Little Steven's Underground Garage column, produced exclusively for Billboard. The charts are a combination of airplay from the Underground Garage format and coolness.WELCOME. We've decided to celebrate the underappreciated Go-Go's by revisiting their latest, "God Bless the Go-Go's," and declare "La La Land" the coolest song in the world this week.
New groups like the Holograms (and most of the super-cool Teenacide roster) remind us that it was the Go-Go's, and their original producer Richard Gottehrer, who revitalized and institutionalized the girl-group, punky-pop genre made popular by the Runaways (with producer Kim Fowley) and started by Genya Ravan's Goldie & the Gingerbreads in 1964.
Any group with its original members 25 years later is a living miracle and an inspiration to their fans, and "God Bless" shows they're as good and maybe better than ever.
Revisit the record and you'll see what I mean. The Go-Go's are touring now, so let's hope they start recording regularly again.
In the You Can't Make This Up Department . . . If you wonder why major record companies are going the way of the dinosaurs consider this:
We won't say who is suing which major for a bigger piece of the download pie, but it seems this major is applying its already ridiculous standard contract clauses to this new form of distribution—like taking a percentage from the artist's royalty for "breakage" and a "container charge." For downloading songs!
And the balance of nature continues with the cancellation of the BBC's "Top of the Pops" TV show after 42 years, but . . .
Are we ready for "Ramones the Musical"? Yes, indeed, "Gabba Gabba Hey," the world's first punk musical, will run in London from July 31 to Aug. 5. It contains 18 Ramones songs and a cast that includes Tommy Ramone himself. Bravo, baby!
See you next week.
COOLEST GARAGE SONGS
1. "La La Land," Go-Go's
2. "I'd Rather Be With You," Kaiser George & the High-Risers
3."Country Girl," Primal Scream
4. "If It Takes a Lifetime," Cheap Trick
5. "Everyone Knows," Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
6. "Hands," the Raconteurs
7. "Life Wasted," Pearl Jam
8. "King of the Freaks," the Maggots
9. "After the Garden," Neil Young
10. "Are You Ready For It?" the Holograms
COOLEST GARAGE ALBUMS
1. "Rockford," Cheap Trick
2. "Pearl Jam," Pearl Jam
3. "Broken Boy Soldiers," the Raconteurs
4. "Living With War," Neil Young
5. "Sinner," Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
6. "Flat-Pack Philosophy," Buzzcocks
7. "First Impressions of Earth," the Strokes
8. "Riot City Blues," Primal Scream
9. "Transatlantic Dynamite!" Kaiser George & the High-Risers
10. "God Bless the Go-Go's," Go-Go's