I’ve been bitching about the Go-Go’s not being in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for years. They, along with Pete Townshend solo, Smashing Pumpkins and Tommy James and the Shondells should’ve been first-ballot inductees, but nope, Bon Jovi is in there instead.
Now that I’ve ranted, let me tell you about The Go-Go’s, a super fine documentary from director Alison Ellwood that covers the band from their punk rock days up until the present. Yes, the group only had four albums, but when you are talking about trailblazers, you have to put the Go-Go's at the forefront of rock and roll history.
The first all-girl band that played their own instruments to have a number one album (the classic Beauty and the Beat) started from the L.A. punk rock scene, and they were one sloppy band. Belinda Carlisle, Jane Wiedlin, Charlotte Caffey started in the original group, with bassist Kathy Valentine and drummer Gina Schock starting soon thereafter. After witnessing a totally shitty Sex Pistols show, the girls decided that they should tighten up their act, and the pristine pop sounds of “Our Lips Are Sealed” and “We Got the Beat” soon arrived.
Ellwood, with full participation from the band, culls together great archival audio and video, along with fun interviews, to tell their stories. Caffey’s drug addiction, Schock’s health scare, and Wiedlin pulling a Pete Townshend and temporarily leaving the band did a lot to stall their momentum, but they have reformed many times over the years. They had a Broadway show before the pandemic, and current plans for more touring and music, so they have not called it quits.
And, as this film proves over and over again, it’s time the band gets their place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame if that institution wants to be regarded as anything close to relevant. They were the first, they were one of the best, and their music is timeless. Long live the Go-Go's!