Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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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.

From, Jane Wiedlin remembers, “[I]n 1980 we were playing at The Whisky on Sunset Strip, and The Specials were in town from England, and they came to see us, and they really liked us and asked us if we would be their opening act on their tour. I met Terry Hall, the singer of The Specials, and ended up having kind of a romance. He sent me the lyrics to ‘Our Lips Are Sealed’ later in the mail, and it was kind of about our relationship, because he had a girlfriend at home and all this other stuff. So it was all very dramatic. I really liked the lyrics, so I finished the lyrics and wrote the music to it, and the rest is history. And then his band, The Fun Boy Three, ended up recording it, too – they did a really great version of it, also. It was a lot gloomier than the Go-Go’s version.”

The Fun Boy Three, “Our Lips Are Sealed” (1983):

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