Thursday, September 6, 2012

Go-Go's: We Got The Beat

I am planning to end this blog in 20 posts on September 26, 2012; however, if you would like see it continue, register your feelings in the survey found at

Recently a Target back-to-school commercial utilized a redone version of the Go-Go’s hit “We Got the Beat.” While the original was not used in the ad, it still warrants the 1982 hit as qualifying as our TV Thursday selection.

While grammarians cringe on both the name of the group (the apostrophe should be eliminated as it is plural and not possessive) and the name of the song (should be “We Have the Beat”), it didn’t stop the song from peaking at #2 on Billboard’s Hot 100.

The tune was written by lead guitarist Charlotte Caffey and it made it to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. As with yesterday’s selection, movie exposure in 1982's “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” didn’t hurt record sales either.

Picture disc 45 backed with "Our Lips Are Sealed"

In 1981 when their previous hit “Our Lips are Sealed” was being promoted, Brenda Carlisle called me at WCIR pushing the record. It slowly climbed to #20, but set the stage for “We Got the Beat,” which was the Go-Go’s highest charting record.

Both singles appeared on their debut album “Beauty and the Beat.” During the summer of 1982, I drove to Cincinnati to see the Go-Go’s open for A Flock of Seagulls. They did an excellent job in this open air concert at King’s Island; however, “A Flock of Seagulls” was the loudest band I’ve ever seen. I think my ears are still ringing.

I had a chance to meet three of the band that night – Jane Wiedlin, Kathy Valentine, and Gina Schock. They were not the friendliest rockers I’ve met and I felt it that our presence was an imposition even though the local A&M Records rep was present, it cut no ice with the band – the star image had been cast. In addition, Jane Wiedlin was as unusual in person as her stage persona later dictated. It’s no act – she is different – not that there’s anything wrong with that.

The Original Version

Most people either aren’t aware that “We Got the Beat” was actually the band’s first single or they have forgotten that little known piece of rock history. Recorded with a previous lineup of the band in 1979 that included Margot Olavarria on bass, the single was released in the UK. It did cross over to the American club scene as an import and had sufficient play to chart at 35 on the Dance Charts – which is no easy feat with no product to generate sales.

The song came from a demo that the band recorded in 1979 and was released on Stiff Records. Olavarria left the band before the recording of “Beauty and the Beat” and was replaced by Kathy Valentine.

Target Commercial

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I was looking for something to authenticate my memory of going to Kings Island from Lexington with my young wife on Labor Day weekend, drinking beer all day, then going to the concert with Go-Gos and FOS, then drove back to Lex in time to watch Clemson vs Georgia with Hershel Walker vs Refrigerator Perry, what a battle, what a game. Thank you Jim Owston