Tuesday 23 April 2019

Our Lips Are Sealed

Cover version of the month #45 (well, kind of)

This is a cover version that's kind of not a cover version as Our Lips Are Sealed was written by Jane Wiedlin of The Go-Go's and Terry Hall of The Specials who later went on to form Fun Boy Three.

The Go-Go's and The Specials toured together in 1980 and the two got together (in more ways than one) to write the song.

I've been aware of the Fun Boy Three version for a long time and, like many cover versions I feature, I thought it was the original. It was only last week I discovered that The Go-Go's had recorded it first back in 1981, before Hall, with Fun Boy Three, would record and release it in 1983.

For me the Fun Boy Three version is absolute perfection. I think I first heard it on a post-punk mix tape on a bus to Manchester to see United. I used to go down regularly and there was a group of guys a decade or so older than me who had great taste in, and knowledge about, punk and new wave music. I heard loads of great stuff through their mixtapes.

Like many songs I love, Our Lips Are Sealed flows superbly, it really doesn't let up. Male and female vocals combine beautifully, Hall singing with drummer June Miles-Kingston, there are huge synths, a funky guitar riff in the background throughout and continuous beats that help bring everything together and drive the song.

It sounds perfectly 80's yet also perfectly timeless.... if that makes sense!

The Go-Go's version is more upbeat, more pop, yet still fresh, the energy of the vocals leaps out, Belinda Carlisle sounds angelic at times during the hush my darling, don't you cry section before sounding raw, soulful and full of purpose in the can you hear them, they talk about us, telling lies, well that's surprise section.

In addition to Carlisle's stunning lead, there are glorious backing vocals, handclaps, shimmering guitar riffs, driving bass and a simple pop beat, all combining deliciously.

For the first time in this regular feature I don't think I can choose a favourite version. I loved the song from the first time I heard it and now I love it even more from knowing its history and through The Go-Go's version.

Check the fun, sunshine pop promo from The Go-Go's below and see if you can decide. It totally makes me wish I could have seen them live back in 1981!

Read on for a full list of cover versions of the month to date complete with links.

Previous covers of the month

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