Top 6 Go-Go's Songs of the '80s

Publicity photo of the Go-Go's standing in front of a brick wall.
The Go-Gos, (L-R) Belinda Carlisle (lead vocals), Gina Schock (drums), Charlotte Caffey (lead guitar), Kathy Valentine (bass), and Jane Wiedlin (rhythm guitar).

George Rose/Contributor/Getty Images

Although the Go-Go's enjoyed a very brief career in the pop music spotlight, the band's three studio albums contained a number of quality songs that were released in the 1980s. They created songs ranging from punkish rock to vibrant new wave to pure pop. Take a look at this important group's finest tracks in terms of both familiar hits and lesser-known album songs.

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Our Lips Are Sealed

Though there's little evidence of the Go-Go's punk rock past in the strains of this pop confection, "Our Lips Are Sealed" certainly retains an energetic intensity that matches its songwriting quality. The song became a top 20 hit. Unfortunately, Jane Wiedlin, who co-wrote the tune with Terry Hall of the Specials, gets only the track's imaginative bridge in which to contribute lead vocals, but she does make the most of her moment. As for the rest, Belinda Carlisle's vocal performance is a perfect match for the song's playfulness and exuberance, and the band collectively gels for one of the finest singles of the '80s.

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How Much More

The peak Go-Go's sound never got any better than this. "How Much More" is a spirited, guitar-driven new wave classic that bridges the band's raw early work with its later polished pop. The guitar work of Charlotte Caffey and Wiedlin really shines here, as both deliver appropriately punchy riffs that mesh well with the vibrant rhythm section of Kathy Valentine and Gina Schock. But it's ultimately the entire ensemble's synergy that turns this song into the band's finest hit single that never was. At least there's consolation in the fact that high-quality songs like this helped make the group's debut album one of the decade's best.

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We Got the Beat

As bubblegum as it may seem upon initial inspection, this is perhaps the most defining Go-Go's anthem. The song actually maintains a considerable link to the group's punk roots. After all, Caffey's riffing and lead work hearken back strongly to surf music, a major influence on many strains of punk rock. This actually makes quite a bit of sense, considering that it was this song that made the Go-Go's well-known on a regional level and then sent the band on tour in England for a good portion of 1980. Ultimately, it became the group's biggest hit, reaching an impressive No. 2 on the ​pop charts and No. 7 in the mainstream rock category in 1982.

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Lust to Love

On this classic album track from "Beauty and the Beat," Caffey and Wiedlin offer up a fierce, tough song that is perhaps the group's best example of its perfect fusion between rock and classic pop. The track's two distinct sections are both highly effective, with the unique riffing of the verse building slowly but firmly into the harder-edged chorus. In actuality, Carlisle tends to be a better singer of rock songs than the kind of adult contemporary fare she favored as a solo artist, which makes it a bit of a shame that the Go-Go's didn't release more music of this variety.

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Implementing keyboards to a significant degree for the first time, the Go-Go's deliver a much more straightforward pop song than any track on their first album in "Vacation." But that doesn't mean it represents a dip in quality. In fact, the melodies here are more strident and confident than what the band managed with previous songs. Still, any fans upset with the band's ever-deeper move into the mainstream probably considered a preponderance of ear-candy qualities to be even more justification for their ire over the slicker production and almost teeny-bopper nature of the song's music video.

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Head Over Heels

Speaking of keyboards, the electric piano almost becomes the dominant instrument in "Head Over Heels." That's not an unwelcome development in the least, considering the overall top-notch quality of this effort from the final Go-Go's album "Talk Show." This may be pop through and through, with nary a hint of punk or even new wave (which had pretty much faded by 1984 anyway), but the songwriting quality remains exceedingly high, especially considering the pop music competing against the Go-Go's at the time. The band may have been experiencing cracks in the foundation by this point, but you can't tell from this tune.