Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: The Go-Gos

I have pondered the case of the Go-Gos for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for a while. They clearly have a lot of fans–the group has been frequently recommended to me by readers in lists of acts I have not covered yet, and the group was recently named the winner of a poll for the group that is most worthy of induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame over far more successful acts [1]. Yet the group has never been seriously considered for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame despite the fact that they have a few songs who have endured particularly well. Sometimes it is worth considering why and how there is such a wide disconnect between a group which has enduring popular support on the one hand, and songs that have stood the test of time, and the statistics and opinion of the RRHOF nominating committee. Are the Go-Gos a snubbed group? Or is it the fact that the band has maintained at lest some place in the limelight with songs that have endured blind us to the marginality of their case for hall of fame induction over bands that have a much stronger case than they do? Or is it, as it often is, a little bit of both?

The Influence Of The Go-Gos

As a successful all women’s rock & roll group, the Go-Gos can certainly claim a fair degree of influence when it comes to demonstrating the capacity of such groups to have successful careers where the group writes their own material. This is worth what it’s worth, which will depend a great deal on the person (it has not seemed to matter a great deal to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominating committee, alas). The second obvious case for the Go-Gos involves their songs, which have had a modest degree of chart success (more on that below) but which have survived particularly well. To the extent that having songs that have really lasted well even with somewhat modest chart rankings matters, the Go-Gos have done well, and they are a live act that has won a fair degree of support as well, including with at least one well-regarded concert at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. With songs that other bands and artists have covered and a template of all girls rocking that has obviously and successfully been imitated, this is a band that certainly has a case for influencing others.

Why The Go-Gos Belong In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

Unlike a great many acts, this particular group is rather thin when it comes to popular albums. Their debut album went multi-platinum but follow-up Vacation was a comedown at gold and none of their other albums has been certified at all. It can certainly be argued that Talk Show should be certified at least gold as well as one of their compilations, and that would give them a better case for induction than they have, but as it stands, two certified albums is a bit thin. Where the band is not thin in terms of its record is in lasting songs, for almost all of their popular singles, “We Got The Beat,” “Our Lips Are Sealed” and “Head Over Heels” have endured as classic pop-rock songs of the 1980’s, a troika of hits that anyone would be happy to have in their discography. In addition to that, “Vacation” was a top ten and “Turn To You” was a top 40 hit [2]. This sort of record is certainly good enough to put the band in consideration for a rock & roll hall nomination, and if the band had released this sort of career in the 1960’s they would have as good a case as the Mamas and the Papas or another group of that stature.

Why The Go-Gos Aren’t In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

Ultimately, the Go-Gos have never been considered seriously for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for a variety of reasons–they weren’t around for a long time, they didn’t acquire a huge record of success in album sales, and they had their success in the 80’s, a decade that has dozens of artists with more hit singles and albums than they had that have never been seriously considered for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. If the RRHOF nominating committee has any reluctance nominating a girl group for the Hall of Fame, it’s not like that has to be the only reason why they would be reluctant.

Verdict: While a case can be made for the induction of the Go-Gos, at the same time as a group they have some serious holes in their case. To the extent that their back catalog increases in certifications and their songs are recognized and covered to an even greater degree, this band might rise in the queue in a stacked group of snubbed 80’s acts.

[1] https://www.goldderby.com/article/2020/the-go-gos-snubbed-bands-2021-rock-and-roll-hall-of-fame-induction/

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Go-Go%27s_discography

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in American History, History, Music History and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: The Go-Gos

  1. Catharine Martin says:

    I guess the biggest strike against this group is that all they are is a reflection of their time. The band is viewed as another bubble gum group with nothing of real value to say. They are young and having fun–but that’s all. I guess, when searching for outstanding artists, the RRHOF ostensibly looks to bands with some modicum of depth to them. The Go Go’s was a good band because it served its purpose. Their music was fun to listen and dance to–but, afterward, it was time to move on. Looking back and reviewing their output is wonderfully nostalgic, for we could all use a large dose of remembering a more carefree, happier era.

    • Yes, I agree. The band was a piece of its time, and in retrospect, certainly from the hindsight of 2020, their carefree and easygoing approach to music is something that we long for nostalgically, even if their career may look slight compared to other artists.

  2. tom0x56 says:

    I would consider myself a fan of the Go-Gos. However, if I were to compare the music of Belinda Carlisle as a solo artist to the music of the Go-Gos, I would have to say that solo Belinda is better. When I see the support that the Go-Gos get in various polls on the subject of the Hall, I wonder if like minded Belinda fans are putting their support into the Go-Gos merely because they think that it is more likely that the band would get in before her as a solo artist.

    • I haven’t written about it yet, but I believe I will get around to Belinda Carlisle’s solo career and I agree with you that it is stronger than the case of the Go-Go’s, not that she shouldn’t be aiming for a Stevie Nicks case.

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