat “King” Cole Porter Wagoner at 10:56 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]

How the Go-Go’s Found Their Beat: An Oral History
posted by kliuless at 10:56 PM on August 23
I’d never really listened to the Go-Go’s. Now I’m a fan. Thanks metafilter.

Jane Wiedlin was the singing telegram in Clue and Joan of Arc in Bill and Ted.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:01 PM on August 23

I like the Go-Go’s and also those gals apparently had some significant boundary issues around touching strangers that I hope have been resolved. In 2020 that shit (tapping freckles and squeezing cheeks) reads creepy AF however warmly received at the time by those two specific strangers. Signed, Don’t Touch Me There.
posted by Bella Donna at 1:11 AM on August 24
Why aren’t they in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

Not a single number one single.
posted by fairmettle at 3:14 AM on August 24

Having a number one single has nothing to do with it.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 3:58 AM on August 24

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