Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Go-Go's put out 'Beauty' reissue and tour America

The first time I became acquainted with the Go-Go's music was during the early days of MTV and that iconic music video for "Our Lips Are Sealed." 

All five ladies look like they're having a blast rolling down the streets of L.A. in a convertible, stopping to go inside a lingerie shop on N. La Cienega Blvd., then heading down Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards to frolic in a water fountain across from the Beverly Hilton Hotel (where they hoped to get arrested and include it amidst the footage!).

Soon after, I heard the song scale up the Billboard chart via DJ Kasey Casem's syndicated weekly radio countdown show, "American Top 40." The single went to No. 20 and was a fine taster for the Go-Go's solid debut album, Beauty and the Beat.

Released on I.R.S. Records in July 1981, it was produced by Rob Freeman and Richard Gottehrer (the latter had penned "My Boyfriend's Back" and "I Want Candy," co-founded Sire Records in the '60s and recorded Blondie in the '70s). The album was a bright mix of harmonious, hook-laden pop and surf rock - with some dark tinges underneath the surface. 

By the fall, Beauty and the Beat reached the pole position and became the first multi-platinum chart topping debut primarily written (The Specials' Terry Hall and Plimsouls' Peter Case lent a hand on two tracks) and recorded by female musicians. Later, "We Got the Beat" would stay at No. 2 for nearly a month.

This week, Capitol Records put out a new, digitally remastered 30th Anniversary Edition of Beauty and the Beat, available in a 2 CD package and in two digital collections featuring the remastered original album plus exclusive, previously unreleased concert audio recordings from 1981. The remastered original album is also out on pink vinyl (now that would be great to have) with replicated original artwork.

Featuring pink and sky blue-colored artwork, the booklet includes lyrics, a photo of a handwritten setlist and brief recollections from each member. I agree with guitarist Charlotte Caffey, who says the album doesn't sound dated in 2011 because they used classic sounds and didn't succumb to using trendy '80s techniques. Guitarist Jane Wiedlin disagrees, noting the album "sounds like the period it's from, but the songs are still good." 

Fascinating fact for fans from the liner notes: Wiedlin points out that Gottehrer made the group play slower than accustomed to in the studio and they insisted he speed up the multi-track mixes. As a result, people trying to play along on guitar usually have a hard time, because the songs are a semi-tone off the key they were actually played in.

While listening to the remaster, the staccato guitars on "This Town," split channel harmonies of "Tonite" and beefy drum work throughout "We Got the Beat," stand out more than ever. 

Disc 2 is a scrappy, no frills live show from Boston's Metro club, recorded on Aug. 20, 1981. Among the setlist are their covers of "Let's Have a Party" (popularized by Elvis Presley), the Shangri-La's "(Remember) Walking in the Sand" and the Capitols' "Cool Jerk." Then there's an early version of "Vacation," with slightly different lyrics and arrangement.
The Go-Go’s - Caffey, Wiedlin, lead singer Belinda Carlisle, drummer Gina Schock and bassist Kathy Valentine - will hit the concert trail soon for their "Ladies Gone Wild" national U.S. tour. It will include a special LA homecoming show at the Greek Theater on August 17, Carlisle's birthday. Come August, the Go-Go’s will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Last summer, the Go-Go’s originally scheduled a farewell tour, which was canceled after guitarist Jane Wiedlin needed knee surgery following a hiking fall. With time to reconsider, the musicians say they will continue into the future, which is good news for fans.


29         Hershey , PA                  Hershey Theater


1          Morristown , NJ              Community Theater at Mayo Center

3          New York , NY                Irving Plaza

4          Atlantic City , NJ             House of Blues

5          Mashantucket , CT          MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods

7          Westbury , NY                Theater at Westbury

9          Boston, MA                     Bank of America Pavilion (w/ the B-52s)

10         Vienna , VA                    Wolf Trap for the Performing Arts

11         Orlando , FL                   Universal Studios Florida – Music Plaza Stage

14         Apple Valley , MN           Zoo Amphitheater

16         Clarkston , MI                 DTE Energy Music Theater (w/ the B-52s)

17         Highland Park , IL           Ravinia Festival (w/ the B-52s)

18         Kettering , OH                Fraze Pavilion (w/ the B-52s)


12         Vancouver , BC               Commodore Ballroom

13         Portland , OR                 Oregon Zoo Amphitheatre

14         Seattle , WA                  Woodland Park Zoo

16         San Francisco , CA        The Fillmore

17         Los Angeles , CA           The Greek Theater

20         Temecula, CA                 Pechanga Resort & Casino

23         Aspen , CO                    Belly Up

24         Denver , CO                    Ogden Theater

26         Dallas , TX                      House of Blues

27         Houston , TX                   House of Blues

28         Austin , TX                     Paramount Theater

May 24 Dancing with the Stars - season finale
June 3 Good Morning America - summer concert series

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