There are some names in rock and roll that are so iconic they seem woven into the very fabric of music history itself. It is as though they were inevitable, always there from the start. The Go-Go’s is surely one of those names. From their inception in 1978, the Go-Go’s consistently created milestones. Even though their tenure was brief and tumultuous, their impact on the punk, rock, and new wave scenes was indisputable.
The Go-Go’s became the first all-female band in history to top the Billboard charts with original material. Their debut record, Beauty and the Beat, spent six weeks at number one and went on to achieve triple platinum status, something nearly unprecedented for a debut record. Rolling Stone named Beauty and the Beat one of the top 500 albums of all time. Two of the record’s singles, “We Got the Beat” and “Our Lips are Sealed,” helped to define the music of the era. The Go-Go’s received a Grammy for Best New Artist in 1983.
By all accounts, The Go-Go’s can be easily named as one of the most successful female bands of all time. It isn’t so much that they were a band made up of all women who rose to enormous success. Forget for a moment that for their time they were America’s sweethearts. Everywhere you looked, there were The Go-Go’s. What made them truly remarkable is that they did it all themselves. Unlike so many bands, there was no powerhouse behind The Go-Go’s plotting their every move and arranging for them to memorize singles written by some other hit-maker. The Go-Go’s were self-made, self-creating, and hugely successful. This made them something truly unprecedented.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is full of groups that have risen to celestial status, bands that have sold more records, played for millions more fans, toured for decade upon decade. But rare is the group that built from the ground up in such a self-driven way. Rarer still, an all-female group. The Go-Go’s did far more than simply help define the sound of their generation, they truly blazed a trail for women in music to take control of their own destinies. They lived and breathed the ethics of rock and roll in all its independent glory. For that, they deserve, far more than many who might be named, a place of honor in the hall of fame.