Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: The Go-Go’s

Waiting for a Star to Fall

First recorded by Belinda Carlisle (1987).
Hit versions by Boy Meets Girl (US #5/MOR #1/UK #9/CAN #1 1988), Cabin Crew (UK #4 2005), Sunset Strippers (UK #3 2005).

From the wiki: “‘Waiting for a Star to Fall’ was written by Shannon Rubicam and George Merrill, inspired by an actual falling star that Rubicam had seen at one of Whitney Houston’s concerts at the Greek Theatre. Initially, the duo did not consider recording it and, instead, submitted the song to Clive Davis to consider including it on Houston’s next album. But, he rejected it, alleging that the song did not suit her. The song was then offered to and recorded by Belinda Carlisle for her 1987 release, Heaven on Earth. But, Carlisle disliked the song and refused to include it on the album.

“Merrill and Rubicam decided to record the song themselves for their second album Reel Life, becoming a Top 10 hit in the US, the UK and Canada.”

Vacation

First recorded by The Textones (1980).
Hit version by The Go-Go’s (US #8 1982).

From the wiki: “‘Vacation’ was written by Karen Valentine and first recorded by her group, The Textones, in 1980 for release in the UK. The Go-Go’s Jane Wiedlin recalls [from Songfacts.com] ”Vacation’ was Kathy’s song, and Kathy was the last Go-Go to join. She joined at the beginning of ’81 and she brought that song with her from her band, The Textones. We really loved the song, but it didn’t really have a chorus. So Charlotte and I ended up working with Kathy a little bit more on the song, and sort of Go-Go-fying it.’ The Go-Go’s recording charted Top 10 in the US but did not have any impact on the UK Singles chart.”

Our Lips Are Sealed

Co-written and first recorded by The Go-Go’s (US #20/UK #47/CAN #3 1981).
Other hit version by Fun Boy Three (UK #7 1983).

From the wiki: “‘Our Lips Are Sealed’ was written by The Go-Go’s guitarist Jane Wiedlin and Fun Boy Three singer Terry Hall (formerly of The Specials). The Go-Go’s supported The Specials on the latter’s 1980 US tour. According to Wiedlin, she and Hall had had an affair despite him having a girlfriend and this led to correspondence between Wiedlin and Hall about his ‘complicated situation’ from which the two pulled lyrics for the song. ‘Lips’ was first recorded by The Go-Go’s (and produced by Richard Gottehrer, who had co-written and helmed the recording of The Angels’ ‘My Boyfriend’s Back’ 18 years earlier) as the opening track on their 1981 album Beauty and the Beat and served as the group’s debut American single in June 1981. In 1983, Hall’s band, Fun Boy Three, released a more ominous-sounding cover of ‘Our Lips Are Sealed’. Issued as a UK single, the track became Top 10 there, and remains the best-known version of ‘Lips’ in that country and on the Continent. In 2000, Rolling Stone named ‘Our Lips Are Sealed’ one of the 100 Greatest Pop Songs of All Time.

We Got the Beat

First recorded by The Go-Go’s (DANCE #35 1980).
Hit version by The Go-Go’s (US #2 1982).

From the wiki: “Written by the group’s lead guitarist and keyboardist Charlotte Caffey, and considered to be their signature song, ‘We Got the Beat’ was first recorded in 1980 and released in July as a single in the UK on Stiff Records (available in the US, then, only as an UK import). The song’s single release brought the Go-Go’s underground credibility in the UK. The song climbed to #35 on the US Hot Dance Club Play chart due to its popularity in clubs as an import.

“From Songfacts.com, Jane Wiedlin remembers, ‘[B]efore we got our record deal with IRS, we actually put out one single in England so that when we toured we had something to sell, and we had like a one single deal with Stiff Records, who were the record company that had signed The Specials and Madness – we also toured with Madness in England. And then that single was a previous version of ‘We Got The Beat’. So, I guess technically that was our first single.’

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