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The Bangles

About The Bangles

The Bangles are an American pop rock band originally part of the Paisley Undergound movement that’s been described as “sunshiney Beatles pop”. They are best known for their internationally successful ‘80s singles “Manic Monday”, “Walk Like An Egyptian”, and “Eternal Flame” and have been called “perhaps the biggest all-female rock group of the 1980s”.

When their friend/bassist quit their band The Colours, sisters Debbi & Vicki Peterson’s newspaper ad was answered by Susanna Hoffs. They renamed themselves The Bangs and released “Getting Out Of Hand” on their own record label in 1981. Airplay on KROQ FM attracted Miles Copeland (IRS Records / Go Go’s) who signed them to his short-lived label Faulty Products and became their manager. When a New Jersey band claimed ownership of the name The Bangs, they changed their named to The Bangles and released their self-titled debut EP. Bassist Annette Zilinskas was added to the group in time to be included on the artwork, but not on the recordings. The Bangles then toured with English Beat.

Zilinskas was replaced by ex-Runaways bassist Micki ‘Michael’ Steele before the group’s 1984 debut album All Over The Place, released on Columbia Records. Despite its two singles “Hero Takes A Fall” and the Kimberly Rew-penned “Going Down To Liverpool” modestly charting only in the UK, the album still reached #80 in the US thanks to college radio airplay, MTV exposure, a tour with Cyndi Lauper and good reviews. Prince took an interest in the band after seeing the music video for “Hero Takes A Fall” and offered them two songs – “Manic Monday” and “Jealous Girl”.

They chose “Manic Monday”, originally written for Apollonia 6, and it became their first internationally-successful breakthrough hit. A cover of Jules Shear’s “If She Knew What She Wants” reached the top 40 hit in eight countries. Then “Walk Like An Egyptian” was another international smash, a top 10 hit in eight countries and Billboard’s #1 song of 1987. “Walking Down Your Street” also performed well in the US, UK and Ireland.

All of this success pushed their sophomore album Different Light into the top 5 in the US, UK, Norway, Australia & New Zealand. During this time, a reissue of “Going Down To Liverpool” reached #21 in Ireland and a cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Hazy Shade Of Winter” for the 1987 film Less Than Zero was a top 20 hit in five countries. Hoffs then starred in the critically-panned 1987 film The Allnighter.

Everything was released in late 1988 and its first single “In Your Room” found top 40 success in four countries. But it was the follow-up single “Eternal Flame” that became the band’s third international smash hit, topping the chart in six countries. “Be With You” followed and was the band’s last big hit, reaching the top 40 in eight countries. However, the band ‘called it quits’ in 1989. Susanna Hoffs explained in 2012:

We were young and sort of burned out by the end of the ‘80s. It had nothing to do with that song specifically. We were all approaching our 30s and had other things we wanted to do. Personally, it was hard for me to maintain a romantic relationship with anyone when you’re never home. My biological clock was ticking really loudly at that point and I craved having not necessarily a white picket fence, but having a home base where I could just wake up in the morning and be there a few days in a row. Everybody said, “Really? Why now?” It was hard, at that point, but I think we were all feeling it.

Hoffs released two solo albums and married director Jay Roach. Vicki performed with Continental Drifters. Debbi formed the duo Kindred Spirit with Siobhan Maher. After a few years of Hoffs occasionally making contact with the Peterson sisters, the band began “informally working on new material together” in 1999. Roach asked for a song for his film Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and he was given “Get The Girl”. That same year, the band performed for the first time in ten years as part of George Martin’s orchestral Beatles tribute. They officially re-formed in 2000 and released Doll Revolution in 2003. Its lead single “Something That You Said” was a minor hit in five countries overseas. Steele left in 2005. Sweetheart of The Sun was released in 2011. And Zilinskas rejoined in 2018.

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