The Go-Go’s are comprised of the following band members: Lead singer Belinda Carlisle, lead guitar and keyboard player Charlotte Caffey, bassist Kathy Valentine, drummer Gina Schock, and Jane Wiedlin on rhythm guitar. Currently airing on Showtime, “The Go Go’s” is a comprehensive documentary which charts the band’s inception in Los Angeles, California in 1978, up to the present. (As an aside: Elissa Bello was the band’s original drummer and Margot Olaverra was the original bassist, before the band achieved stardom. Furthermore, for a short time, Paula Jean Brown was in the band, when Jane Wiedlin left the group over creative differences).
The group has the distinction of becoming the first successful all female band to not only write their own songs, but also play their own instruments. Unlike other successful female acts that came before them, The Go-Go’s were not put together by a management company. The viewer will learn about The Go-Go’s humble beginnings performing at venues where they might draw a crowd of twenty people. In the early 1980s that would change, and the band played arenas and concert venues, where thousands rocked to their songs and an equal number of fans were turned away, because tickets sold out within minutes of going on sale. The Go Go’s debut album “Beauty and the Beat,” released on the I.R.S. (International Record Syndicate) label on July 8, 1981, reached No.1 on the Billboard 200 chart where it stayed for six weeks. The group’s success was not just with their American fan base, The Go Go’s also achieved international fame. (As an aside The Go-Go’s were nominated at the 24th Annual Grammy Awards for the Best New Artist Award. The group lost to two time Grammy winner Sheena Easton).
Featured throughout the documentary’s 98 minute runtime are candid interviews with the band members, as well as others. For example, Gina Canzoneri, the band’s manager for many years. She was replaced with a management company, with many clients, something, which, over time, the band would collectively come to regret. For fans of the group, stories behind how some of the band’s hits were written, such as “We Got the Beat” is discussed, as well as the making of the music video for the song “Our Lips Are Sealed.”
The documentary premiered on January 24, 2020 at the Sundance Film Festival. The film was directed by Emmy nominee Alison Ellwood (American High).
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has glaringly kept the Go-Go’s out, despite stellar album sales. Furthermore, and perhaps an even more important reason the band deserves to be inducted, is their significance to music history. Highly recommended for fans of the band and those who enjoying learning about music history.