For anyone who presumed last year's Go-Go's farewell tour was an indication the group's members would be riding off into the sunset, singer Belinda Carlisle's 2017 is quickly shaping up as a busy one for the pop chanteuse.
First, Carlisle's new studio album Wilder Shores is in-the-can and tentatively due out by summer. It will be Carlisle's first conventional pop solo effort since 1996's A Woman And A Man. Her last solo effort, 2007's Voila, had been a collection of French pop standards that saw limited release and virtually zero promotion.
In what is sure to be her most intimate gig of the year, Carlisle has just announced plans to perform an intimate charity concert for 200 lucky fans at Birmingham (UK) pub The High Field on July 15.
All of this B.C. activity is more than ample reason to blast our five favorite Belinda tunes!
5. Mad About You (from 1986's Belinda)
This irresistibly gushy love note was Belinda's first solo single and quickly established her as a force to be reckoned with in the wake of the Go-Go's break-up. Amazingly, the song was one of three tunes on the album written by Paula Jean Brown, who'd briefly replaced Jane Wiedlin in the Go-Go's before the band called it a day.
The song went to #3 in the U.S. charts leading many to wonder what could have been if the Go-Go's had stayed together long enough to make a full album with Brown, who, oddly enough, most recently toured as bassist with Sparklehorse in 2008.
4. Leave A Light On (from 1989's Runaway Horses)
This Rick Nowels-Ellen Shipley song is notable for a couple reasons:
1) Peaking at #11 on the U.S. charts, it was Carlisle's last Top 20 American hit, and
b) George Harrison plays slide guitar on the track. Say what?!
Yes, it seems Carlisle asked hubby Morgan Mason, who'd been a producer on the film "PowWow Highway", which had been released by Harrison's HandMade films, to invite Harrison to play on the track. Harrison responded immediately, recording his part in three takes a few days later.
3. Lay Down Your Arms (from 1993's Real)
We're still trying to wrap our heads around how this Charlotte Caffey co-write (with Ellen Shipley and Ralph Schuckett) wasn't a Top 20 hit for The Graces in 1989, much less when Carlisle took a shot at the song four years later. The song was a Top 40 UK hit, but her U.S. label (Virgin Records) couldn't even be bothered to release the song as a single. Beware, those who click on the link above stand a high chance of carrying the song's ebullient chorus around in your head for the rest of the day.
2. Circle In The Sand (from 1987's Heaven On Earth)
Never was the hit-making team of Belinda Carlisle, Rick Nowels and Ellen Shipley more potent than on Carlisle's Heaven On Earth album, which featured the worldwide smash "Heaven Is A Place On Earth" and this atmospheric charmer that, itself, made it to #7 on the U.S. pop charts. Most interestingly, "Blinded By Science" hit-maker Thomas Dolby provided the song's identifiable keyboard refrain.
1. World Of Love (from 1991's Live Your Life Be Free)
Wait, what? You've never heard this song? Yes, admittedly chances are pretty high that we, too, would have remained joyfully oblivious to this song's existence if not for the fact that we're a complete liner note junkie by nature and when our eyes first fell upon the songwriting credits to this song (C. Caffey - J. McDonald - S. McDonald) back in '91, well, our heart skipped a beat.
After all Redd Kross's Third Eye had come out the year prior and filled us with promise that anything with their name on it would be equally cool. Sadly, it was not.
Its charm lies in the fact that it is so glaringly evocative of that brief period in the late '80s and early '90s - just before the release of Nirvana's Nevermind - when everybody was trying to get in on that bubbly adult contemporary vibe that Carlisle, herself, had set in motion and that the likes of Diane Warren, Desmond Child, and Rick Nowels had turned into a cottage industry.
Despite Caffey and the McDonald brothers' edgy rock lineage, we suspect that when these three writers got in the room together that day, it was to write a pop hit for an artist to be named later. Of course, its the production by Nowels that puts it over the top.