Belinda Carlisle in "I Get Weak"
In Deep With Belinda Carlisle
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"I Get Weak"
Just three years following her departure from the Go-Go's, Belinda Carlisle found herself in the middle of a musical transformation. Formerly a rebellious new wave/punk rock princess, Carlisle now stood as a mature solo artist ready to enter her 30s and embrace a more polished, softer pop direction.
Following her debut solo album, 1986's gold-certified Belinda — an album that spawned the playful Top 10 hit "Mad About You" — Carlisle traveled further down an adult contemporary path. She teamed with GRAMMY-winning producer Rick Nowels for her sophomore solo album, 1987's Heaven On Earth, resulting in one of the more expertly crafted pop albums of the day. After the album's first single, "Heaven Is A Place On Earth," rose to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, Carlisle and label MCA Records prepped for the all-important second single.
The romantically charged "I Get Weak" was chosen, appropriately released one day after Valentine's Day in 1988. The song proved to be anything but a weak choice, rocketing to No. 2. The accompanying video was directed by actress Diane Keaton, who also directed the video for "Heaven Is A Place On Earth." Ripe with vivid imagery, Keaton's artsy visual take on "I Get Weak" mixes burning hearts and photographs with raining roses, isolated colors set against black-and-white scenes, and a tangled Belinda wrestling with satin sheets. Model/actor Tony Ward plays the object of Belinda's aching desire and is the man responsible for her being unable to walk, talk, eat, and/or sleep. Ward wields such a powerful aura that he not only mesmerizes Belinda, but also causes her video cohorts to resort to fanning themselves to keep from fainting.
Packed with hooks aplenty and seamless chord changes, it's no surprise that "I Get Weak" was written by master songwriter Diane Warren, who would make a career out of penning pop hits for artists such as Heart, Toni Braxton, Aerosmith, Starship, and Whitney Houston, among others. Carlisle injects an emotive vocal that evokes qualities of Stevie Nicks — perhaps not a coincidence since Nicks was thanked in the liner notes and Nowels previously collaborated with the Fleetwood Mac frontwoman.
After the haunting Shanrgi-Las-esque "Circle In The Sand" became Carlisle's third straight Top 10 hit, Heaven On Earth vaulted to platinum status. Her follow-up album, 1989's Runaway Horses, scratched its way to gold certification, but future solo albums would fail to attain heavenly status in the United States.
In 2001 Carlisle and the Go-Go's reconvened for a reunion album, God Bless The Go-Go's, and have since toured intermittently. The Go-Go's most recent Ladies Gone Wild tour in 2011 commemorated the 30th anniversary of their debut album, Beauty And The Beat.
Meanwhile, in 2010 Carlisle detailed her career in surprising candor in her memoir, Lips Unsealed. Among other striking revelations, Carlisle confessed that during the tour in support of Heaven On Earth she grappled with insecurities and self-esteem issues brought on by the pressure to maintain a video-friendly figure. "I wasn't able to celebrate or enjoy the achievements," said Carlisle. "Instead I stood in front of the mirror…and asked, 'Do I look fat?'"
These days, a happy and healthy Carlisle gets weak for her longtime husband (and former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan) Morgan Mason, with whom she has one son, James Duke Mason. Fans still longing for Heaven On Earth-era Belinda can bask in the 2009 special edition of the album. The package contains a fully remastered album, a DVD featuring a complete live concert from 1988 and bonus tracks, including the extended seven-minute single version of "I Get Weak."
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