The Bangles: Song By Song Thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Mc, Jul 14, 2019.

  1. Steve Mc

    Steve Mc Resident Nice-Guy Thread Starter

    Location:
    United States
    Alright then, with credit to Mark Winstanley for format inspiration, we're going to get into the music of the American pop-rock band, The Bangles. Despite having been on the top of the world in the 80s, the group is quite underappreciated or misunderstood in many respects. Whether or not you love them, there's a lot of great stuff to be heard beyond the big hits, so I welcome y'all to join me on this exploration.

    Format is rather simple. We are going to look at the band's songs on a mostly album to album basis, with some extra stuff in-between. Depending on what you guys think, we also may take a detour into Susanna Hoffs' 90s solo career.

    So, then, a little about The Bangles. The band was formed in Los Angeles in January 1981 by sisters Vicki and Debbi Peterson and Susanna Hoffs, after having met through an ad in a local paper. Each had had prior experience playing in small groups, but were looking for something a little more definite. If you want all the details of the story, I highly recommend checking out this article: There’s More Than Meets The Eye to The Bangles and You Should Know Why

    The essence of things, though, is that Hoffs and the Petersons immediately bonded over their shared passion for 60s music (The Beatles, The Byrds, The Grass Roots, and a host of others). The also found that they had a remarkable chemistry when singing harmony. They called themselves The Colours and started to play some gigs, with Vicki on lead guitar, Susanna on rhythm guitar, Debbi on drums and all three on lead vocals, with another area musician Annette Zillinksas taking up bass duties on occasion. They began to develop a little bit of a following as part of the Paisley Underground scene.

    In August, the band, still working day-jobs, changed their name to The Bangs. In December, the band (as a trio with the Peterson sisters sharing bass duties) took it upon themselves to fund, record, cut, package, and distribute a single.

    Sounding like something right out of the 60s, "Getting Out Of Hand," written by Vicki and sung by Hoffs, displays definite chemistry and ingenuity. It, along with b-side "Call On Me" (written by Hoffs, V. Peterson and Hoffs's ex-boyfriend David Roback) recieved LA area airplay thanks to the band attracting the attention of Rodney Bingenheimer. The group was off to a pretty auspicious start.

     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
  2. Steve Mc

    Steve Mc Resident Nice-Guy Thread Starter

    Location:
    United States
    And here is "Call On Me"
     
  3. ascot

    ascot Senior Member

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Love this band but missed a lot of what they did after the 80's. Also had the pleasure of seeing them live a couple times. "Getting Out Of Hand" is catchy and sounds like something that could have been released in the mid-60's.
     
  4. FloydMaui

    FloydMaui Forum Resident

    Location:
    U.S.A.
    When Susanna answered that L.A. Recycler ad ..... she ended up on the phone with Vicki .... It was Dec. 9, 1980 -- the day after John Lennon's murder.... They immediately bonded in their mutual grief ....


    Everyone was thinking about Lennon that day. "I couldn't have found a more compassionate person who really was going through the same emotions as I was," Susanna said. "I was looking to be in a band with someone who really was connected to the same stuff that I was."

    "We found ourselves on the phone for over an hour, sympathizing over Lennon's assasination, and many other things," explained Vicki. "I realized the person I was talking to was intelligent, and completely in sync with what I wanted to do.


    from this great write-up
    The Bangles: California Dreamin'
     
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  5. FloydMaui

    FloydMaui Forum Resident

    Location:
    U.S.A.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  6. Anonamemouse

    Anonamemouse my other pink shirt is black too

  7. Steve Mc

    Steve Mc Resident Nice-Guy Thread Starter

    Location:
    United States
    Great for you! I hope you'll enjoy this retrospective, maybe discover something new!

    Okay then, as 1982 came around The Bangs officially became a four-piece, as Annette joined full-time on bass.They attracted the attention of Miles Copeland, who offered the band a management and record deal, which they took despite being wary of comparisons to Copeland's other clients, The Go-Gos.

    The in mid 1982, the band recorded their first EP, but its release was delayed by several months due to an unfortunate legal matter. An East Coast band sued over the Bangs name, telling the LA group to pay up or change names. Though the group liked the punch and innuendo of their current name, they were in no position to keep it. They decided to add on a few letters, for a Beatles-type vibe. Thus, The Bangles were christened.

    Before we go on to the EP, let's take a listen to a couple of early extras. Here is a solid, punchy, surf-style instrumental the band recorded soemtime in early '82.
     
  8. Steve Mc

    Steve Mc Resident Nice-Guy Thread Starter

    Location:
    United States
    And here is a demo cover of The Turtles'"Outside Chance."
     
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  9. I'm probably jumping too quickly to their first full length album "All Over The Place".
    A great debut IMO.
    Hero Takes A Fall, James, Going Down To Liverpool, etc.
    I think this album probably has the least amount of outside help in terms of songwriting and session musicians.
    And these women acquit themselves quite well. A strong debut, should have done better on the charts.
     
  10. FloydMaui

    FloydMaui Forum Resident

    Location:
    U.S.A.
    Ha, that sounds a bit like their "Get The Girl" from the 1999 Austin Powers film... it's got that "Tax Man" thing goin' on ....
    Some great pics in that video ....

    I think I'm destined now to get Ladies And Gentlemen ....
    The Bangles* - Ladies And Gentlemen... The Bangles!
     
  11. Steve Mc

    Steve Mc Resident Nice-Guy Thread Starter

    Location:
    United States
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  12. BeSteVenn

    BeSteVenn formerly mrpleasant, now Steven

    Location:
    Kaskeland
    I really enjoy these early originals, and the covers, too. If you're a Bangles fan and don't have Ladies and Gentlemen, don't hesitate a second longer. It's a little rougher and more amateur than their hit albums, but it's definitely worth having.

    They found their "sound" early on, but haven't stagnated either.

    I'm looking forward to what this thread has in store.
     
  13. Paul Gase

    Paul Gase Everything is cheaper than it looks.

    Location:
    California
    We played to EP to death. Great party record. There's also their No Mag commercial on the very awesome Radio Tokyo Tapes Vol 1.

    Aside from Rodney, we never heard The Bangles on the radio. Front running hipsters like KROQ spent more time playing everything new wave but kind of relegated many local bands to Rodney's show.
     
  14. Steve Mc

    Steve Mc Resident Nice-Guy Thread Starter

    Location:
    United States
    [​IMG]
    The Bangles
    (EP)

    So, let us get going with The Bangles' self-titled EP. It was produced by Craig Leon (who also plays piano on a two tracks). The release date for the five track record seems to be a little bit in doubt. I will have to go with January 1983, though, for all intents and purposes, it is a 1982 record. The recording is quite rough, but there is a definite spark here. The record sold well locally and received some college airplay. Though the band looks back very fondly on it nowadays, back in the 80s they were a little unsatisfied with how it turned out.
    Each band member save Annette got a track to sing lead on. Annette provided bass and harmonica, along with her only backing vocal credit to date on "Want You." (though some whispers exist that Vicki and/or Debbi did some bass work too).

    The Real World
    Well, for the opening track of the EP. "The Real World" was actually the first song Hoffs and V.Peterson ever wrote together. Of course, it sounds so very 60s. Vicki's rock sensibilities come through here, for sure, but they are tempered by Susanna's more romantic, melodic pop leanings. This blend is compelling, and the song is very catchy and listenable indeed.
     
  15. Steve Mc

    Steve Mc Resident Nice-Guy Thread Starter

    Location:
    United States
    A music video was shot for the song's single release:
     
  16. Panther

    Panther Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    Great thread-topic! And yes, let's discuss as much 'solo' stuff as possible when you get there.

    I like "Getting Out of Hand" a lot. Nice introduction to the group.
     
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  17. Steve Mc

    Steve Mc Resident Nice-Guy Thread Starter

    Location:
    United States
    Ok, will do!
     
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  18. Panther

    Panther Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    "The Real World" is an 80s' classic! Here is the early Bangles arriving at peak form. I love the rawness of their sound at this point.

    As the band members often point out, they were thought to be a 60s'-retro group when they started, whereas nowadays they've somehow become the poster-girls for the 80s. This particular track sounds absolutely nothing like "the 80s", much to its credit.

    Check out that video! Three Bangles with very short hair.
     
  19. Paul Gase

    Paul Gase Everything is cheaper than it looks.

    Location:
    California
    The Real World is a perfect album opener. This sets the template. They would get better i suppose, but I don’t know how much better, than this track.
     
  20. Tim S

    Tim S Forum Resident

    Location:
    East Tennessee
    A college DJ friend of mine got a promo copy of this Ep at some sort of convention/gathering/seminar thing for college radio people and we both liked it a lot. You couldn't find it in any store, so I ended up making a cassette version.

    I like Real World, it's a nice easygoing melodic song to introduce the record. I don't think the record sounds rough - it just sounds like there wasn't much production money to make it. It's like a great demo record with really good mastering.

    I can understand some people worrying about comparisons with the go-go's, but I never really thought that. It seemed apparent to me immediately that the Bangles were coming from a different direction. If you saw them live back then when they were out touring small clubs to support this Ep, that would end any comparisons. Live, they were loud and gritty and very much a rockin' garage band - and despite all the glamour photos and video shoots, they looked rough and tumble and sounded it. And Annette was an entirely capable bassist - all 4 of them worked well together. They were tight AND sloppy in all the best ways.
     
  21. FloydMaui

    FloydMaui Forum Resident

    Location:
    U.S.A.
    Love the song ! Love the video !

    and this one's a simpler alternate "performance only" video for the song:

    Annette's the youngest here, she turned 20 in late '82 .....
    and Vicki's the eldest, turned 25 in Jan. '83.

    Amazing, a few weeks ago I knew nothing about the early Bangles .... beyond the six most obvious songs ... the Prince connection ... was aware of Susanna's modest-selling first solo-album, and that she'd married the Austin Powers director .......

    Now I'm positively enthralled, they're so awesome and fun ! :D
     
  22. ascot

    ascot Senior Member

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    "The Real World" is the stand-out track on the E.P. and the perfect follow up to "Getting Out Of Hand". I bought the E.P. in 1984 or 1985 so I have the I.R.S. reissue. It was originally released on the Faulty label. You can get the entire E.P. these days on Ladies And Gentlemen... The Bangles! but three tracks were released on a 3" CD in the late 80's.
     
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  23. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road

    I'm not familiar with this early stuff, but it is very good, and has a real sixties vibe about it.
    It was cool seeing the girls with the short hair, just having fun, before I presume the image consultants probably recommended how they should present themselves ...
    I guess I need to get a couple more cd's lol
     
  24. Steve Mc

    Steve Mc Resident Nice-Guy Thread Starter

    Location:
    United States
    "The Real World" is indeed a fantastic track, one of the very best the band has done. Did they do better things after this? Maybe. But, this one captures a really great moment in the band's development. The lines are great too, to the point, non-pretentious. "If I was insecure/ That was yesterday and now I'm sure" with the harmonies building up to drive the point home. Gold.
    Also, imo, Susanna's voice actually peaked here. She had a tone and quality with some richness to it, which she later sacrificed for a more piercing approach.

    Here's the band "performing" the song (along with "Want You," which we will get to later) on Dick Clark.
     
  25. Steve Mc

    Steve Mc Resident Nice-Guy Thread Starter

    Location:
    United States
    And here is an actual live performance
     

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