The Go-Go’s – Our Lips Are Sealed ….Powerpop Friday

In Jr. High the Go Go’s broke out and got my attention. This song peaked at #20 in 1981 in the Billboard 100. It was on the album Beauty and the Beat that peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Charts. The album had some good hooks and the songs were mostly written by the band members.

The Go-Go’s are the first all-girl band to write the songs and play the instruments on a #1 US album. The group formed in 1978 in Los Angeles, California. Frontwoman Belinda Carlisle was briefly a member (drummer) of the influential punk band The Germs, but Charlotte Caffey was the only member with much experience – she had been in a band called The Eyes. The group learned on the fly with constant gigs.

Jane Wiedlin on why the band started as punk but soon went to pop: “We, from the beginning, were always kind of enamored with the pop/punk style, like our favorite band, the band that we always tried to emulate was The Buzzcocks, who had that great pop song done in a punky style. So that was kind of what we were going for from the beginning. And for the first few years when we were just learning how to play, I think we sounded probably a lot worse than we meant to, just because we didn’t know what we were doing. And then, slowly as we learned to play, the songs started coming out more and more. It was always trying to sort of straddle the line between pop and punk.”

From Songfacts

Go-Go’s guitarist Jane Wiedlin wrote this with British musician Terry Hall, who was lead singer of The Specials. Wiedlin told Songfacts: “In 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 like a lot gloomier than the Go-Go’s’ version.”

Speaking about her relationship with Terry Hall, Wiedlin adds: “Like I said, he had a girlfriend in England, and they were talking about getting married and all this stuff. So I don’t know how I got in the picture. And, you know, that’s something that I did as a teenager, maybe I was 20. That’s something I would never do now, knowingly enter into a relationship with someone who was with someone else. I mean, it was completely screwed on my part. Although I think when people do that, you really have to look at the person who’s in the relationship, and they have to take the burden of the responsibility as well. Anyways, it was one of those things with the tragic letters, ‘I just can’t do this.’ You know, ‘I’m betrothed to another.’ All that kind of stuff.”

This was the first hit for the Go-Go’s, who started as a punk band in the late ’70s, but became pop superstars with the release of their first album, Beauty And The Beat. Unlike most other female pop groups, the Go-Go’s wrote their own songs and were serious musicians. Despite their pure pop sound, they had a confidence and attitude that gave them lots of credibility and set them apart from other bands on the fledgling MTV network.

Jane Wiedlin said in her Songfacts interview: “We’d been together about two years when I wrote that. Some of the songs from the very beginning were songs that ended up part of our repertoire. Others fell by the wayside. I remember when I wrote it, I was really afraid to show it to the band in case they didn’t like it and all this stuff. But luckily they did like it.”

The video was directed by Derek Burbidge, who did the early videos for The Police. It’s low-budget but effective, showing the band performing the song in a small club and also having carefree fun outside on a sunny day. For much of the video they are playing around in a fountain, a trope later popularized in the opening credits of the TV series Friends.

Jane Wiedlin explained: “That was the first single in America. But before 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, who also we toured with. We also toured with Madness in England. And then that single was a previous version of ‘We Got The Beat.'” (In our interview with Jane Wiedlin, she talks about another song inspired by a “Euro-guy,” and what happened when she tried to be “The Good Wife.” Her website is janewiedlin.com.)

Terry Hall’s version with his group The Fun Boy Three hit #7 in the UK.

In 2004, Hilary and Haylie Duff recorded this for the movie A Cinderella Story, which starred Hilary.

In the 2002 movie Home Room, high school classmates Alicia (Busy Philipps) and Deanna (Erika Christensen) argue over the meaning of the song. Alicia says, “It’s about a bunch of chicks trying to stay virgins,” and Deanna claims, “It’s about a bunch girls trying to keep a secret.”

Our Lips Are Sealed

Can you hear them?
They talk about us
Telling lies
Well, that’s no surprise

Can you see them?
See right through them
They have no shield
No secrets to reveal

It doesn’t matter what they say
In the jealous games people play
Our lips are sealed

There’s a weapon
That we must use
In our defense
Silence reveals

When you look at them
Look right through them
That’s when they’ll disappear
That’s when we’ll be feared

It doesn’t matter what they say
In the jealous games people play
Our lips are sealed

Pay no mind to what they say
It doesn’t matter anyway
Our lips are sealed

Hush, my darling
Don’t you cry
Quiet, angel
Forget their lies

Can you hear them?
They talk about us
Telling lies
Well, that’s no surprise

Can you see them?
See right through them
They have no shield
No secrets to reveal

It doesn’t matter what they say
In the jealous games people play
Our lips are sealed

Pay no mind to what they say
It doesn’t matter anyway
Our lips are sealed
Our lips are sealed
Our lips are sealed

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

25 thoughts on “The Go-Go’s – Our Lips Are Sealed ….Powerpop Friday”

  1. From the moment I heard this, I was a huge Go-Gos fan. Eventually this one got played to death on the radio. Recently I listened to all of Beauty and the Beat, and was surprised at how much I still loved all of those songs.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. They had a natural sound…not a corporate one…full of hooks. I didn’t know they went from punk to pop…I guess that is where the natural sound came in.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t thought about that one in a while. They imploded after that album…and its a shame. Having them and the Bangles at the same time would have been cool.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I liked them because they were natural…not a corporate band…I didn’t know they went from punk to pop…which makes sense now listening to them.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. There were a couple romantic connects there with your Dodgers right? Was it Belinda and Mike Marshall? I think there was another too can’t think of it…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes I remember reading about Mike Marshall and her … I saw a couple of pictures of them together. I think the other could have been…Greg Brock or Steve Sax.
      Marshall drove Lasorda crazy.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I would have never made that connection with the Germs. it was brief but the drummer part threw me off also. It had to be pretty cool back then in the late 70s and 80s being in California.

      Like

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