Posts Tagged ‘The Go-Go’s’

Belinda Carlisle — From The Germs & The Go-Gos To Beating Demons

It’s funny how comparing ages with someone at two different points in your life are so different.

I just finishing “Lips Unsealed” by former Go-Go’s Belinda Carlisle.

belinda_carlisle_lips_unsealed_cover

This fall, Belinda will turn 56-years-old and I’ll hit the big 5-0!

Back in 1981, I remember dancing around my bedroom to the Go-Go’s first hit, “Our Lips Are Sealed”, as a 17-year-old beginning my senior year in high school.  At that age, I had no real sense of age and time.  I thought people who were in their 20s were so mature and people who were 30-years-old were over-the-hill and ready for the grave.

I’d watch that video and think that the band was so much fun and so worldly.

What I definitely didn’t know then and I didn’t know until reading “Lips Unsealed” was that Belinda, the self-assured looking young lady in that video that was only six years older than me.  But, she was a scared, insecure singer and performer that didn’t really think she had what it takes to be a real star.  And, that she and the Go-G0s were wasted on drugs and alcohol more often than not.

Go Go' Beauty and the Beat

While helping to usher in “new wave” music in the United States, “Beauty and the Beat”, the Go-Go’s 1981 debut album, spent six weeks at #1 and sold more two million copies here at home.  At the time, it became the most successful debut of all time.

In addition to the #20 hit, “Our Lips Are Sealed”, which reached the Top 5 in Canada and Australia and in 2000 was named one of the greatest pop songs of all time by “Rolling Stone” magazine, the album produced the biggest hit of the Go-Go’s career, the #2 smash, “We Got The Beat”.

It’s so interesting to watch these videos now thirty years later and know from reading Belinda’s book how she and the Go-Go’s partied so hard at night and just went through the motions for some promotional events and concerts.

belinda_carlisle_lips_unsealed_cover

When I started reading the book about Belinda’s childhood and her being weight-conscious and being called fat, her parents’ divorce, and her abusive and alcoholic stepfather, I thought about my own struggles with eating disorders and how, no matter how much weight you lost, you still thought you could lose more.

I also thought about the abuse that my father brought upon my mother, my sister, and myself and how he was an okay person on the days he wasn’t drinking.

And, while I’ve never done a recreational drug in my life, as I was reading the book, it took me back to the 1970s when Belinda was deep into the growing Hollywood punk rock scene and I thought about how much fun hanging out in that seedy environment would have been.

Punk Belinda Punks

To hang out the parking lots of the clubs and see the pop, rock, and punk music stars walk by would have been incredible.  With all the people musicians have working for them these days, that could never happen now.

The-Go-Gos

While reading “Lips Unsealed”, at times, I felt she was boasting about how much cocaine and other drugs she did, along with the alcohol.  However, without that honesty, how could one really know how detrimental she was to herself, the band, and those that she cared most about, including her husband, Morgan Mason, that she married in 1986.

Belinda Morgan Mason 1986

After their successful breakthrough with their first album, the Go-Go’s follow-up, “Vacation” in 1982 reached the Top Ten and moved 500,000+ copies.  The title track was the only hit from the album reaching #8.

vacation

Their third album, in 1984, produced two hits that reached #11 and #32 on the Billboard Hot 100, and it was time for a change for the band.  Between drugs, alcohol, less success at radio, and infighting, the band called it quits, except for concerts here and there to make money and just to play music.

Belinda was ready to become a solo star.

Belinda Carlisle Belinda

Her first solo album, Belinda, went gold, in 1986 and produced her first hit without the Go-Go’s, “Mad About You”.

While the song reached #3 in the U.S. and #1 in Canada, it would be the only hit from the album.  Belinda did score a Top 30 dance hit with the remake of Freda Payne smash, “Band of Gold”.  I used to play it all the time when I was a disc jockey at the gay bar in Paducah, Kentucky.

Belinda Carlisle Heaven On Earth

Belinda’s solo career would sky-rocket with the release of her second album, “Heaven On Earth” in 1987.

It would produce three Top Ten hits, including the #1 smash, “Heaven Is A Place on Earth”, “I Get Weak”, which peaked at #2, and “Circle In The Sand”, which reached #7.

While she was on top of the world as a solo singer, her personal life was in shambles.  Her drug use and insecurities about her weight, her singing, and her performances were out of control.  She was also hiding her drug and alcohol addiction from her husband, who appeared in her “Mad About You” and “Heaven” videoes.

Good Heavens Tour

That was made easier since he was busy with his movie production career and she was touring.

Belinda’s third album, “Runaway Horses” produced only two modest hits in the U.S. with the biggest, “Leave A Light On”, reaching only #11.

While her career cooled because of the changing music scene in the early 1990s, Belinda was still a drug addict that would not admit that she had a problem.  In 1991, she found out she was pregnant and in April 1992 gave birth to her son, James Duke Mason.

Belinda and family

In a very touching story, Belinda talks about how one of her doctors spread lies about her alleged drug use during her pregnancy and how the trash tabloids picked up on  it.

Sadly, Belinda struggled to be a good mother and a good wife.  She spent the rest of the 1990s and the early part of the 2000s as a drug addict and alcoholic fearing that every talk or intervention with her husband would lead to him saying that was leaving her.

In March 2005, Belinda was in London rehearsing for some tour dates and having talks about a new venture for her, an album of French pop songs.

In heartbreaking detail in the book, she went on a cocaine frenzy in her hotel room and envisioned herself dead of an overdose.  It gave her the strength to do something she had never been able to do.  She was going to finish the last of the cocaine sitting on the table and quit cold turkey.

That was March 14, 2005.  Nine years later, she is still drug free.

belinda_carlisle

Weeks later, she was ready to give up her other addiction — alcohol.  She bought her favorite wine, Corbiere, and went home and drank it and passed out on April 3, 2005.  She is still on the wagon.

Belinda

In the past nine years of living healthy, Belinda starred in “Hairspray” in London’s East End, released her French album, “Viola”, in 2007, performs occasionally, and is getting ready to release her latest collection of songs, “The Anthology” and “The Collection” later this month.

Last year, Belinda released the incredible song, “Sun”.  She still looks and sounds amazing.

Belinda & SonBelinda Duke

Belinda and her husband, Morgan, call Los Angeles and France home, while her son, Duke, soon to be 22-years-old, is an actor and LGBT activist and he was named as one of the “100 most influential LGBT people in the world” in 2011 for “Out” magazine.

Belinda, Morgan, and Duke, I wish you all happiness and love.  And, my friends, you have to check out Belinda’s memoir, “Lips Unsealed”.

Anthony

 

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Random Friday Thoughts — August 16, 2013

Another weekend is upon us and I hope you’re excited about whatever you have planned to do.  I know some of my friends are going to take it easy this weekend after partying at Market Days last weekend.  Since I worked 11 of past 12 days, I think I deserve a break today and I’m not talking McDonald’s.  🙂

Have a great weekend and enjoy my random thoughts this Friday!  And, please know that I always welcome your feedback on my thoughts, whether you agree or disagree, and I’d like to know what you’re thinking about whatever.

VACATION

In less than 24 hours from now, we’ll be boarding a plane from the Quad Cities to Dallas and then to Cancun and by tomorrow afternoon, God-willing, we’ll have our feet buried in the sand sipping on a cold potent drink.

It’s been an interesting week of watching the tropics.  If you recall last week, the Caribbean was quiet.  And, then by Wednesday, there was a 60-70% chance of a tropical storm forming and bringing heavy rain and wind to the Yucatan Peninsula, e.g. Cancun!

Atlantic

Fun times!  Luckily, for us, development into a tropical storm (if it happens) will not occur until it gets into the Gulf of Mexico and the rainy, wet weather should be gone by Saturday!

Here’s to margaritas, tequila, beautiful sunsets, and hot bodies!  So, here’s my favorite Latina hottie, Pauline Rubio.  (Don’t worry, Enrique (Iglesias), you’re my favorite Latin hottie!)

PAULA DEEN GETS VINDICATION, BUT…

The lawsuit against celebrity chef Paula Deen that caused her to lose her Food Network television show and many sponsorships has been thrown of out of court.

Lisa Jackson, a former manager at one of Deen’s Savannah restaurants, is suing her former bosses, Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers, for millions of dollars for racial and sexual discrimination.

However, earlier this week, U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr. ruled that Jackson, who is white, cannot sue them for race discrimination because she was not one of the victims — even though others may have allegedly faced discrimination.

Paula Deen Happy

A spokesperson for Paula Deen says, “We are pleased with the court’s ruling today that Lisa Jackson’s claims of race discrimination have been dismissed.  As Ms. Deen has stated before, she is confident that those who truly know how she lives her life know that she believes in equal opportunity, kindness and fairness for everyone.”

There is still the issue of sexual harassment that Jackson is alleging.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU

Happy Birthday to you ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*
¨*•♫♪ Happy Birthday to you ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥
¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Happy Birthday Dear Madonna!!!!! ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥
¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Happy Birthday to you! ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥

Madonna3

Today, the “Material Girl” turns 55!

In honor of the woman who had the most successful tour of 2012 (the “MDNA Tour” made $305.2 million), has had more Hot 100 Top Ten Billboard hits than the Beatles (38), and leads with the most #1 Billboard Dance chart hits (43), here’s my favorite Madonna song.

“Borderline” became her first Top Ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1984.

madonna1983

And, here’s my favorite Madonna video.

“Open Your Heart” became Madonna’s 11th Top Ten hit and fifth #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 in February 1987.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Ozzy Mouth ShutAuto Correct

FINALLY, I GET TO READ A BOOK!

I just finished the April 28, 2011 “Rolling Stone”, the last of my stockpiled magazines that also included “Time”, “Details”, “Men’s Fitness”, and “Boston”.  Now that all of those subscriptions have expired, I only get “Entertainment Weekly”, “Out”, “Instinct”, and “The Advocate”.

This means that I’ll be able to keep up with the new magazines as they arrive and I can finally read a book!  I haven’t read a book in about five years — right before Ray and I met.

Golden Days The Art of Racing in the Rain

I already have the first four picked out, “Golden Days:  Memories of a Golden Retriever” by Arthur Vanderbilt, “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein (yes, Vickie, I’m finally going to read it and get it back to you), “The Meaning of Matthew:  My Son’s Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed” by Judy Shepard, and “Christmas in Plains” by Jimmy Carter.

meaning_of_matthew_l

Those four should take me up to the end of the year.  The Matthew Shepard book will be timely since the 15th anniversary of his death is October 12th and the book by President Carter should coincide with Christmas this year!

ChristmasInPlains

WHAT I LEARNED FROM “ROLLING STONE” MAGAZINE

I always thought of “Rolling Stone” as a rock music magazine.  However, I was pleasantly surprised at how it excels in hard news and investigative reporting.  It expands on stories that mainstream news media outlets shy away from by playing it safe.  “Rolling Stone” doesn’t hold back!

Here are some of the highlights from the last few issues that I just finished reading from 2011 as my subscription expired.  I told you I was behind on reading!

Witty TV commentator Bill Maher was profiled in the March 17, 2011 issue and the article quoted the comedian talking about a shamed Texas politician, “Tom DeLay has done only two things since leaving politics, “Dancing With The Stars” and now prison — somebody must tell him there are easier ways to have sex with men.”  Good stuff!

Image: ABC's "Dancing With The Stars" Season Nine - Week Three

It also had an interesting cover story on talk show host Howard Stern, who still like to shock people.

In the March 31, 2011 issue, it basically made Stern seem much more human and flawed.  The article touched on the fact that Stern currently makes $80 million dollars a year for his SiriusXM talk show, but he’s still very unhappy in his life and fighting demons.  However, it stated that he is now happily remarried.

Since the article is over two years old, Stern now makes another $15 million for being a judge on “America’s Got Talent”!

Howard Stern Rolling Stone

And, while she went though hell at the hands of ex-boyfriend/singer Chris Brown and she gets some bad press because of her actions, I really enjoyed learning more about Rihanna in the April 14, 2011 issue.

Rihanna Rolling Stone

For the record, she’s already scored 39 Top 40 hits in America on the Billboard Hot 100 since her first hit in 2005 and twelve of those songs topped that chart.  She became only the seventh artist in music history to accomplish that.

Her longest charting #1 song on the Hot 100 (ten weeks) was “We Found Love” with Calvin Harris.  And, her latest single with David Guetta, “Right Now” just became her 20th number one song on the Billboard dance chart.  She’s now in second place as the artist with the most #1 dance hits behind Queen Madonna, with 43 chart toppers.

However, I didn’t learn any of that from the “Rolling Stone” article.  Here’s what I learned from the magazine that made RiRi so much more down to earth:  She doesn’t like vegetables because they taste “like bush”, but she loves french fries, Cheetos, and KFC.  She loves going to grocery store and cooking for herself and enjoys a nice chardonnay at the end of the day.

Rihanna loves true-crime reality, she’s chronically late and she’s also a compulsive boob-grabber!

And, finally, her name is Arabic for “sweet basil”.

ALBUM SALES IN DISTRESS…

Earlier this month, Billboard magazine reported “U.S. album sales have hit new historic lows over the last five weeks marking the longest consecutive stretch in the SoundScan era that the industry has gone without scanning more than 5 million units.  And, over the last two weeks, album sales hit consecutive record lows.”

4.68 million albums were sold for the week ending July 28, 2013.   That’s the lowest weekly total since Nielsen SoundScan started in May 1991.

The top-selling album for the first half of this year, through June 30th, is “The 20/20 Experience” by Justin Timberlake.  Sales are right around two million.

THE 20/20 EXPERIENCE ALBUM COVER AND TRACK LIST REVEALED!

And, the top-selling single during that same time period is “Thrift Store” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, with U.S. sales of 5.6 million.  The song sold an additional 1.2 million copies in the U.S. in late 2012 when it was released.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

However, by the end of 2013, I expect that “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke (with Pharrell and T.I.) will be the biggest selling single of the year.  As of August 7th, it was up to 4.27 million in U.S. sales!

But, we can’t forget “Applause” by Lady Gaga and “Roar” from Katy Perry.  Both were rush-released this week because the songs were leaked on the internet.

Lady Gaga-Katy Perry

“Applause” is the first single from the “ARTPOP” album due November 11th.  Gaga will be performing the song live on the MTV VMA show August 25th marking her first real performance since a hip injury and surgery caused her to cancel the remainder of her “Born This Way Ball” tour earlier this year.

This is the lyric video for “Applause”.  The “official” video for the song debuts Monday, August 19th.

And, “Roar” is the first single from Katy Perry’s album “Prism”, which comes out October 22th.

Gretel, my 12-year-old daughter, likes “Roar” more than “Applause”, which she thinks is “weird”.

As for me:

Katy Perry — “Roar” —  I love the catchy chorus of “Roar”, but the rest of the sound is too slow of a build for me.   GRADE:  B

Lady Gaga — “Applause” —  The energy is incredible, the vocals are captivating, and it sounds a little rougher than her previous club hits, but it’ll still make you gravitate to the dance floor.  GRADE:  A

The winner!

Applause

YET, VINYL IS HOT AGAIN

While album sales are suffering, vinyl record albums are making a comeback.  In 2012, 4.55 million were sold in the U.S. compared to just less than a million (990,000) five years ago.  Many record companies are beginning to offer free downloads of an album when vinyl is purchased.

Albums

Last Christmas, I asked Santa Ray & Santa Tammy for a turntable because I missed vinyl records.  Since Santa delivered, I’ve been hitting a few yard sales and my neighbor’s store, Readmore Book World & Rock Shop, in Moline, for albums and Tammy has picked up a few for me at Goodwill.

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

The Go-Go’s first album, “Beauty and the Beat”, in 1981,  hit #1 and sold more than two million copies.  It also gave the group its first two hits and its biggest hit, “Our Lips Are Sealed” (#20) and “We Got The Beat” (#2).

They followed that album up the next year with “Vacation”.  The biggest hit off that release was the #8 title track (the album also peaked at #8).  The group did have two other smaller hits from that album and that was it for them.  A total of five Top 40 Hot 100 hits.

Since we’re heading to Cancun tomorrow, this song is very fitting.

“ELYSIUM”

We saw “Elysium” last weekend.  Matt Damon was incredible (and majorly buff) and Jodie Foster, who wasn’t in the movie as much as Damon, was icily perfect.

Elysium Matt Damon Jodie Elysium

Also, Sharlto Copely, who starred in director Neill Blomkamp’s more superior, Oscar-nominated film, “District 9”, was scary and fantastic as the villain, Kruger.

Sharlto Copley

The premise of the movie is that it’s 2154 and Earth (especially Los Angeles) is in ruins.  The wealthy 1% live above the Earth, literally, in space looking down on the ravaged world, the 99%.  On “Elysium”, where the rich live, there is no poverty and no disease.  Life is perfect.

Damon, plays Max, a former car thief, who has a work place accident that exposes him to high levels of radiation.  He’s informed that he only has five days to live and his only chance for survival is to get to Elysium and be treated for the disease.

The movie was action filled and fun.  However, if you saw “District 9”, which was amazing, this movie may not thrill you as much.  It’s still an exciting two hours.

GRADE: B

MY THOUGHTS THIS WEEK ON RUSSIA’S HOMOPHOBIA

boycott-sochi-2014 Madonna Defend Human Rights

THAT’S IT FOR A FEW DAYS

While I might post something on Facebook while in Mexico, my next blog will be next Friday’s random thoughts.

Have a great weekend.

Anthony