Few musicians have as many endearing labels as Belinda Carlisle. Punk pioneer. LGBT advocate. Animal activist. Showtime documentary star. And soon we can add “Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member” to the list. The Go-Go’s have been selected for induction into the Cleveland-based Hall of Fame this year!
Though the band had been eligible for inclusion since 2006, when their album “Beauty and the Beat” hit its 25th anniversary, this was the first time The Go-Go’s had been included on the ballot. That’s an unforgivable omission for the ladies, who were the first all-woman band to write their own songs and play their own instruments on a No. 1 album.
“It was always really annoying not to even be recognized, because I get ballots to vote on every year and I would just stare at them and go, ‘Are you kidding me?'” Belinda recently told an interviewer. “Some of the names, I’m sorry, do not belong in there. So I would just write The Go-Go’s, check the box, and send it in. They kept sending me ballots!”
Belinda and her band took another step into the spotlight recently when the cable network Showtime produced a documentary on The Go-Go’s.
“Our story is so incredible, but it never hit home until I saw it on-screen,” Belinda told AARP in a February interview. “Our hair, our clothes — everyone looked like a million bucks. And I was amazed by the perseverance. And the music. The songs aren’t all fluffy and saccharine sweet. The story hadn’t really been told properly before.”
When Belinda takes the stage on The 80s Cruise — usually barefoot and ready to charm based on her previous voyage with us back in 2017 — expect a good mix of songs from her Go-Go’s years as well as a slew of her solo hits, including “Mad About You,” “I Get Weak,” “Circle in the Sand” and the chart-topping “Heaven is a Place on Earth.”
Here are just a few more things you might not have known about Belinda Carlisle:
1. HER NAME: Belinda was named after her mom’s favorite movie, “Johnny Belinda,” a 1948 movie starring Jane Wyman, who won an Oscar for her performance. Speaking of acting, Belinda has one film credit to her name as an actress — she played a big band singer in the 1984 movie “Swing Shift,” starring Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell.
2. PUT TO PEN: Belinda’s 2010 autobiography “Lips Unsealed” revealed some cringe-worthy moments in the band’s history. During a U.K. tour with the ska band Madness, the punk fans showered the band with spit — a ritual known as gobbing. “It was horrible. I remember coming off crying and covered in snot,” she wrote. “It was lonely and it was dangerous, five little white girls from Southern California being thrown in with all these hard-core skinheads.”
3. PLAYBOY: Following the release of The Go-Go’s reunion album “God Bless The Go-Go’s,” Belinda posed for the cover and a nude spread inside Playboy magazine. In the accompanying interview, Belinda said she appeared in the magazine as a way to conquer her self-image problems. “It wasn’t until The Go-Go’s that my name was synonymous with plump, cute and chubby,” she told the interviewer.
4. FAST LANE: Though Belinda waged addiction battles with alcohol and cocaine early in her career, she’s been clean since 2005. She credits her practice of Nichiren Buddhism with helping maintain her sobriety.
5. FAVORITE AND LEAST FAVORITE: “Lust to Love” is Belinda’s favorite Go-Go’s song, she told Vulture.com back in March. “The lyrics to ‘Lust to Love’ are amazing and it captures our attitude towards romance in those early days, when we were in our late teens and early 20s.” Conversely, “Turn to You” is her least favorite. “Other band members love it and we’ve done it live through the years, but it’s really weird for me to sing it because it’s a weird melody,” she told Vulture.
(Steve Spears is the creator and co-host of the award-winning Stuck in the ’80s podcast. He along with Brad Williams emcee the Big 80s Trivia on each voyage of The 80s Cruise. Find their show on your favorite podcast app or via www.sit80s.com.)