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The Go-Go's Beauty and the Beat

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 Beyoncé 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.

The Go-Go's Beauty and the Beat

  • Lisa Whittington-Hill

    Celebrates the feminist legacy of the Go-Go's debut album Beauty and the Beat, explores the lasting influence the ground-breaking record had on female musicians and examines how pop culture portrays, packages and promotes female musicians

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    Chinese Simplified rights represented by ANA Beijing

  • Book Details

    Imprint: Bloomsbury Academic
    Publication Date: 07-09-2023
    Format: Paperback | 4 3/4 x 6 1/2 | 152 pages
  • About the Author

    Lisa Whittington-Hill is a writer based in Toronto, Canada. Her work has appeared in Longreads, The Walrus, Hazlitt, Catapult, and more. Girls, Interrupted, her collection of essays on how pop culture is failing women, will be published by VéhiculePress in 2023. She is also the publisher of This Magazine, a progressive magazine of politics, ideas, and culture, and teaches in the publishing program at Centennial College.

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