Go-Go's guitarist Jane Wiedlin wrote this with British musician Terry Hall, who was lead singer of The Specials. Says Wiedlin: "In 1980 we were playing at The Whisky on Sunset Strip, and The Specials were in town from England, and they came to see us, and they really liked us and asked us if we would be their opening act on their tour. I met Terry Hall, the singer of The Specials, and ended up having kind of a romance. He sent me the lyrics to 'Our Lips Are Sealed' later in the mail, and it was kind of about our relationship, because he had a girlfriend at home and all this other stuff. So it was all very dramatic. I really liked the lyrics, so I finished the lyrics and wrote the music to it, and the rest is history. And then his band, The Fun Boy Three, ended up recording it, too - they did a really great version of it, also. It was like a lot gloomier than the Go-Go's' version."
Speaking about her relationship with Terry Hall, Wiedlin adds: "Like I said, he had a girlfriend in England, and they were talking about getting married and all this stuff. So I don't know how I got in the picture. And, you know, that's something that I did as a teenager, maybe I was 20. That's something I would never do now, knowingly enter into a relationship with someone who was with someone else. I mean, it was completely screwed on my part. Although I think when people do that, you really have to look at the person who's in the relationship, and they have to take the burden of the responsibility as well. Anyways, it was one of those things with the tragic letters, 'I just can't do this.' You know, 'I'm betrothed to another.' All that kind of stuff."
This was the first hit for the Go-Go's, who started as a Punk band in the late '70s, but became Pop superstars with the release of their first album, Beauty And The Beat. Unlike most other female Pop groups, the Go-Go's wrote their own songs and were serious musicians. Despite their pure Pop sound, they had a confidence and attitude that gave them lots of credibility and set them apart from other bands on the fledgling MTV network.
Wiedlin: "We'd been together about two years when I wrote that. Some of the songs from the very beginning were songs that ended up part of our repertoire. Others fell by the wayside. I remember when I wrote it, I was really afraid to show it to the band in case they didn't like it and all this stuff. But luckily they did like it."
Wiedlin: "That was the first single in America. But before we got our record deal with IRS, we actually put out one single in England so that when we toured we had something to sell, and we had like a one single deal with Stiff Records, who were the record company that had signed The Specials and Madness, who also we toured with. We also toured with Madness in England. And then that single was a previous version of 'We Got The Beat.'" (In our interview with Jane Wiedlin, she talks about another song inspired by a "Euro-guy," and what happened when she tried to be "The Good Wife." Her website is janewiedlin.com.)
Terry Hall's version with his group The Fun Boy Three hit #7 in the UK.
In 2004, Hilary and Haylie Duff recorded this for the movie A Cinderella Story, which starred Hilary.
Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 23rd 1982, the Go-Go's performed "Our Lips Are Sealed" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'... Exactly five months earlier on August 23rd, 1981 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and on December 6th, 1981 it peaked at #20 (for 2 weeks)and spent a half-year on the Top 100 (30 weeks)... It reached #2 in Australia and #4 in Canada.
Anne from Sanilac County, MiI didn't know the story behind the song as a kid, so I found it odd seeing the video for Fun Boy Three's version of this song a couple of years later. It seemed like a strange choice for a cover version relatively soon afterward.
It was only after hearing the story, sanitized to the point of not naming names, from Jane that I immediately realized who she was talking about, and that Fun Boy Three's version wasn't really a cover, but the co-writer's own take on it.
Anyway, I've always loved the song, and the double-meaning of the title lyric, their lips are sealed because they aren't talking about their relationship, and also because they're sealed together in a kiss, always struck me as a very clever bit of wordplay.
Theresa from Murfreesboro, TnPop bliss - my fave Go-Go song.
Tanya from La Verne, CaGreat song, especially Jane's solo.
Hugh from Kansas City, MoI always thought this song was about their abstinence from sex....
Jonothan from Adelaide, AustraliaFun song. It's impossible to sing this song without looking happy - Hilary and Haylie Duff almost succeed!