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Rock Rewind: The Go-Go’s “We Got the Beat”

It’s interesting how sometimes the simplest songs can have the greatest impact. Take, for example, “We Got the Beat,” the 2-and-a-half minute song that broke an all-girl punk/new wave band out of obscurity, brought them worldwide fame and helped them make music history.

The Go-Go’s (fronted by Belinda Carlisle) began in LA’s punk scene in 1978, but the group (and their song “We Got the Beat” in demo form) first began getting attention outside of LA by touring with ska band Madness in the UK, as the demo actually made charted in the UK. The band signed to I.R.S. records in 1981 and re-recorded the song for their debut album Beauty and the Beat. While the album’s first single “Our Lips Our Sealed” saw moderate chart success, “We Got the Beat” took them over the top. The song shot to Number 2 on the Hot 100 chart in 1982; the album followed suit, hitting Number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, staying at the top for six weeks, and ultimately going triple platinum. By this success, the Go-Go’s made history, becoming the first all-female band who played their own instruments to rise to the top of the U.S. charts.

Released right at the beginning of the MTV era, the music video for “We Got the Beat” is (and always has been) a simple live performance. Not only did MTV give it plenty of exposure, but it also found its way into the film history archives as part of the opening sequence for the 1982 flick Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

Infighting and drug addiction eventually led to the breakup of The Go-Go’s in 1985. Lead singer Belinda Carlisle went on to find more success as a solo artist during the remaining part of the 1980s, while the other band mates continued working the scene in various capacities. The Go-Go’s have reunited several times, and have been performing fairly regularly since 1999.

That said—this is the song that got them there. Enjoy!

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About the Author


Tim Ferrar's interest in pop and rock started as a child, listening to Top-40 radio for hours on end while playing air guitar in his bedroom. Eventually air guitar led to electric guitar, and Tim began playing in bands and writing his own songs. With an admitted weakness for "a great hook or a great guitar riff," Tim's musical tastes are broad and varied, ranging from Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga on the pop side to Bon Jovi and Foo Fighters on the rock side- making him the ideal guy to cover our Rock and Pop categories. By day, Tim is a mild-mannered accountant in Chicago. By night, he rocks out on electric guitar in a cover band in various clubs around town- much to the surprise of some of his clients.

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