Today, over thirty years after their first gig, The Go-Go’s got a star on Hollywood Blvd, right outside the Masque where their first rehearsal took place in 1978.
The Go-Go’s were the first band to come out of the LA punk scene to break Billboard’s Top 40. And, more importantly, The Go-Go’s were the first all-female band to top the charts who wrote their own music and played their own instruments. Their debut album, Beauty and the Beat, held the number one spot on the Billboard chart for six consecutive weeks and went triple platinum, selling over 3 million copies.
The Go-Go’s have inspired generations of female musicians to take up instruments, write songs and perform, as well as being muses to all genders with their DIY spirit and utter coolness. Additionally, the band supports numerous charities. Guitarist Jane Wiedlin, a licensed clergyperson, officiates same sex marriages and loudly supports the LGBT community, as well as supporting Bowling for Boobies, a breast cancer support charity.
Hundreds of fans, surprised and happy tourists, long time punk stalwarts, and friends of the band turned out, including Abby Travis (bassist for Beck, Elastica, Spinal Tap, KMFDM, and The Bangles, and a singer/songwriter on her own who was motivated as a teen by the Go-Go’s); Jeff McDonald (Redd Kross); Jennifer Schwartz (Desperate Teenage Love Dolls); author/actress and world renown bellydancer Pleasant Gehman aka Princess Farhana, who co-starred in the 2009 film Stuck! with Wiedlin; filmmaker/artist John Roecker; music industry faces Gary Stewart, Cary Baker and Jay Boberg; Blondie Drummer Clem Burke who delivered the band’s introduction speech; and Los Angeles councilman Tom LaBonge who read a proclamation declaring August 8, 2011 as Go-Go’s Day in Los Angeles. Hollywood isn’t La Bonge’s district–it belongs to Eric Garcetti, the deputy mayor, who kinda has his hands full. LA is a mess.
But it’s easy to forget our city’s woes on a day like today, with a blue sky, palm trees blowing in the breeze, the Go-Go’s hits wafting through the sound system, and friends celebrating the success of a band that came from our town, helped define the 1980s, and broke the mold.
Photos: 1: Lisa Derrick; 2: John Roecker; ceremony video: Kim White