On this day in music history: July 8, 1981 – &…

On this day in music history: July 8, 1981 – “Beauty And The Beat”, the debut album by The Go Go’s is released. Produced by Richard Gottehrer and Rob Freeman, it is recorded at Penny Lane Studios, The Record Plant and Sound Mixers Studios in New York City from April – May 1981. Having started on the underground punk rock scene in Los Angeles in the late 70’s, The Go-Go’s make their recording debut in 1980. They release the first version of “We Got The Beat” through UK indie label Stiff Records. The single generates significant buzz back home in the US, but the Go-Go’s have difficulty securing a record contract. I.R.S. Records signs them, after numerous rejections from other labels, telling them bluntly that a self contained all female band won’t be successful in a male dominated music industry. The band work with songwriter and producer Richard Gottherer, originally one third of the 60’s band and songwriting team The Strangeloves (“I Want Candy”, “My Boyfriend’s Back”) and Rob Freeman. To record their full length debut, the band relocate to New York City to work with Gottherer and Freeman. Charlotte Caffey and Jane Wiedlin write the bulk of the albums eleven tracks with Kathy Valentine and Belinda Carlisle also contributing. The first single “Our Lips Are Sealed” (#20 Pop) penned by Wiedlin and Terry Hall of the UK ska band The Specials (later of Fun Boy Three), comes about after the pair become romantically involved while The Go-Go’s are touring with The Specials. With Hall having a girlfriend back home, they write the song as a sly and ironic reference to the affair while trying outwardly to keep it under wraps. The albums now iconic cover photo features the Go-Go’s with their faces covered in cold cream, and with their hair and bodies wrapped with bath towels. Before the photo shoot, the bands manager Ginger Canzoneri warns the girls not to get anything on the towels as she “needs to return them to Macy’s” after the photo session. Initial copies of the cover artwork feature a beige tinted background, which is changed to the more common blue tinted background on later issues. The album initially gets off to a slow start, but quickly picks up steam after the release of the second single, the re-recorded version of “We Got The Beat” (#2 Pop) is issued in January of 1982. From there, “Beauty And The Beat” takes off like a rocket, with The Go-Go’s making history as the first all female band to score a number one album on the Top 200 in the US. Originally released on CD in the mid 80’s, it is remastered and reissued in 2011 for its thirtieth anniversary as a two disc deluxe edition, with the second CD featuring a live concert recorded at The Metro Club in Boston on August 20, 1981. The title is also reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP pressed on pink translucent vinyl. “Beauty And The Beat” spends six weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.