rolling stones going to a go-go 1982Can You Hear the Music?


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Rolling Stones songs: Goint to A Go-Go
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It doesn’t matter if you’re black/ It doesn’t matter if you’re white…

Written by: Robinson/Moore/Rogers/Tarplin
Recorded: Live at Capitol Center, Largo, Madison, USA, Dec. 8 1981
Guest musicians: Ian McLagan (piano), Ernie Watts (sax)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012

From Songfacts:
Smokey Robinson, who was a member of The Miracles, wrote this. He could write some very deep and heart wrenching songs, but was also capable of some lighter, fun tunes like this one, which is about going dancing. A go-go is a ’60s disco.

The Rolling Stones released this as a live track in 1982. It is on their album Still Life. Their version went to on the Canadian charts for two weeks, following Queen’s “Body Language” and preceding Survivor’s “Eye Of The Tiger.”

The album Going To A Go-Go was reissued in 2002 with three unreleased bonus tracks.

Not many people notice that “go-go” is also a music style which originated local to Washington, DC, USA. It was an offshoot of funk and R&B music styles, with lots of lo-fi percussion (such as the bongos here) and a generally loose jam style. Along with the music style came the infamous go-go clubs and go-go dancers, who were more the predecessors to the exotic dancers we have today practicing pole dance than anything else. At the time of the ’60s, outright nude dancing was still frowned upon, so dancers in skimpy outfits (sometimes in cages to protect them from rowdy patrons) were the closest they could get.

The Whisky A Go-Go on Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, California, was one of the seminal go-go clubs and also the first to use cages suspended from the ceiling for dancers. Note the name: both ‘whiskey’ and ‘whisky’ are correct spellings.

There are two cult-schlock-classic films that bear mentioning as being saturated in go-go culture: One is The Wild World of Batwoman, in which the titular heroine is force-fed some “happy pills” by the villain, which cause spontaneous involuntary go-go dancing. Don’t ask! The other is the equally-zany Rat Pfink a Boo Boo, which closes with the song “Go-Go Party.” There are numerous other bits of go-go culture on display here as well, but both films are low-budget productions famous for being “so bad they’re good.”

On October 1, 1981, the little-known all-girl band The Go-Go’s opened for The Rolling Stones at their show in Rockford, Illinois, part of the Tattoo You tour. The Go-Go’s record label, IRS, made promotional posters that read: “Going to a Go-Go with the Rolling Stones.”

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