Belinda Carlisle rose to fame in the early 1980s as the lead singer for the Go-Go’s, before transitioning to a successful solo career.
“By the time I hit 14, I’d gone really wild. I ran away from home, smoked pot, dropped acid … you name it, I’d try it.”
Born in Hollywood, California, in 1958, Belinda Carlisle immersed herself in the L.A. punk scene in the late 1970s. She became the lead vocalist of the all-girls group the Go-Go’s, which enjoyed a chart-topping debut in 1981 with Beauty and the Beat. Carlisle later established herself as a successful solo artist with the albums Belinda and Heaven on Earth. After struggling with drug abuse for years, she released a best-selling memoir in 2010.
Belinda Jo Carlisle was born on August 17, 1958, in Hollywood, California, to Harold and Joanne Carlisle. Her parents separated when she was young, and after her mom remarried, to Walt Kurczeski, Belinda took on the last name of her stepdad for several years.
The family frequently moved as they searched for stability, and 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 adopted the stage name Dottie Danger and became the drummer for an early version of the punk band the Germs. In 1978, she formed an all-female band with Jane Wiedlin (guitar, vocals), Margot Olavarria (bass) and Elissa Bello (drums), named the Misfits. They soon added Charlotte Caffey (guitar, keyboards), and by the time they replaced Bello with Gina Schock in 1979, they were known as the Go-Go’s.