The Go-Go's Beauty and the Beat (33 1/3)
The Go-Go's debut album Beauty and the Beat was released on July 8, 1981. The album spent six weeks in the number one spot on the Billboard charts, produced two hit singles and sold more than two million copies making it one of the most successful debut albums of all time. Beauty and the Beat made the Go-Go's the first, and to date only, female band to have a number one album who not only wrote their own songs, but also played their own instruments.
Beauty and the Beat is a ground-breaking album, but the Go-Go's are often overlooked when we talk about influential female musicians. The Go-Go's were a feminist band and Beauty and the Beat a call to arms that inspired generations of women. The band embraced the DIY spirit of Riot Grrrl before there was a Bikini Kill or a Bratmobile. Girls making music on their own terms didn't start with Courtney Love or Beyonc or Billie Eilish, it started with the Go-Go's. It started with Beauty and the Beat.
While they may have controlled their music, the Go-Go's couldn't control the misogyny of the music industry, media and fans. The sexist and tired stereotypes the Go-Go's experienced 40 years ago still exist today. The legacy of Beauty and the Beat is both a celebration of how the record inspired countless girls to make art and music on their own terms, but also a painful reminder of how little has changed in how female musicians are marketed, manipulated, and discarded.