On March 6, 1982, the Go-Go’s topped the Billboard 200 with their new wave debut, Beauty and the Beat, making the act the first all-female rock band to notch a No. 1 album. Today, it’s an achievement that has yet to be matched.
“Our manager, Ginger [Canzoneri], would tell us our number on the charts, and it was unbelievably exciting to listen to the number get higher and higher every week,” guitarist/backing vocalist Jane Wiedlin told Billboard in 2011. “The week we went to No. 1, we were on tour opening for The Police, and they gave us champagne and congratulated us.”
The album, released in July 1981, debuted at No. 186 a month later on the Billboard 200 dated Aug. 1, then took a leisurely seven-month climb to No. 1. While the album’s first single, “Our Lips Are Sealed,” reached No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100, it was the group’s second hit, “We Got the Beat,” written by guitarist Charlotte Caffey, that blew the pop doors open for the quintet. (All 11 tracks on the album were written or co-written by the band’s members.)
The act would release two more studio albums in the early ’80s before going on hiatus in 1990. Lead singer Belinda Carlisle notched four solo Hot 100 top 10s in 1986-88, while Wiedlin added her own (“Rush Hour”) in 1988. The band has since has issued an additional studio LP, 2001’s God Bless the Go-Go’s.
The stage musical Head Over Heels, set to the group’s song catalog, debuted on Broadway in 2018. In 2020, a documentary simply titled The Go-Go’s debuted on Showtime, and on May 12, 2021, the group was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. “I feel like we’ve always been underdogs,” Caffey told Billboard in reaction to the honor. “We were underdogs with the Rock Hall, as well, for years. It just feels really, really good and we’re celebrating ourselves and other women. It’s a great thing.”