The Go-Gos: A Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Band

The Go-Gos were the first and only all-female who both wrote their own songs and played their own music to have an album hit number one on the Billboard charts. It’s hard deciding which is more insane: their amazing achievements, or that they still aren’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


by Sydney Waldron, Design Editor


When most think of The Go-Gos they imagine their hits like “Vacation,” and “Our Lips are Sealed,” with their pop-like melodies and their catchy lyrics. However, the Go-Gos were so much more than that. They were a punk feminist group that helped to bring out women’s authentic voices. They were also the first and only all-female who both wrote their own songs and played their own music to have an album hit number one on the Billboard charts. It’s hard deciding which is more unbelievable: their amazing achievements or that they still aren’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

While there were certainly great female bands before the Go-Gos, like the Slits and the Runaways, The Go-Gos were the only all female group to both write their own songs and sing their own music and were even managed by a female friend. 

By having this all-female band together, they really showed the music industry and the world that women could really do it all by themselves and that they didn’t need a male songwriter or manager. Also by having all the writing, instruments and singing done by women, it showed women’s voices to be completely unfiltered by any men, this is something that in music had never really been done before. 

While many picture The Go-Gos as a pop band, they actually started out in the L.A. punk movement of the late 70s. This may surprise some because the punk movement has a bad rap for being sexist and excluding women from their movement. However, in L.A. at the peak of the punk scene, many women found a voice and acceptance in a time where women weren’t really encouraged to do so. 

Belinda Carlisle and Jane Wiedlin meet in the punk scene, and despite not even being musicians, started The Go-Go’s. The lack of organization and expertise they have seems to represent the true origin and freedom of the punk scene, where the crappier the music was the better. 

Their band took a turn when trained musician Charlotte Caffey joined their band and along with knowledge of music and instruments also brought more pop like melodies to their raw punk sound.  This was super important because without the more polished sound Caffey brought The Go-Gos would’ve become lost along with all the other punk bands of the 70s.

Caffey would go on to write many of The Go-Go’s songs including, “We got the Beat,”which she took inspiration for the melody from the intro to the “Twilight zone”.

In 1979, Gina Shock joined the band as the drummer and helped the band become focussed with  longer practice times and more focus.  I personally love Shock’s ambition, and think her toughness helped to make the band better.

With an addition of Kathy Valentine on bass in 1981 the band was complete. That same year they released “Beauty in the Beat’.  This album is one of my favorites of all time. I have spent many hours blaring it in my room as my poor parents can attest to. The fun upbeat melody and catchy but not cheesy lyrics just make me want to get up and dance.

This album was a perfect blend of the pop and punk movement: with its lyrics and dancible melodies. Naturally the world fell in love with not just the album, but the Go-Go’s themselves.

The album sorted through the Billboard charts, with the most popular songs of the album being “We got the Beat,” and “Our Lips our Sealed.” Both of these songs found their way in the Billboards top 100. 

The Go-Gos through the 80s played the hottest punk clubs and played alongside some of the greatest punk bands. Some of the most notable were the Clash, The Police, Joan Jetts and The BlackHearts and INXs. All of which have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, expect INXS. 

While I love all the bands listed above with my whole heart it’s hard for me to find  a reason that they deserve to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of fame more than the Go-Gos. The Go-Gos certainly had more commercial success, with the next best being The Clash who’s best album “London Calling” only reached 27 on the Billboard pop charts. Not only were the Go-Go’s loved by many, but also helped to pioneer a new sound of punk and pop. They have more than earned their spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

While women often get told you can do anything a man does,it’s much easier said than done. The real world of sexism, especially in the entertainment industry. Many belittle women’s issues because we “already have the 19th amendment,” and our work is done. This seriously harms my view of myself because if I already have everything I need then aren’t I seen as equal to many of my male counterparts? This leads me to question whether I am personally just not good enough. 

The Go-Gos are a perfect example of sexism still being present in our world today because despite breaking glass ceilings, not only in the punk movement but in the music industry itself. They set records both with their albums and songs still can’t get recognized in the Rock and Roll hall of fame.