The Bangles

The Bangles

“It’s just another manic Monday,
I wish it was Sunday,
‘Cause that’s my fun day,
My I don’t have to run-day,
It’s just another manic Monday…”

All-female bands are a rarity in rock and roll music, and only a few members of this minority have achieved notable success. However, one band overcame these formidable odds to become the definition of female rock-group success. They were the Bangles. This talented quartet rose up from the L.A. underground scene in the mid-80’s to become one of the most successful bands (male or female) of their time.

The Bangles formed in 1980. They were united by their love of groups like The Beatles, The Byrds and Big Star and performed original songs in this style. The group played as Colours and The Supersonic Bangs before settling on Bangles as a name (yes, just “Bangles” back then, no “The” at first. Talk to them, not us). They soon became a hit on the L.A. club circuit and recorded a best-selling independent EP, which led to a contract with Columbia Records. They released their debut album All Over The Place (including the college radio favorite “Going Down to Liverpool”) in 1984 and toured with Cyndi Lauper, but the band’s real breakthrough wouldn’t arrive until two years down the road.

In 1986, Bangles fan Prince gave the group an original song for their second album, A Different Light. The song was called “Manic Monday,” and it provided a great vehicle for the group’s jangly guitar-rock sound and effervescent harmonies. The tune became a #2 hit on the pop charts and paved the way for the group’s first U.S. tour. They quickly proved to fans all over the country that their musical shops were as good as their looks. They also hit the Top-40 that year with “If She Knew What She Wants.”

The Bangles scored again at the end of 1986 with “Walk Like An Egyptian,” a harmony-driven tune that was aided by an amusing video that featured the band and various people on the street doing mock-Egyptian dances. It went to #1 for four weeks and became the group’s biggest hit. They also scored in 1987 with “Walkin’ Down Your Street.” The next year, the Bangles contributed a hard-rocking cover version of the Simon and Garfunkel classic “Hazy Shade of Winter” to the Less Than Zero soundtrack, earning another Top-5 hit.

1989 began with a big hit for the Bangles in the form of “In Your Room.” This romantic fantasy was co-written with Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly, the same team who wrote “Like A Virgin” for Madonna. They also wrote “Eternal Flame” for The Bangles, a lush, string-backed ballad that gave the group another #1 hit. In 1990, The Bangles put out a Greatest Hits album. It sold well in the U.S. and became one of the best-selling albums of the decade in the U.K.

The Bangles broke up at the end of 1989, but the group’s members continued to stay active in various side projects. Susanna Hoffs did well with her solo career, scoring a Top-30 hit with “My Side Of The Bed” and touring with Don Henley. The Bangles reformed in the late 90’s and even contributed an original song, “Get The Girl,” to the Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me soundtrack. They released their most recent album, Sweetheart of the Sun in 2011 and continue to tour as of this writing.

If you count yourself as a fan of The Bangles, we would love to hear any thoughts or recollections you would like to share in our comments section below, as we tip our hats to one of the great bands from the 80s.

One Response to “The Bangles”

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  1. Dave says:

    I’ve been a fan since the early days with Annette Zilinskas instead of Michael Steele, and saw that line-up at Magic Mountain here in Southern California. They were great then and still are!

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