Saturday 31st July 2021
Belinda Carlisle, born Belinda Jo Carlisle on August 17, 1958 in Hollywood, California, was and occasionally still is the lead vocalist for the pop rock band The Go-Go’s and also a phenomenally successful solo artist who still tours and, eventually, records to this day.
Belinda’s first venture into music was as the drummer for the LA punk band The Germs, under the name Dottie Danger, it didn’t last long what with drumming not being her natural forte and all so she left and joined The Go-Go’s. After the initial breakup of The Go-Go’s in 1985 Belinda picked herself up, dusted herself off and embarked upon a solo career.
Her first solo album, Belinda, was released on I.R.S. Records in 1986 and it was also that year Belinda married Morgan Mason, son of the British actor James Mason. Morgan made appearances in Carlisle’s videos “Mad About You” and “Heaven is a Place on Earth”.
Belinda flaunted her glamorous image on the cover of her second album 1987’s Heaven on Earth, her second solo album (released in the United States through MCA but in the United Kingdom through Virgin).
Critics and fans noticed that not only was Belinda’s image more glamorous than during her time with the Go-Go’s, but also her solo music was more polished and ‘professional’. The new sound was certainly due in part to producer Rick Nowels, who had previously worked with Stevie Nicks and would later work with Madonna amongst many others.
In 1991, Belinda released her fourth solo album, Live Your Life Be Free, to be candid the album did not sell as well as her two previous albums, though it did reach the Top Ten in many European countries.
Shortly thereafter her son, James Duke Mason, (named for James Mason (Morgan’s father) and Duke Kurczeski (Belinda’s stepfather)), was born and not long after the now notorious 1992 Los Angeles riots to place. A few months afterwards virgin seized the moment and released her first greatest hit albums, the British release of which compilation topped the U.K. album charts.
Belinda’s fifth solo album, Real, was released 1993 on the Virgin label in the U.S. as well as Europe. Produced without Nowels, the album departed from her previous polished pop music formula, indeed some critics welcomed the change and noted that the new album was similar to her sound with The Go-Go’s.
The week it was released “Real” reached number nine in the UK unfortunately, the album’s first single, “It’s Too Real (Big Scary Animal)”, failed to make a big impact in the U.S. but again achieved a respectable number twelve in the UK.
In her career, Belinda had the opportunity to work with musicians from the 1960s. Michelle Phillips of The Mamas and The Papas did backup singing for Heaven on Earth; Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys helped with the recording of the “California” track on A Woman and A Man.