Beauty and the Beat (The Go-Go's album)

Beauty and the Beat is the debut album from Californian new wave band the Go-Go's. Released in 1981 on the I.R.S. Records label, the album was preceded by the single and signature song "We Got the Beat", which became a club hit in Europe and, later, the United States. When the album was eventually released, it steadily climbed the Billboard 200 chart, ultimately peaking at number one, where it remained for six consecutive weeks,[1] ranking second among Billboard's Top 100 albums of 1981. The LP sold in excess of two million copies to reach double platinum status,[2] making it one of the most successful debut albums of all time. Critically acclaimed, it has been described as one of the "cornerstone albums of American new wave".[3]

Beauty and the Beat
The Go-Go'sBeautyandtheBeatalbumcover.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJuly 8, 1981 (1981-07-08)
StudioPenny Lane, Record Plant and Sound Mixers, New York City
The Go-Go's chronology
Beauty and the Beat
Singles from Beauty and the Beat
  1. "We Got the Beat" / "How Much More"
    Released: May 1981
  2. "Our Lips Are Sealed" / "Surfing and Spying"
    Released: July 1981
  3. "Automatic" / "Tonite"
    Released: February 1982

The title is a play on the European fairy tale "Beauty and the Beast".


In the late 1970s, Belinda Carlisle, Jane Wiedlin, and Margot Olavarria met while attending punk rock shows in California.[4] The three attended the Sex Pistols' final performance in San Francisco in January 1978, and afterwards were inspired to form their own band.[5] Although none of them actually knew how to play instruments, they quickly learned, and began playing in Hollywood nightclubs under the name the Go-Go's.[5] Carlisle was the singer, Wiedlin played rhythm guitar, Olavarria played bass, and the newly added Elissa Bello played drums.[4] A few months later, Charlotte Caffey joined the band as the lead guitarist, as she had experience writing music with other groups such as the Eyes.[4] The Go-Go's developed a reputation within the Hollywood punk scene, and were invited to open for the band Madness on a UK tour. While on tour, the Go-Go's recorded an extended play for Stiff Records.[5]

Tensions between band members resulted in Bello and Olavarria leaving the Go-Go's; they were replaced by drummer Gina Schock and bassist Kathy Valentine.[5] Around this time, the Go-Go's began to move toward a more pop rock driven sound, influenced by the burgeoning new wave genre.[6] Although the band's reputation continued to grow, they were unable to attract attention from major record labels. At a special showcase for A&R representatives at the Starwood, the Go-Go's did not get a single offer.[6] Carlisle believes this was because record executives were sexist, and did not want to sign an all-female band.[7] The only label that expressed interest was the indie label I.R.S. Records. In a 1982 Rolling Stone interview, Valentine said: "IRS was where you went if you couldn't get a deal with a real label."[8] On April 1, 1981, I.R.S. cofounder Miles Copeland III signed the Go-Go's.[6]

In The Go-Go’s documentary, Carlisle claimed to have come up with the idea for the album cover, saying she wanted something “timeless and… incognito”. The towels the band used for the shoot were returned to the Macy’s they were bought from earlier that day.


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [9]
American Songwriter     [3]
The Irish Times     [10]
Mojo     [11]
Record Collector     [13]
Rolling Stone     [14]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [15]
Spin Alternative Record Guide10/10[16]
The Village VoiceB+[17]

Beauty and the Beat was released to reviews that, while positive, were not outstanding, especially in light of its eventual summit of the album charts. Robert Christgau found the album good and wrote "this one's got hooks" in his column in The Village Voice,[17] while Jon Pareles in Rolling Stone called it a "solid, likable debut".[14] The album placed 10th on the annual Pazz & Jop critics' poll in The Village Voice for 1981.[18]

The album has since gained in regard. AllMusic editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine called Beauty and the Beat "one of the cornerstone albums of new wave" and praised its "catchy hooks and an exuberant sense of fun",[9] while Rolling Stone's Warren Zanes wrote that the band "showed that elemental pop rock & roll remained as viable as ever."[19]

Eric Allen of American Songwriter, reviewing the album's 2011 deluxe edition, wrote that Beauty and the Beat is "one of the 1980s cornerstone albums of American new wave" and "still holds up surprisingly well thirty years later, which is a testament to the energetic spirit captured in this musical Zeitgeist of the 80s"; on the other hand, it is also "a reminder that the Go-Go's were never able to equal or surpass the success of this landmark debut".[3]

"When I was about seven, I discovered the Go-Go's," said American actress and author Drew Barrymore in an essay published by the magazine V. "I went out and bought their album Beauty and the Beat and, as the vinyl twirled, my whole world changed. I stared at the girls on the cover like they were a gateway to cool. The fact that they were girls made me feel not only invited but more important – like I could be a badass too. I looked over to my Pippi Longstocking poster on the wall and thought, Yes! I like girls who rock!"[20]


In 2003, Beauty and the Beat was ranked number 413 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time,[21] and it later placed on updates of the list at number 414 (in 2012)[22] and at number 400 (in 2020).[23] The album opener, "Our Lips Are Sealed", has been covered over the years by numerous artists, and remains a staple of 1980s playlists. It has been cited in numerous lists of the greatest songs,[24] including Rolling Stone's 2000 list of the 100 greatest pop songs.[25] "We Got the Beat" was named one of the "500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll" by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.[26]

Capitol and I.R.S. released a 30th anniversary deluxe edition of Beauty and the Beat digitally and on CD on May 17, 2011.[27] Disc one features the remastered original album while disc two contains an entire live show, recorded at the Metro Club in Boston on August 20, 1981. Both Vacation (1982) and Talk Show (1984) were previously issued in remastered CD form in 1999.

Track listingEdit

Side one
1."Our Lips Are Sealed"Jane Wiedlin, Terry Hall2:45
2."How Much More"Charlotte Caffey, Wiedlin3:06
3."Tonite"Caffey, Wiedlin, Peter Case3:35
4."Lust to Love"Caffey, Wiedlin4:04
5."This Town"Caffey, Wiedlin3:20
Side two
6."We Got the Beat"Caffey2:36
7."Fading Fast"Caffey3:41
9."You Can't Walk in Your Sleep (If You Can't Sleep)"Caffey, Wiedlin2:54
10."Skidmarks on My Heart"Caffey, Belinda Carlisle3:06
11."Can't Stop the World"Kathy Valentine3:20
30th Anniversary Bonus Disc: Metro Club, Boston – August 20, 1981
1."Skidmarks on My Heart"Caffey, Carlisle3:00
2."How Much More"Caffey, Wiedlin2:55
3."Tonite"Caffey, Weidlin, Case3:45
4."Fading Fast"Caffey3:19
5."London Boys"Wiedlin, Don Bolles2:31
6."Cool Jerk"Donald Storball3:21
8."Lust to Love"Caffey, Wiedlin3:48
9."Can't Stop the World"Valentine4:05
10."This Town"Caffey, Wiedlin2:02
11."You Can't Walk in Your Sleep (If You Can't Sleep)"Caffey, Wiedlin3:14
12."Our Lips Are Sealed"Wiedlin, Hall3:17
13."Let's Have a Party"Jessie Mae Robinson1:26
14."We Got the Beat"Caffey3:06
15."Surfing And Spying / Beatnik Beach"Caffey; Carlisle, Caffey4:10
16."Remember (Walking in the Sand)"Shadow Morton3:17
17."Vacation"Valentine, Caffey, Wiedlin3:06


Band membersEdit




Country Organization Year Sales
United States RIAA 1981 Double Platinum (+ 2,000,000)[2]
Canada CRIA 1981 Platinum (+ 100,000)[36]


Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
The Village Voice US The 1981 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll[18] 1982 10
Rolling Stone Germany Albums of the Year[37] 1982 No order
Spin US 100 Alternative Albums[37] 1990 91
Rolling Stone US 50 Essential Female Albums[37] 2002 36
KCPR DJs US Top 100 Records from the 80s [37] 2002 59
Rolling Stone US The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time[38] 2003 414
Blender US 500 CDs You Must Own Before You Die[37] 2003 No order
1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die US [39] 2005 No order


  1. ^ a b "Beauty and the Beat Billboard Albums". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-05-21.
  2. ^ a b "RIAA Searchable Database - search for "Go Go's"". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2013-05-21.
  3. ^ a b c Allen, Eric (May 22, 2011). "Go-Go's: Beauty and the Beat (30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)". American Songwriter. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c Gaar 1993, p. 272.
  5. ^ a b c d Schultz, Barbara (November 15, 2017). "Classic Tracks: The Go-Go's 'Our Lips Are Sealed'". Mix. Retrieved June 14, 2019.
  6. ^ a b c Gaar 1993, p. 273.
  7. ^ "The Go-Go's: Breaking barriers". CBS News Sunday Morning. July 22, 2018. Retrieved June 14, 2019.
  8. ^ Ryan, Kyle (September 17, 2013). "The Go-Go's made history with Beauty And The Beat—and barely survived it". The A.V. Club. Retrieved June 14, 2019.
  9. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Beauty and the Beat – The Go-Go's". AllMusic. Retrieved May 19, 2013.
  10. ^ Clayton-Lea, Tony (July 22, 2011). "The Go-Go's". The Irish Times. Retrieved March 18, 2017.
  11. ^ Bulley, Jenny (June 2016). "The Go-Go's: Beauty and the Beat". Mojo. No. 271. p. 111.
  12. ^ Moreland, Quinn (October 20, 2019). "The Go-Go's: Beauty and the Beat". Pitchfork. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
  13. ^ Elliott, Mark (June 2016). "The Go-Go's – Beauty And The Beat, Vacation, Talk Show". Record Collector. No. 454. Retrieved August 29, 2016.
  14. ^ a b Pareles, Jon (October 29, 1981). "The Go-Go's: Beauty And The Beat". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on June 15, 2009. Retrieved April 17, 2012.
  15. ^ Considine, J. D. (2004). "The Go-Go's". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 335. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  16. ^ Sheffield, Rob (1995). "Go-Go's". In Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig (eds.). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. pp. 169–70. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  17. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (October 5, 1981). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  18. ^ a b "The 1981 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice. February 1, 1982. Retrieved April 18, 2012.
  19. ^ Zanes, Warren (May 13, 2004). "The Go-Go's: Beauty And The Beat". Rolling Stone. No. 948. p. 77. Archived from the original on November 4, 2007. Retrieved August 12, 2007.
  20. ^ Barrymore, Drew (2012). "House Party". V. No. 75 ("Spring Preview" ed.).
  21. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time: Beauty and the Beat – Go-Go's". Rolling Stone. November 18, 2003. Archived from the original on December 20, 2010. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  22. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. May 31, 2012. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  23. ^ "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. September 22, 2020. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  24. ^ "Go-Go's: Our Lips Are Sealed". Acclaimed Music. Archived from the original on January 13, 2018. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
  25. ^ "Pop 100!: 100 Greatest Pop Songs". Rolling Stone. No. 855. December 7, 2000.
  26. ^ "Experience The Music: One Hit Wonders and The Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on April 8, 2011. Retrieved May 21, 2013.
  27. ^ "The Go-Go's 1981 Landmark Debut, 'Beauty and the Beat,' Remastered and Expanded for 30th Anniversary Edition to be Released May 17 by Capitol/I.R.S." (Press release). PR Newswire. April 26, 2011. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  28. ^ "Go-Go's - Beauty And The Beat". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-11-13.
  29. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 36, No. 5, March 13, 1982". Library and Archives Canada. 13 March 1982. Retrieved 2013-05-21.
  30. ^ "Go-Go's – Baeuty and the Beat (album)". Media Control Charts. Retrieved 2013-05-21.
  31. ^ "Forum - ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts - ALBUMS PRE 1989". ARIA Charts. Media Control Charts. Retrieved 2013-05-26.
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  33. ^ "Go-Gos". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2013-05-21.
  34. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 35, No. 25, January 30, 1982". Library and Archives Canada. 30 January 1982. Archived from the original on 11 September 2014. Retrieved 2013-05-21.
  35. ^ a b "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Top 100 Singles 1982". Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
  36. ^ "Gold Platinum Search for Beauty and the Beat". Music Canada. Retrieved 2013-05-21.
  37. ^ a b c d e "Go-Go's - Beauty and the Beat". Acclaimed Archived from the original on 2013-07-27. Retrieved 2013-05-22.
  38. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time - The Go-Go's, 'Beauty and the Beast'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2013-05-21.
  39. ^ AA.VV. (7 February 2006). Robert Dimery (ed.). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Universe Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84403-392-8.

External linksEdit