It was first recorded by The Go-Go's as the opening track on their 1981 album Beauty and the Beat (see 1981 in music) and served as their debut American single in June 1981. The single eventually reached top 5 in Australia and Canada, and top 20 in the United States. Although originally written and performed with three verses, it is an abbreviated version of the song that appears on Beauty and the Beat.
In 1983, Hall's band, Fun Boy Three, released their version of "Our Lips Are Sealed". Issued as a single, the track became top ten hit in the UK, and remains the best known version of "Lips" in that country — the Go-Go's version, while a hit elsewhere, only made #47 UK.
In 2000, Rolling Stone named "Our Lips Are Sealed" one of the 100 Greatest Pop Songs of all time.
The Go-Go's were supporting The Specials on the latter's 1980 United States tour. According to Wiedlin she and Hall had an affair despite him having a girlfriend back in England and this led to their co-writing the song. The Go-Go's version is significantly more upbeat than the Fun Boy Three one, which Wiedlin describes as "gloomier" (see http://www.songfacts.com/blog/interviews/jane_wiedlin_from_the_go-go_s/)
The video accompanying the Go-Go's recording was an early favorite of the fledgling MTV channel, and helped establish the group's energetic persona. It features sequences of the band members in carefree tableaux (riding around in a convertible, stopping at a lingerie shop and splashing around in a city fountain) interspersed with footage of the band playing a club booking.
Jane Wiedlin says the band was initially unenthusiastic about doing the video when Miles Copeland, president of their label, I.R.S. Records, told them they would be doing it. "We were totally bratty," she recalls. It was funded out of unused funds in The Police's video budget.
The concept was for the band to drive around and be followed by a camera. Belinda Carlisle would sing, and the other members would do cute things. They wanted an older-style convertible and found a 1960 Buick at Rent-a-Wreck. It was, says Wiedlin, the band's idea to end the video by jumping into the Electric Fountain on the corner of Wilshire and Santa Monica Blvds, Beverly Hills. "I thought, at any minute the cops are gonna come. This is gonna be so cool."
She still looks back on it fondly. "I have horrible '80s poodle hair in [it]", she recalled in a 2011 history of MTV. "But there's a simplicity and innocence to the video that appeals to me." In a sequence of scenes, Belinda Carlisle can be seen trying to hide; she later admitted this was deliberate, as she thought the whole idea of music video was ridiculous and unlikely to catch on.
The original version peaked at number 20 on the BillboardHot 100 chart, and 15 on the BillboardTop Rock Tracks chart. On the dance chart, the song peaked at number 10. A song of unusual longevity as a hit, it remained on the Billboard charts for much of 1982 as well, long after its peak.
The following year, co-writer Terry Hall re-recorded the song with his own band, Fun Boy Three. It was included on their second album Waiting and reached number seven on the UK Singles Chart. Backing vocals were provided by Mo-dettes drummer June Miles-Kingston, who also played drums on the single and the Waiting LP.
Sisters Hilary and Haylie Duff covered the song for the soundtrack to the 2004 film A Cinderella Story, in which Hilary starred. The cover, recorded as a duet with Duff's sister Haylie and produced by John Shanks, was released as a single in the United States in June 2004. The Duff sisters said in an interview that they had wanted to record together, and Hilary chose "Our Lips Are Sealed" because the "secretive" theme of the song relates to the film A Cinderella Story. As of July 27, 2014, the song had sold 161,000 copies in the United States.
The single's music video was directed by Chris Applebaum and filmed in Toronto, Canada in May 2004. Similar to the video for the Go-Go's single, it depicts the Duff sisters driving around town in a car and goofing about, and is interspersed with footage from A Cinderella Story. A second version of the video, that has new scenes and is not interspersed with scenes from A Cinderella Story, can be viewed on the Dignity deluxe edition DVD.
It was released in June 2004 and received medium airplay on MuchMusic in Canada and MTV in the U.S. Though the video was popular on the MTV video chart show Total Request Live, the single itself was less successful than the original Go-Go's song in the U.S., failing to chart on the Hot 100. In Australia it reached number eight. The song was later included on Duff's compilation album, Most Wanted (2005).