The Bangles

Biography

The Bangles is an American all-female band that originated in the early 1980s, scoring several hit singles during the decade. Susanna Hoffs joined sisters Vicki and Debbi Peterson to form a band in Los Angeles in December, 1980. The trio briefly called themselves The Colours, then renamed themselves The Supersonic Bangs, and shortly afterwards The Bangs. The band was part of the Los Angeles Paisley Underground scene, which featured groups that played a mixture of 1960s-influenced folk-rock and jangle pop with a more modern punk–ish/garage band undertone.

In 1981, the threesome recorded and released a single “Getting Out Of Hand” b/w “Call on Me” on their label DownKiddie Records. The trio was then signed to Faulty Products, a label formed by Miles Copeland and recorded an EP in 1982, featuring the single “The Real World.” A legal issue forced the band to change their name at the last minute so they became Bangles. Their first EP was retitled “Bangles” and released.

The Bangles' full-length debut album on Columbia, 1994’s “All Over the Place ,” captured their power-pop roots, featuring the singles “Hero Takes a Fall” and the Kimberley Rew-penned Beatlesque “Going Down To Liverpool” (originally recorded by Rew's band Katrina and the Waves).

All this went some way to attracting the attention of Prince, who later wrote “Manic Monday” for the group. “Manic Monday” went on to become a #2 hit in the U.S., the U.K. and Germany. The band's second album, 1986’s “Different Light,” was more polished than its predecessor and, with the help of the worldwide #1 hit “Walk Like an Egyptian,” saw the band firmly in the mainstream. The song was sent to them in mid-session and the group was divided about whether it would be a failure or a success. When the song was released the group was amazed to discover that it brought them a new audience of female fans, most of them very young.

There was friction among band members after music industry media began singling out Hoffs as the lead singer of the group, a result of Columbia Records releasing mostly singles on which Hoffs sang lead vocal. In fact, singing duties on the group's albums were evenly divided among all of the band's members, all of whom wrote or co-wrote their songs. Hoffs starred in the 1987 film, “The Allnighter,” directed by her mother, Tamar Simon Hoffs, and was critically panned. That, and the firing of their manager Miles Copeland, further exacerbated the dissent.” But they soon had another U.S. #2 hit with a cover of Simon & Garfunkel's “A Hazy Shade of Winter” from the soundtrack of the 1987 film “Less Than Zero, and the melancholic “If She Knew What She Wants,” written by Jules Shear, reached the U.S. Top 30.

1988's “Everything” was produced by Davitt Sigerson and was another multi-platinum smash and included their biggest-selling single, the soft ballad “Eternal Flame.” Co-writer Billy Steinberg came up with the title after Hoffs told him about the band's visit to Graceland, Elvis Presley's estate in Memphis, Tennessee. An “eternal flame” in memoriam to Presley is maintained on the site, but on the day the band visited, the flame had gone out and its clear-plastic enclosure was flooded. When they asked what was in the box, they were told, “That's the eternal flame.” The single became another worldwide hit. Hoffs was actually naked when she recorded the song, after being convinced by Sigerson that Olivia Newton-John got her amazing performances by recording everything while naked.

The working relationships within the band had broken down, and the members went their separate ways shortly after. Hoffs began a solo career and Peterson toured as a member of the Go-Go's and the Continental Drifters.

The band started drifting back together in 1998 and officially re-formed to record a song for the soundtrack to “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me,” at the behest of the film's director (and Hoffs' husband) Jay Roach. The song chosen for the album was “Get The Girl” and was released in 1999. The reunion continued with a tour in 2000. Later the same year, the group was also inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.

From 2001–2002, they were in the studio recording the album “Doll Revolution.” The album, featuring such songs as “Stealing Rosemary,” “Ride the Ride,” “Nickel Romeo” and the single "”Something That You Said,” was released in early 2003. The title track, which was written by Elvis Costello, was originally recorded for his 2002 album “When I Was Cruel.” “Doll Revolution” failed to make any impact the U.K. or the U.S.

August 2007 saw the release of their first official live DVD, “Return to Bangleonia - Live in Concert.” In the spring of 2009, the Bangles returned to the studio to begin work on a new album. The album, “Sweetheart of the Sun,” was released in September 2011. They are touring in support of it, with dates across the U.S.

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