Wednesday, April 24, 2013

IRS Records: Our Lips Are Sealed

The first substantial hit on I.R.S. Records can be credited to the Go-Go’s and their 1981 recording of “Our Lips are Sealed.” The single was from their debut LP “Beauty and the Beat.” While it charted at #20 on the Hot 100, it did better on two divergent charts: #15 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks and #10 on the Hot Dance Club Songs. While it occasionally happened, typically there isn’t much crossover from the rock charts to the dance charts and vice versa.

“Our Lips are Sealed” was cowritten by guitarist Jane Wiedlin and the lead vocalist for the Fun Boy Three: Terry Hall. It was written while both bands were on tour in 1980 – a time when both contributors were briefly dating. The Fun Boy Three would later record the tune and release it as a single in 1983.

While the band initially hated the idea of the video for the song, it served as a vehicle to get their sound and their name to the world and served as a fitting introduction to the Go-Go’s. As with most of their songs, Belinda Carlisle sang lead; however, it is Jane Wiedlin who sings lead on the bridge.

I had a chance to interview Belinda Carlisle on the phone in late 1981 and to meet three additional members of the band when they played Kings Island near Cincinnati, Ohio in 1982. The Go-Go’s were the headliners and A Flock of Seagulls opened the show. A Flock of Seagulls were the loudest band I’ve ever heard and that is something, as it was an outside concert venue.

The band members we met at their staging trailer after the show included Wiedlin, bassist Kathy Valentine, and drummer Gina Schock. They were a little miffed that A&M Records provided us access after the show and could have been classified as prima donnas. I’ve had the opportunities to meet numerous bands and only a handful acted in this manner. Pity.

Unfortunately, I have no photos of the occasion and can’t remember why none were taken other than we didn’t take a camera to the park, but I had done so in 1978 without any difficulty.

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