They were sugar and spice and made nice rock & roll. Not Ginger, Scary, Baby, et al. — but close. Remember the Go-Go’s, the bouncy quintet that, with 1981’s Beauty and the Beat, became the first all-female rock band to top Billboard’s album charts? As the Spice Girls prepare for their first American tour (beginning June 15 in Miami), they may want to recall their predecessors in girl power.
Within six months of the Go-Go’s fifth hit single, ”Turn to You,” solo plans and personal problems broke up the successful group in 1985. (They had mini-reunions in ‘90 and ‘94.) ”It wasn’t my first band, like it was for some of them,” says bassist Kathy Valentine. ”And I knew that one band in a million gets to that point.” Here’s what they did from that point on.
·Even before they announced their split, guitarist Jane Wiedlin, now 40, had decided to leave; she released her first solo album in 1985. The Go-Go who’s acted the most, Wiedlin appeared in Clue and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. In 1996, her band froSTed released its debut, Cold.
·Belinda Carlisle hit No. 3 with ”Mad About You” from 1986’s Belinda, and the next year’s Heaven on Earth went platinum—though in private, Carlisle battled, and overcame, alcohol dependency and a weight problem. Now living in France with film producer husband Morgan Mason (son of actor James Mason), Carlisle, 39, had a son in ‘92. Last year, she released her sixth album, A Woman & a Man.
·Guitarist Charlotte Caffey, 44, was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome in her left hand after 1982’s Vacation; she recovered for the Go-Go’s final album, Talk Show. In 1985, she joined the Graces while playing and writing for Carlisle’s projects, but sat out both reunions. Caffey and husband Jeff McDonald had a daughter in ‘95, the year she, Wiedlin, and ex-Bangle Susanna Hoffs cut the title song for the film Now & Then.
·Valentine, 39, says she was ”a little lost” after the Go-Go’s split, so she decided to travel the world. Lately, she’s been working toward a B.A. in history while heading up blues-rock bands like her new one, the Delphines. ”I got sidetracked by the punk-new-wave thing,” says Valentine. ”I thought, I’m going back to square one.”
·Drummer Gina Schock, 40, was diagnosed with a hole in her heart in 1984. After surgery, she toured for Talk Show. In ‘87, she started House of Schock and in ‘97 joined the Delphines. Of the Go-Go ’80s, Valentine says, ”It gave me the chance to be a pop star for 15 minutes.”
Time Capsule: May 29, 1980
ON TV, the Nielsen top 20 has a strange synergy: Trapper John, M.D., starring Pernell Roberts (far right, with Gregory Harrison) is No. 16, while the No. 6 show is House Calls, starring Wayne Rogers, who had previously played the Korean War-era Trapper on M*A*S*H. And the No. 1 show? That’d be M*A*S*H, which had set Trapper free five years earlier.
AT THE MOVIES, Star Wars’ sequel The Empire Strikes Back strikes movie gold, to no one’s shock. In 1983, Return of the Jedi will complete the trilogy; George Lucas plans to launch the first of three prequels in 1999.
AND IN THE NEWS, The Washington Post reports that Teddy DeVita, 17, died after eight years in a germ-free enclosure at the National Institutes of Health. The Bethesda, Md., teen’s story had been fictionalized in the 1976 TV movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, starring John Travolta.