Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Music Box: The Go-Go's

When the Go-Go's finally reunited to record a full-length album in 2001, I was thrilled with the outcome. Although some of it suffered from a similar problem as Blondie's "No Exit" -- specifically a few of the songs sounded more their respective singers' weaker solo material -- "God Bless the Go-Go's" did give us a few instant classics in "Unforgiven" and "La La Land," and still ranks high on my '80s reunion albums.
What I didn't realize until very recently, however, was that the band seemed to be seriously poised to record that fourth album way back in 1994-95, right after the release of "Return to the Valley of the Go-Go's." In a 1994 interview on "Good Morning America," the gals repeatedly told Charlie Gibson that an album's worth of material had been recorded during the "Valley" sessions, before they settled on three songs to release. (And Jane reiterated this in an interview with Brandy Wine in 1994 outside Food Bar in Chelsea.) As enjoyable as "God Bless the Go-Go's" was, it bombed and drove the band's label, Beyond, into bankruptcy. By comparison, "No Exit" -- which was released on Beyond just two years earlier -- was a big moneymaker for the label, debuting in the American Top 20, boasting a No. 1 single in the U.K. ("Maria") and eventually selling something like 2 million copies worldwide. Given how explicitly Go-Go's sounding "Good Girl," "Beautiful" and "Whole World Lost Its Head" were from "Valley," I can't help but wonder what the reunion album would have sounded like had it been recorded in the mid-'90s as planned and, if it had been a bigger success then, if there would have been an album No. 5. (Just to dream ...)


Dave in Texas said...

I did like "Apology" on 'God Bless..'- but other than "Unforgiven" the CD didn't do much for me. Agreed that the 3 new songs on 'Return To The Valley...' were amazing. BTW, your Wednesday postings were great- so much information!

Greg said...

Spooky! I was just debating whether or not to download this CD on iTunes yesterday!

It was a great effort by the band and certainly merits a follow up CD.

I just downloaded a large percentage of my CD collection to my iTunes and have a renewed appreciation for Belinda Carlisle. I forgot how many good songs she has and how much I love her voice.

nojarama said...

I agree that the new songs on "RTTVOTG" were far superior to any of "GBTG". I really wanted to like it, but it just wasn't as fun as "RTTVOTG" new songs nor the original albums IMO. But, as for "No Exit", it is my favorite Blondie album of them ALL (that includes the fact that I played "Parallel Lines" & "Eat To The Beat" to death so much I had to replace the vinyl twice for each)!

Anonymous said...

God Bless The Go-Go's is an EXCELLENT album!!

I believe it suffered from poor record sales because of bad timing.

The Go-Go's were right in the middle of a big promotional push for GBTGG when Sept 11th happened.

So blame Al Qaeda.

Anonymous said...

Wow I totally forgot about the GBTG album. Last time I played it was living in NYC on my very 90s B&O stereo--pretty much the last time I played CDs. I remember thinking it was so cool that Billie Joe Armstrong co-wrote "Unforgiven." Must dig this out and put it on my iPod.