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Belinda Carlisle sang hits like "We Got the Beat" and "Our Lips Are Sealed" with her band The Go-Gos in the 1980s.
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Musician. Born August 17, 1958, as Belinda Jo Kurczeski to Walt and Joanne Kurczeski in Hollywood, California. Belinda's father abandoned the family when she was 5 years old. Her mother remarried, and the family's lower middle-class household eventually expanded to include seven children. As a youth, Belinda was often tasked with babysitting her three younger brothers and three younger sisters. She soon rebelled against her strict upbringing and the responsibility of her childhood. "By the time I hit 14, I'd gone really wild," Carlisle later said. "I ran away from home, smoked pot, dropped acid ... You name it, I'd try it."
Carlisle fell in love with the 1970s punk scene in Los Angeles, passing up college for life as a musician. She first adopted the stage name Donna Rhea, singing backup vocals for a string of local punk bands. She then went by Dotti Danger, playing the drums for an early version of the punk band the Germs. When she left the Germs, she changed her name once and for all to Belinda Carlisle and formed a new all-female band, the Go-Go's, with girlfriends Jane Weidlin, Margot Olaverra and Elissa Bello (Charlotte Caffey joined later).
The Go-Go's released their debut album, Beauty and the Beat, in 1982. The record reached the top spot on the Billboard album chart, staying there for six weeks before going double platinum. The Go-Go's became the first all-female band ever to hit No. 1 on the charts by writing and playing their own songs. Throughout the early 1980s, the Go-Go's remained one of the most popular bands in America, with hit songs like "We Got the Beat" and "Our Lips Are Sealed" dominating radio airwaves and MTV video play.
The Go-Go's were eager to prove that they could do anything their male counterparts could do, and that applied to the hard-living side of the rock star scene as well. "I remember thinking to myself: OK, I'm young and I'm a musician," Carlisle later recalled. "People are going to have certain expectations of me. They're going to think I'm a flake, they're going to think I'm a drug addict and they're going to think I'm irresponsible—so I might as well become all those things." She settled on cocaine as her drug of choice—a substance, she said, that "always made me feel better no matter what else was bothering me." Carlisle wasn't the only member of the Go-Go's to succumb to addiction; three of the band's five members developed serious drug problems, sending drugs by FedEx to their locations when they went on tour.
Carlisle's romantic life was equally chaotic.
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