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 reached number one on Billboard's Top LPs & Tape chart in March 1982, bolstered by its two big Hot 100 hit singles: "Our Lips Are Sealed" (no. 20) and "We Got the Beat" (no. 2), initially released in 1980, but in a different version. After a long and steady climb, Beauty and the Beat reached number one in the album chart dated March 6, 1982, the week before "We Got the Beat" entered the Top Ten of the Hot 100. The album stayed at the top for six consecutive weeks,[1] and ranked second in Billboard's year-end Top 100 of 1982 (behind the self-titled debut album of Asia). The LP sold in excess of two million copies, and was RIAA-certified double platinum,[2] qualifying it as 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 since she had experience writing music with other groups like 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 and 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 their 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 didn’t 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. Initially the album was released with a peach colored cover but the band was displeased with the look and later pressings were released with a blue cover.[9]


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [10]
American Songwriter     [3]
The Irish Times     [11]
Mojo     [12]
Record Collector     [14]
Rolling Stone     [15]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [16]
Spin Alternative Record Guide10/10[17]
The Village VoiceB+[18]

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,[18] while Jon Pareles in Rolling Stone called it a "solid, likable debut".[15] The album placed 10th on the annual Pazz & Jop critics' poll in The Village Voice for 1981.[19]

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",[10] while Rolling Stone's Warren Zanes wrote that the band "showed that elemental pop rock & roll remained as viable as ever."[20]

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]

NPR Music's Hilary Hughes credited the quintet with perfecting pop-punk's formula through the album. Though she saw that bands like Blondie and the Ramones showed that pop and punk music "[weren't] mortal enemies", she claimed that the Go-Go's showed the "certifiable success" of the two's fusion.[21]

"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!"[22]


In 2003, Beauty and the Beat was ranked number 413 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time,[23] and it later placed on updates of the list at number 414 (in 2012)[24] and at number 400 (in 2020).[25] 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,[26] including Rolling Stone's 2000 list of the 100 greatest pop songs.[27] "We Got the Beat" was named one of the "500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll" by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.[28]

Capitol and I.R.S. released a 30th anniversary deluxe edition of Beauty and the Beat digitally and on CD on May 17, 2011.[29] 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.

In 2016, Edsel Records reissued remastered deluxe editions, all with bonus tracks, of the Go-Go's original three releases.[30]

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


Band membersEdit




Certifications for Beauty and the Beat
Country Organization Year Sales
Canada CRIA 1981 Platinum (100,000)[39]
United States RIAA 1981 2× Platinum (2,000,000)[2]


Accolades for Beauty and the Beat
Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
The Village Voice US The 1981 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll[19] 1982 10
Rolling Stone Germany Albums of the Year[40] 1982 No order
Spin US 100 Alternative Albums[40] 1990 91
Rolling Stone US 50 Essential Female Albums[40] 2002 36
KCPR DJs US Top 100 Records from the 80s[40] 2002 59
Rolling Stone US The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time[41] 2020 400
Blender US 500 CDs You Must Own Before You Die[40] 2003 No order
1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die US [42] 2005 No order


  1. ^ a b "Beauty and the Beat Billboard Albums". AllMusic. Retrieved May 21, 2013.
  2. ^ a b "RIAA Searchable Database - search for "Go Go's"". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved May 21, 2013.
  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. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "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. ^ Valentine, Kathy (November 15, 2017). "Kathy Valentine of the Go-Go's Recalls the Moment Her Band Topped the Charts in 1981". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved August 31, 2022.
  10. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Beauty and the Beat – The Go-Go's". AllMusic. Retrieved May 19, 2013.
  11. ^ Clayton-Lea, Tony (July 22, 2011). "The Go-Go's". The Irish Times. Retrieved March 18, 2017.
  12. ^ Bulley, Jenny (June 2016). "The Go-Go's: Beauty and the Beat". Mojo. No. 271. p. 111.
  13. ^ Moreland, Quinn (October 20, 2019). "The Go-Go's: Beauty and the Beat". Pitchfork. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
  14. ^ Elliott, Mark (June 2016). "The Go-Go's – Beauty And The Beat, Vacation, Talk Show". Record Collector. No. 454. Retrieved August 29, 2016.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (October 5, 1981). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved January 12, 2019.
  19. ^ a b "The 1981 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice. February 1, 1982. Retrieved April 18, 2012.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ Hughes, Hilary (August 5, 2020). "Oral History: How The Go-Go's Perfected Pop-Punk". NPR Music. Retrieved May 18, 2022.
  22. ^ Barrymore, Drew (2012). "House Party". V. No. 75 ("Spring Preview" ed.).
  23. ^ "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.
  24. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. May 31, 2012. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  25. ^ "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. September 22, 2020. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  26. ^ "Go-Go's: Our Lips Are Sealed". Acclaimed Music. Archived from the original on January 13, 2018. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
  27. ^ "Pop 100!: 100 Greatest Pop Songs". Rolling Stone. No. 855. December 7, 2000.
  28. ^ "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.
  29. ^ "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.
  30. ^ Sinclair, Paul (February 22, 2016). "All systems Go-Go's for deluxe reissues". Super Deluxe Edition. Retrieved September 25, 2021.
  31. ^ "Go-Go's - Beauty And The Beat". Discogs. Retrieved November 13, 2020.
  32. ^ "Forum - ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts - ALBUMS PRE 1989". ARIA Charts. Media Control Charts. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  33. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 36, No. 5, March 13, 1982". Library and Archives Canada. March 13, 1982. Retrieved May 21, 2013.
  34. ^ "Go-Go's – Baeuty and the Beat (album)". Media Control Charts. Retrieved May 21, 2013.
  35. ^ a b c d e f "Beauty and the Beat Billboard Singles". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved May 21, 2013.
  36. ^ "Go-Gos". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 21, 2013.
  37. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 35, No. 25, January 30, 1982". Library and Archives Canada. January 30, 1982. Archived from the original on September 11, 2014. Retrieved May 21, 2013.
  38. ^ a b "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Top 100 Singles 1982". Hung Medien. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
  39. ^ "Gold Platinum Search for Beauty and the Beat". Music Canada. Retrieved May 21, 2013.
  40. ^ a b c d e "Go-Go's - Beauty and the Beat". Acclaimed Archived from the original on July 27, 2013. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
  41. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time - The Go-Go's, 'Beauty and the Beast'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 16, 2021.
  42. ^ AA.VV. (February 7, 2006). Robert Dimery (ed.). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Universe Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84403-392-8.

External linksEdit