Fifteen years after becoming eligible for induction, and on their first time even appearing on a ballot, the Go-Go’s finally entered the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on Saturday night.
One of the pioneering New Wave groups of the Eighties, the Go-Go’s left an indelible mark on the decade with the release of their 1981 debut, Beauty and the Beat, and hits like “Our Lips Are Sealed, “We Got the Beat,” “Vacation” and “Head Over Heels.” The band has been frank about how sexism likely played a role in their long overdue induction into the Hall of Fame. In an interview with Rolling Stone, drummer Gina Schock noted how a recent documentary may have also helped add some much needed context to their impressive, if not often tumultuous, career.
“Our story had gotten overshadowed by, ‘Oh, they were crazy. They were wild. They got high. They broke up,’” Schock said. “So what? All bands do that stuff. Our story, our real story, our songs, our success, our material, coming from the punk scene in L.A., that was kind of obscured by the other stuff.”
Guitarist Jane Wiedlin added, “We knew that, for whatever reason, we weren’t one of the popular kids in class when it came to this whole Rock & Roll Hall of Fame thing, for a long time. And so I just didn’t think about it ever. I was like, ‘For whatever reason, they just don’t like us and they never will.’ And then everything shifted and there became this possibility that it might happen.”
Read the band’s induction speech:
Kathy Valentine (bass): I speak for all the Go-Go’s when I say we are so happy and excited and proud to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Being in a band is a trip. It’s not like anything else — it’s kind of like being married. In our case, a polygamist same-sex marriage that ends up getting divorced and remarried and divorced and remarried. Our band has been, at different times, like the most rinky-dink traveling circus you could ever imagine, like a snarling wolf pack, and very much like family. And that we are a sisterhood and women is significant. We became a commercially successful band, except we started at the bottom where all rock & roll bands start, and we are who we are, because our music found its way into our fans’ hearts. By recognizing our achievement, the Rock Hall celebrates possibility, the kind of possibility that creates hopeful dreamers. By honoring our historical contribution, the doors to this establishment have opened wider and the Go-Go’s will be advocating for the inclusion of more women. Women who have paved the way for us and others. Women who started bands, who sing and write songs, who excel on their instruments, who make and produce records. Because here is the thing: There would not be less of us if more of us were visible…
Gina Schock (drums):This is a long time coming, and you know, we all have people we want to thank, but I decided to thank our families because without them, we’d be fucked. … I want to thank all our families, especially our moms and dads who supported us and allowed us to follow our dreams. They were there from the start, even during our journey up until now, whether they’re here or not, or upstairs, and they share this, the whole journey. Our family of musicians who are out there, you’re everywhere. You are part of us. We are part of you. We all are what makes things like this happen. How cool is this? We’re absolutely grateful for all the love we’ve got over the years from our family here of musicians and from our parents. Thanks a lot, you guys.
Belinda Carlisle (lead vocals): I have to read this, because I’m too nervous. So we have had so much love and guidance in our 43 years together. But these people really…the following people really stand out and will always be in our hearts. Ginger Canzoneri, our first manager who was like our mom. Bradford Cobb, who was always kind, sweet and smart. Bruce Patron somewhere up there, we love you and he will always be in our hearts and we will always love you. I’m so emotional…. And our cheerleader and manager Art Cisneros. He put up with so much.
Charlotte Caffrey (guitar/keys): When we were a band unable to get a record deal, IRS Records took a chance on us. Miles Copeland, you are a mad genius. … All the people at A&M Records, we would never have gotten where we did without your passion and hard work. Our first producer, Richard Gottehrer, heard something in us that many other people didn’t, and last but not least, our beloved crew… Thank you for taking care of us onstage and on the road. Love and thanks to you all.
Jane Wiedlin (guitar): We’ve been at it for 43 years, so far. Go figure. In this millennium, I don’t think anyone has had more of an impact on our band’s career, our legacy, than the director Allison Ellwood. She really understood us and introduced the world to a band, you know, that really was kind of maybe fading away or whatever, and then she brought it all right back and we’re so grateful to her. But the people we are most grateful to of all are the fans who have been with us for four decades. We love you guys. We wouldn’t be anything without you. Thank you so much for this honor. It’s just unbelievable.