NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A spellbinding and shocking look at Belinda Carlisle’s role in forming the Go-Go’s and her rise, fall, and eventual rebirth as a wife, mother, and sober artist
“An unflinching look back . . . with heartbreaking honesty and a wry sense of humor.”—USA Today
The women of the iconic eighties band the Go-Go’s will always be remembered as they appeared on the back of their debut record: sunny, smiling, each soaking in her own private bubble bath with chocolates and champagne. The photo is a perfect tribute to the fun, irreverent brand of pop music that the Go-Go’s created, but it also conceals the trials and secret demons that the members of the group—in particular, its lead singer, Belinda Carlisle—struggled with on their rise to stardom.
Lips Unsealed is Belinda’s story in her own words—from her crazy days on tour with the Go-Go’s to her private problems with abusive relationships, self-esteem, and a thirty-year battle with addiction. Ultimately, it is a love letter to music, the lifelong friendships between the members of the Go-Go’s, the beloved husband and son who led Belinda to sobriety, and a life which, though deeply flawed, was—and is still—fully lived.
The Go-Go s lead singer who went on to a solo career recounts a remarkable early Cinderella story that morphs into a frank, though at times self-indulgent, story of drug abuse and failure. Hailing from a working-class section of Los Angeles, the eldest daughter of divorced parents, Carlisle struggled early on with shame over her mother s depression and her step-father s drinking problem; teased for her chubbiness, she sought escape from a difficult home and found it in the mid- 70s burgeoning L.A. punk scene. Steeped in the brash music of Iggy Pop and Queen, crazy about the iconoclastic new look, she and her friends haunted Hollywood clubs while she worked as a hairdresser and secretary. In 1978 she, Jane Wiedlin, and Margot Olaverra came up with the idea of starting their own band, eventually adding Charlotte Caffey and Gina Shock, and within a short time the all-girl Go-Go s had moved from being a novelty to a super-cool pop band with their dance hit, We Got the Beat. Alongside dizzying stardom came the requisite drug-and-alcohol frenzy, and much of this memoir is a chronicle of one party after another and a list of celebrity who s who. Carlisle writes candidly, and her chronic fear of being exposed as a fake is heartfelt and winning.
A great read and rollicking ride
Thank you for sharing your truth, Belinda; from the ugly to the resplendent, your life and times have touched and resonated with genX me, and I’m glad that the human experience still has happy endings.
Depends on your expectations. I was a huge fan of the GO GO’s, so naturally I liked this book. It felt honest and not overly self-indulgent. Yes, it’s sort of typical for this genre in terms of including the requisite rock star clichés, anecdotes, and lessons learned, but to me, it still felt real and showed some authentic reflection. It was an easy, quick read, so if you generally like this type of book, you’ll probably enjoy this one.
I admittedly I’m not the biggest Go-Go’s or Belinda Carlisle fan, while I do like their music I was more interested in Belinda‘s life, how she went from being unknown to becoming a world famous singer. The book is very honest and forthcoming but it mostly focuses on her psychological struggles and her drug and alcohol abuse. While she does tell some great stories about the Go-Go’s, her solo career and meeting and knowing famous people, I think she could have told more details about her time with the Go-Go’s in the early days. For example, she barely talks about how we got the beat was a huge hit after our lips are sealed. Overall it’s an enjoyable book. Towards the end I got a little bored hearing yet another story about her drug abuse and alcohol use. But overall it’s a good read, very detailed and a triumph for somebody who struggled her whole life. One thing I thought that was odd was there are no photos in this book except for the front cover, I would say every autobiography I have ever read has dozens of photos. It would’ve been a nice touch.