Head Over Heels For the Go-Go’s: Documentary Due

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The Go-Go’s (Photo: Chris Cuffaro; used with permission)

The Los Angeles new wave sensations The Go-Go’s formally said bye-bye in 2016 with a brief summer tour. But they were entitled to change their minds and it’s welcome news that they’ve occasionally returned to the stage.

A documentary feature on the band is on the way, simply called The Go-Go’s, with Showtime acquiring U.S. rights. It will have its world premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. The film was directed by Alison Ellwood who did the honors for the 2013 documentary, History of the Eagles. The Sundance listing notes, the “film chronicles the meteoric rise to fame of a band born in the LA punk scene who became a pop phenomenon.

“As the pressure of fame and success grew, a familiar story set in, and hard drugs and alcohol, infighting, and resentment began taking their toll on them.

The festival runs from Jan. 23 – Feb. 2. The daily schedule is hereThe Go-Go’s film will have its premiere on Jan. 26.

The band played several 40th anniversary concerts, including three over the 2018 Fourth of July holiday at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where rhythm guitarist Jane Wiedlin, singer Belinda Carlisle, guitarist Charlotte Caffey and drummer Gina Schock were re-joined by bass guitarist Kathy Valentine.

Watch them perform “Vacation” at the Bowl on July 3, 2018

The Go-Go’s formed in 1978, rising out of the Los Angeles punk/new wave scene to become the most successful all-female musical group ever, thanks to songs like the #2 pop smash “We Got The Beat,” “Vacation” (#8), “Head Over Heels” (#11) and “Our Lips Are Sealed” (#20). They remain the only band of women who play their own instruments and write their own songs to top the Billboard charts, which they did with their 1981 debut Beauty and the Beat.

Watch them perform “Head Over Heels” on July 3, 2018

Related: What were the biggest radio hits of 1982?

A still from The Go-Go’s by Alison Ellwood, an official selection of the Documentary Premieres program at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival (Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Lynn Goldsmith)

From the original Feb. 2019 announcement of the film: “This candid archive-rich biography assesses the group’s place in pop history and examines the personalities and dynamics behind their rise, fall and numerous reincarnations. Until this film, there has never been a serious appraisal of the Go-Go’s talents or achievements –as musicians, groundbreakers, but even more so, as survivors.”

“We lived it and we survived it,” said the Go-Go’s in a news release about the documentary. “Now, looking back on our history through this film, we can appreciate our journey, laughter, triumphs and struggles as a band. We hope this documentary will show the world what pioneers we were, and how our experience paved the way for other musicians.”

Watch the original “Our Lips Are Sealed” video

On the subject of their 2016 not-so-final tour, the Go-Go’s had slated a farewell “Happily Ever After” tour in 2010 but had to cancel when Wiedlin had a hiking accident and required surgery for a knee injury.

The 2016 “Go-Go’s Farewell Tour” featured founders Wiedlin, Carlisle, Caffey and Schock. Valentine had parted ways with the band in 2013. She re-joined in 2018.

They continue to be snubbed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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6 Comments so far

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  1. Tony C
    #1 Tony C 18 August, 2019, 11:03

    Classic pop
    Awesome sound
    80s Rock
    Gurl power !
    Will always be Head Over Heels over The GoGos

    Reply this comment
  2. MLG
    #2 MLG 18 August, 2019, 14:13

    Belinda going solo back in the day to me, was like Michael Jackson leaving J-5. They both had great success as a solo artist BUT the magic of the group is really what we prefer to see!

    Reply this comment
    • Jimmy
      Jimmy 18 August, 2019, 21:48

      The Go Go’s should do a final tour like Motley Crue did and say good bye to each other in there final tour in LA

      Reply this comment
  3. Fadingfast
    #3 Fadingfast 22 August, 2019, 23:31

    The film sounds promising but they need to be upfront about what happened with Kathy a few years back, otherwise it’s just PR.

    Reply this comment
  4. George Vreeland Hill
    #4 George Vreeland Hill 26 September, 2019, 20:02

    Can’t wait for the documentary.
    Long overdue, but worth the wait.

    George Vreeland Hill

    Reply this comment
  5. Lance
    #5 Lance 8 January, 2020, 20:37

    These gals had a unique sound that got in your soul. I’m a guy and still turn up the radio when their songs come on the radio. Keep on doing it girls, why stop…..

    Reply this comment

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