Belinda Live

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Belinda Carlisle – Part Two

Belinda into the 90’s, in too deep and returning to the valley of the Go-Go’s.

by Mark Keen

Continuing from where I left off on part one, good news was coming around the corner in the UK in particular with the huge number one “Greatest Hits: Volume 1” which would follow in 1992 covering the period since 1987, and leading to the release of  “Little Black Book” rather belatedly released almost a year after the “Live Your Life Be Free” single.

Another great track “I Plead Insanity” from the “Live Your Life Be Free” album which could have been a huge single, and appeared to be planned as such at one stage with a video produced, was also included, although there were no new tracks. This didn’t harm sales in the UK where the album went double platinum.

1993 signalled a fresh start. In many ways the power pop of the 1980s had gone out of fashion and Belinda had to find a new shtick. The top 10 “Real” album in the UK would come with much more natural cover art photos and no songs written or produced by Rick Nowels and Ellen Shipley, who had written and produced many of Belinda’s most well known hits. It perhaps lacked the production sheen of previous efforts and the songs had more in common with Belinda’s Go-Gos past, which was perhaps not a surprise with contributions from band members in the writing and production, including more involvement by Belinda herself. The album campaign got off to a decent start in the UK top 20 with “Big Scary Animal”.

A further single “Lay Down Your Arms” would reach the top 30 in the UK, before Belinda would find herself returning briefly to the comfort of the Go-Gos. The return to the Go-Gos in 1994 would see the release of a new greatest hits album “Return Of The Valley Of The Go-Gos” and a tour promoting the album. The album included the Go-Gos only top 30 hit with “The Whole World Lost Its Head” confirming Belinda’s continued popularity in the UK.

Belinda would find herself back working with Rick Nowels for the 1996 “A Woman And A Man” (UK No.12) and whilst the album did revitalise her career in Europe and the UK with four hits singles including two top ten hits, it appears to be an album that Belinda has few good memories of, particularly disliking the hook up with Per Gessle of Roxette infamy. Let’s start with the first hit “In Too Deep” (UK No.6) which to my mind is a real return to form.

Belinda would maintain the momentum with the Gessle written “Always Breaking My Heart” (UK No.8). Maybe it does feel like a Roxette cast off, but I love it anyway. Belinda also recorded “Falling Into You” for the album which ended up a worldwide hit for Celine Dion, and perhaps the regret at losing this song after a record label disagreement tainted Belinda’s love of this album.

Nevertheless there were a couple more great singles in “Love In The Key of C” (UK No.20) and particularly “California” (UK No.31) with sublime backing vocals by Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. Who can forget the haunting lyric “I remember I was in the tanning salon when I heard that River Phoenix had gone”? I think that is one of the best opening lines of any song! This is a classic song written by Rick Nowels and Billy Steinberg with Maria ‘Body Rock’ Vidal.

In 1999 Belinda returned with another greatest hits “Place On Earth: The Greatest Hits” and despite it being not that long since the previous hits collection it still proved a top 20 hit in the UK selling 100,000 copies. What interested fans was the three new tracks on the collection, which it is rumoured were recorded for an abandoned album. It was interesting to imagine would could have been as these singles were solid pop, including tracks with the producers of Cher’s “Believe” who were the go-to writers and producers for a period in the late 90s. “All God’s Children” was not a hit, but is worth checking out.

The new millennium would again see Belinda back with the Go-Gos reuniting for a new studio album “God Bless The Go-Gos” and a tour. Things would then go decidedly quiet for the next five years as Belinda, her husband (son of the late and great esteemed British actor, James Mason) and her son, Duke lived a quieter life in France after escaping LA. Coincidentally Duke would come out at 14, although Belinda had always been a strong advocate for LGBTQ rights as long as an animal rights activist for PETA.

In 2007 Belinda would return with the low profile, but interesting, album “Voila” sang entirely in French and featuring French standards such as “Ne Me Quite Pas” and “La Vie En Rose”.

In the last 10 years Belinda has toured extensively around the UK, including a memorable gig I was lucky enough to see at Manchester Cathedral. There has also been an extensive re-release schedule of all her albums through Edsel which include all the videos and interviews for each album. These make amusing viewings as Belinda’s recollection of which songs are on which album is hazy at times.

In addition, there were a number of compilations and a couple of new tracks, notably “Sun”, a song discovered by her son, and “Goodbye Just Go”.

In 2017 Belinda would release her most recent studio album “Wilder Shores”. I must admit I’ve not caught up with this album of Gurmukhi chants yet!

Keep in touch with Belinda through her WEBSITE and her FACEBOOK page

Take a look at all our other Where Are They Now posts and don’t forget to follow the playlist!

Where Are They Now?

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Written by

So perhaps you’ve read an article or two that I’ve written and wondered “just who is this character?”! Well I thought maybe it would be time to introduce myself and what I’m all about. Well it’s all about the music! Having been born in the late 1970’s I was heavily influenced by my parent’s love of ‘popular’ music and rock and roll of the 1950’s and 60’s. My Mother always said she should of married Elvis and my father was, and is still, in love with Sandie Shaw! But while my Dad’s tastes stopped in about 1967, my Mum carried on loving music throughout the 70’s, 80’s and beyond. My first memory was playing on the floor whilst my Mother was ironing one day with the radio on, and hearing ABBA’s “Super Trouper” dancing my nappy off to it! Maybe that’s where it all went wrong…?! Having been subjected to all and sundry in my infant years, I finally found my feet in the mid-1980’s and began ‘partying’ to the likes of Culture Club, Stevie Wonder(!), Elkie Brooks and Bananarama to name but a few! The year 1987 would have a profound effect on my listening tastes and from thereon in my life would be dominated with buying and listening to music. Any number of outstanding songs were released and listened to that year, most notably “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “La Isla Bonita”. That Summer my mind was completely taken over with music and sounds I’d never heard before and I was totally taken in by it all. My father would say “whaaar rubbish you got on naaaaao?” (I’m from Norfolk!) but I was hooked. And it continued so for the rest of the decade and the next. At the beginning of 1988 I ‘met’ my true love and the singer I’ve worshipped more than any other artist or group. You may know of her. She’s from Australia…! Aside from pop music, my tastes are many and varied and continues to grow and expand as I ‘mature’ in age. I’ve always been heavily interested in films and in particular the mechanics of film making and of course film music, so scores and subsequently orchestral music takes up a lot of my tastes and collection. 90’s dance and club tunes also takes up much of the space in my head and I’m surprised my brain has stopped shaking from the years of abuse it took being dragged to nightclubs, often three times a week in my 20’s! I find with each year that passes I regress back to my youth and of course the 1980’s. 80’s music dominates and the lust to see as many 80’s acts and singers play live now is insatiable. I’m still getting into the groove as much as every breath I take, but I’m never gonna give up listening to my heart and pumping up the volume, simply because I LOVE MUSIC…any kind of music!

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