Today is the birthday of Jane Wiedlin, former guitarist
for the Go-Go's, who was born in 1958 in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. The Go-Go's
stood out among the all-woman musical groups of the 1980s; despite a
string of hit singles, they never fully managed to live down an early
reputation as inept musicians.
Wiedlin met up with Belinda Carlisle, an
ex-cheerleader who'd almost been a member of the Germs, recruiting guitarist
Charlotte Caffey, drummer Gina Schock and bassist Kathy Valentine before
recording their debut, 1981's Beauty and the Beat. The band went to
England and attracted the attention of Madness, meanwhile charting a minor hit
on the new wave scene with "We Got The Beat."
Subsequent albums -- like
1982's Vacation and 1984's Talk Show -- brought the Go-Go's
success in the states with singles like "Vacation" and "Head Over Heels."
Wiedlin left the band in 1985, and her bandmates soon went their separate ways.
Carlisle embarked on a successful solo career, charting with "Mad About You"
"Heaven Is a Place on Earth." Wiedlin's solo work was less well received; her
debut, Live Your Life to be Free sold poorly but its followup,
Fur, fared better with a #8 single, "Rush Hour," in 1988.
Go-Go's reunited in 1990 to record Return to the Valley of the Go-Go's
and tour extensively, with the ex-Bangles guitarist Vicki Peterson taking the
spot of the pregnant Caffey.
Last year Wiedlin surfaced leading a power-pop
combo called Frosted; the group's exuberent debut album, Cold, didn't
Other birthdays: actors Jimmy Stewart and Bronson Pinchot,
Thomas Gorman (Belly, Joe Cocker, Cher, Steve George (Mr. Mister), John & Susan
Cowsill (Cowsills), Nick Heywood (Haircut 100), Brian Nash (Frankie Goes To
Hollywood), Kit Clark (Danny Wilson) and Warren Cann (Ultravox). -- Beth