The Bangles

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The Bangles
Bangles at Festival of Friends 2012.jpg
The Bangles at the 2012 Festival of Friends
Background information
Also known asBangles, The Bangs
OriginLos Angeles, California, US
Years active1981–1989, 1998–present
MembersSusanna Hoffs
Debbi Peterson
Vicki Peterson
Annette Zilinskas
Past membersMichael Steele

The Bangles are an American pop rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1981. They scored several hit singles during the 1980s, including "Walk Like an Egyptian" (Billboard magazine's number-one single of 1987), "Manic Monday," "A Hazy Shade of Winter," and "Eternal Flame."

Their classic line-up consisted of Michael Steele on bass and vocals, founding members Susanna Hoffs on vocals and rhythm guitar, Debbi Peterson on drums and vocals, and Vicki Peterson on lead guitar and vocals; the band currently consists of Hoffs, Debbi and Vicki Peterson, and Annette Zilinskas.[1]


Formation and early years (1981–1983)[edit]

Susanna Hoffs, and sisters Vicki and Debbi Peterson, had each been in bands before coming together in Los Angeles in December 1980; the impetus was two classified advertisements in the weekly paper The Recycler. One had been placed by Hoffs, and the only person to respond was Annette Zilinskas, and the other was by Lynn Elkind, the Petersons' housemate and a departing member of their then band Those Girls; when Hoffs called in response to Elkind's ad, Vicki Peterson answered the phone, and in their conversation they discovered a great deal of common interests; when Hoffs spoke to Elkind after Peterson gave her the message, they did not have the same common interests and it was with the Petersons that Hoffs formed a new band. The Those Girls bass guitarist, Vicki Peterson's lifelong best friend Amanda Hills, had also left the band (now a history professor, Amanda Hills Podany has performed as a guest with the Bangles on a few rare occasions)[2][3][4] and this left an opening for Zilinskas; the resulting (and also current as of 2019) lineup first performed as The Colours in 1981.[5]

Shortly afterward the group renamed themselves The Bangs. The band was part of the Los Angeles Paisley Underground scene, which featured groups that played a mixture of 1960s-influenced rock.[6] In 1981, Hoffs and the Petersons recorded and released a single ("Getting Out of Hand" b/w "Call on Me") on DownKiddie Records (their own label); the Bangs were signed to Faulty Products, a label formed by Miles Copeland.

The early Bangles line-up of Susanna Hoffs (vocals/guitars), Vicki Peterson (guitars/vocals), Debbi Peterson (vocals/drums) and Annette Zilinskas (vocals/bass) recorded an EP in 1982, and released the single "The Real World". At the last minute they discovered another band had registered the Bangs name and would not let them use it without payment[7] so they dropped "The" and added the letters "les" to the end to become Bangles. Their first EP was retitled Bangles and released. In 1983, Faulty Products issued a 12-inch "remix" single of "The Real World" to radio and media, but another setback came as the label folded. I.R.S. Records picked up distribution and re-issued the EP. After Zilinskas left the band to focus on her own project, Blood on the Saddle, she was replaced by Michael Steele, formerly of the all-female band The Runaways, Toni & The Movers, Slow Children and Elton Duck.

Career peak (1984–1989)[edit]

Bangles' full-length debut album on Columbia Records, All Over the Place (1984), 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); the record received good reviews, and the video for "Liverpool" featured Leonard Nimoy, which helped to generate further publicity.[8] This came about through a friendship between the Hoffs and Nimoy families, they received a much wider audience serving as the opening act for Cyndi Lauper on her Fun Tour.

All this went some way to attracting the attention of Prince, who gave them "Manic Monday" originally written for his group Apollonia 6. "Manic Monday" went on to become a number-two hit in the US, the UK and Germany, outsold at the time only by another Prince composition, his own "Kiss". The band's second album Different Light (January 1986) was more polished than its predecessor and, with the help of the worldwide number-one hit "Walk Like an Egyptian" (written by Liam Sternberg), 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. Commented Michael Steele to a Nine-O-One Network Magazine writer: "When I go out now it is usually girls who recognize me."[9] Three additional hit singles released from the “Different Light” album were: "Following” (top 40 in Ireland), “Walking Down Your Street” (#11 on the US Billboard Hot 100), and the wistful "If She Knew What She Wants", written and first recorded by Jules Shear (which reached 29 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the summer of 1986 and was in the German Top 20 for 13 weeks).[10]


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 songs.[11] Hoffs starred in the 1987 film The Allnighter directed by her mother Tamar Simon Hoffs, and it was poorly reviewed by critics; that further exacerbated the dissent,[6] along with the firing of their manager Miles Copeland III, although they had another US hit with a remake of Simon & Garfunkel's "A Hazy Shade of Winter" (number two in February 1988) from the soundtrack of the film Less Than Zero.

The album Everything (1988) was produced by Davitt Sigerson, as the band had a negative reaction to working with David Kahne on Different Light,[12] it was another multi-platinum hit and included the top five hit "In Your Room", as well as their biggest selling single "Eternal Flame". Co-writer Billy Steinberg came up with the title after Hoffs told him about the band's recent trip to Memphis, Tennessee where they visited Graceland, Elvis Presley's estate in Memphis. An eternal flame is maintained at Presley's grave, but it had gone out on the day of their visit, and its clear plastic enclosure was flooded, they asked what was in the box and were told, "That's the eternal flame."[13] The single became their biggest worldwide hit and the biggest single by an all-female band ever.[14] Hoffs was naked when she recorded the song, convinced by Sigerson that Olivia Newton-John got her amazing performances by recording everything naked.[15]

By this point, the working relationships had broken down within the band, and the members went their separate ways shortly after.[11] Hoffs began a solo career, and Vicki Peterson toured as a member of the Continental Drifters and as a fill-in member of The Go-Go's.[16]


Hoffs released a solo album When You're a Boy, produced by former Bangles producer David Kahne; the album spawned a minor hit "My Side of the Bed", and the Cyndi Lauper-penned "Unconditional Love", but it stalled.

Hoffs was dropped from Columbia during the recording of her second solo album;[17] the second solo album Susanna Hoffs, released in 1996, fared better critically,[18] but it too had disappointing sales. Hoffs married film director Jay Roach (Austin Powers and Meet the Parents), and their union led to the Bangles' reunion of 2000, after Roach asked Hoffs and Debbi Peterson to write a song for Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.[18] Vicki Peterson joined and contributed songs to the New Orleans band the Continental Drifters, which received rave reviews. Debbi Peterson had a short-lived career with Siobhan Maher under the name of Kindred Spirit. Steele had been promised by Columbia that they would back her own foray into a solo career once the Bangles disbanded. However, nothing came of it and it was suspected that it was a ploy to hasten the dissolution of the band and launch Hoffs' solo career. Michael lived in semi-retirement in California, emerging to briefly work with the bands Crash Wisdom and an even shorter stint with the semi-punk group Eyesore.

Reformation (1998–present)[edit]

The Bangles performing at The House of Blues in Cleveland, Ohio, August 30, 2007

The band started drifting back together in 1998,[19] and officially re-formed to record a song for the soundtrack of Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, at the behest of the film's director Jay Roach;[6] 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.[20] From 2001–2002, they were in the studio recording the album Doll Revolution at Icon Recording Studios, Hollywood, California; 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 was a solid comeback success in Germany after the Bangles had performed in Germany's biggest television show Wetten dass, but failed to make any impact in other markets such as the UK, the U.S. and Australia. In July 2004, Paul McCartney presented the Bangles with "honorary rock'n'roll diplomas" from his Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.[21]

In 2005, The Bangles announced the departure of Michael Steele who left due to artistic disputes over touring and recording. Steele was replaced by touring bassist Abby Travis for live appearances [22] . On December 31, 2005, the group performed "Hazy Shade of Winter" in front of Times Square and later "Eternal Flame" as part of Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve 2006. August 2007 saw the release of their first official live DVD, Return to Bangleonia – Live in Concert. In 2008, the band toured the US. Further dates included shows in Germany, the Netherlands, and at the popular Cornbury Festival in Oxfordshire, England. Travis was fired in 2008.

In the spring of 2009, the Bangles returned to the studio to begin work on a new album entitled Sweetheart of the Sun which was released on September 27, 2011;[23][24] the band went on tour in late 2011 in support of it, with dates on the East Coast, Midwest, and West Coast. Openers for the various dates included rock band Antigone Rising and power pop band A Fragile Tomorrow.[25]

In December 2013, The Bangles played two nights with three other reunited Paisley Underground bands—The Dream Syndicate, The Three O'Clock, and Rain Parade—at The Fillmore in San Francisco and The Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles (benefit concert),[26] their set list focused on their early material, with remarks from the band at the beginning of the Fillmore show that they were going to be playing songs that they hadn't played in 30 years. In January 2014, they performed at the Whisky a Go Go in West Hollywood, California, in celebration of The Whisky's 50th anniversary.[27]

In January 2018, The Bangles played their first show since a 2016 tour at Honda Center in Anaheim. Since then their concert lineup has generally included original bassist Annette Zilinskas.

Three new recordings by The Bangles were released in November 2018 as part of a compilation album called 3 × 4, which also included The Dream Syndicate, The Three O'Clock, and Rain Parade, with each of the four bands covering songs by the other bands.[28] Following the initial Record Store Day First release as a double album on "psychedelic swirl" purple vinyl, Yep Roc Records released the album on LP, CD, and digital in February 2019.[29][30]

In popular culture[edit]

The Bangles in Sydney, 2010

The Bangles have contributed to several compilations, as well as to many other artists' works: They provided the song "I Got Nothing" to the soundtrack album for the 1985 film The Goonies, and made a cameo appearance in Cyndi Lauper's music video for "Goonies 'R' Good Enough". Lauper later enlisted them for backup vocals in her 1986 hit song "Change of Heart"; the Bangles sang backing vocals on the Hoodoo Gurus' "Good Times" from their album Blow Your Cool! in 1987. In 1988, while recording his album Full Moon Fever, Tom Petty and his lead guitarist Mike Campbell called on the group to provide backing vocals for the song "Waiting for Tonight"; the song never made it to the album, but instead made the compilations Playback (1995) and Anthology: Through the Years (2000). They provided the song "Get the Girl" to Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, with the song appearing on the "More Music from the Motion Picture, Austin Powers, the Spy Who Shagged Me" soundtrack (1999). A cover version of "Eternal Flame" was a 2001 UK number-one hit for Atomic Kitten.

In February 2001, the first-season Gilmore Girls episode "Concert Interruptus" involved a trip to see a Bangles concert, and featured cameos and music by the band.[31] There were also several references to the Bangles throughout the rest of the series; Lorelai expresses how much she likes the band on multiple occasions while Paris states that she "really likes" the band, and tells Rory that the concert was the best night of her life. Excerpts of the songs "Hero Takes a Fall" and "Eternal Flame" were featured in the concert that the Gilmore party attended; the band covered the Beatles hit "Good Day Sunshine" for the 2006 album All Together Now: Beatles Stuff for Kids of All Ages.[32] Several artists have referred to the Bangles in their own songs. The Saw Doctors include an irreverent tribute to them, "I'd Love to Kiss the Bangles", as a B-side to their 1994 single, Small Bit of Love, which would later appear on their 2003 compilation album Play It Again Sham!.[33]

Their song "Walk Like an Egyptian" was used as the first ending theme of 2014 anime JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders;[34] the song "Eternal Flame" was used in season 9 episode 17 of How I Met Your Mother[35] and at the end of the Cold Case episode "Maternal Instincts".

In 2016, their version of the song "Hazy Shade Of Winter" became part of Netflix's TV Show Stranger Things soundtrack.


Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Awards Work Category Result
1987 Brit Awards Themselves Best International Group Won
Smash Hits Poll Winners Party Most Promising New Act[36] Nominated
American Video Awards "Walk Like an Egyptian" Best Group Performance Won
MTV Video Music Awards Best Group Video Nominated
Best Choreography Nominated
1988 "Hazy Shade of Winter" Best Video from a Film Nominated
Nickelodeon's Kids Choice Awards Themselves Favorite Music Group Nominated
Pollstar Concert Industry Awards Next Major Arena Headliner Nominated
1989 Smash Hits Poll Winners Party Best Group[37] Nominated
2015 She Rocks Awards Lifetime Achievement Award Won


Current members[edit]

  • Susanna Hoffs – lead and harmony vocals, rhythm guitar (1981–1989, 1998–present)
  • Debbi Peterson – lead and harmony vocals, drums, acoustic guitar, percussion (1981–1989, 1998–present)
  • Vicki Peterson – lead and harmony vocals, lead guitar (1981–1989, 1998–present)
  • Annette Zilinskas – bass guitar, harmonica (1981–1983, 2018–present)[1]

Former members[edit]

  • Michael Steele - lead and harmony vocals, bass guitar, acoustic guitar (1983–1989, 1998–2005)

Touring musicians[edit]

  • Abby Travis - bass guitar (2005–2008)
  • Derrick Anderson – bass guitar (2008–2016)[38]
  • Walker Iglehart - keyboards (1980s)
  • Greg "Harpo" Hilfman - keyboards (1989, 1998–2011)



  1. ^ a b Larsen, Peter (June 16, 2018). "Susanna Hoffs talks about the Bangles playing Arroyo Seco Weekend and that band's random connection to headliner Robert Plant". Pasadena Star News. Retrieved July 21, 2018.
  2. ^ Amanda H. Podany, Los Angeles Times, "Rock Like a Historian"
  3. ^ Amanda Podany, Youtube, "The Bangles - He's Got a Secret - Whisky December 8, 2016" (video)
  4. ^ Rock in the OC, "The Bangles at Arroyo Seco Weekend"
  5. ^ Rachel Macari, Medium, "There's More than Meets the Eye to the Bangles and You Should Know Why"
  6. ^ a b c "The Story of The Bangles". Archived from the original on February 20, 1999. Retrieved August 11, 2010.
  7. ^, "Meet the Bangles"
  8. ^ Vare, E.A. (October 31, 1984). "Spock Beams Down for Bangles' Video". The Dispatch. Retrieved June 13, 2011.
  9. ^ Dickerson, Jim (December 1987) "The Bangles: You Have to Enjoy it While It's There," Nine-o-One, pp. 20–23.
  10. ^ "Billboard The Hot 100". "Schweizer Hitparade". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  11. ^ a b Muze UK Ltd, Biography of The Bangles Retrieved September 15, 2006.
  12. ^ "Bangles Disavow Maturity". The Victoria Advocate. December 4, 1988. Retrieved June 13, 2011.
  13. ^ Susanna Hoffs, "Commentary", the Bangles, Return to Bangleonia, DVD, 2007
  14. ^ Stichting Nederlandse Top 40, 500 Nr. 1 hits uit de Top 40, page 261, 9023009444
  15. ^ Soundtrack to My Life, Series 3, Hosted by Cat Deeley, interview with Vicki & Debbi Peterson and Susanna Hoffs
  16. ^ The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll p. 47. Fireside, 2001.
  17. ^ Biography Susanna Hoffs,, Retrieved September 15, 2006.
  18. ^ a b BBC Biography The Bangles Retrieved September 15, 2006.
  19. ^ Trunk, Russell (2011). "Anne Carlini – Exclusive Magazine". Retrieved June 13, 2011. By 2000 we had already starting playing live shows and becoming more visible. We had been kinda working behind the scenes for a year and a half before that.
  20. ^ Vocal Hall of Fame Archived March 11, 2007, at the Wayback Machine The Bangles page. Retrieved September 15, 2006.
  21. ^ Staff writer (July 31, 2004). "Et Cetera – People". Indiana Gazette. Indiana, PA. AP. Retrieved April 23, 2016 – via open access
  22. ^ Blackman, Guy (November 6, 2005). "Bangles shake again". The Age. Melbourne, Australia. Retrieved November 26, 2009.
  23. ^ "Gracie Gossip". February 4, 2009. Archived from the original on June 10, 2009.
  24. ^ [1][dead link]
  25. ^ "2011 Tour Dates". Archived from the original on October 20, 2011. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
  26. ^ Mills, Fred (October 16, 2013). "Reunion Concerts: A Million Paisley Underground Fans Can't Be Wrong!". Blurt.
  27. ^ falconidave11. "The Bangles - Walk Like an Egyptian LIVE 2014 Whiskey a Go Go Hollywood, CA". YouTube. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  28. ^ "RSDBF '18 Special Release: Various Artists – 3 x 4". Record Store Day. 2018. Archived from the original on January 22, 2019.
  29. ^ "3x4 – The Bangles, The Three O'Clock, The Dream Syndicate, Rain Parade (Yep Roc Records)". Coachella Valley Weekly. January 9, 2019. Archived from the original on January 22, 2019.
  30. ^ "Yep Roc Announces Record Store Day Black Friday Titles!". Yep Roc Records (Press release). October 10, 2018. Archived from the original on January 22, 2019.
  31. ^ "Gilmore Girls: Concert Interruptus (2001)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved November 25, 2007.
  32. ^ Berick, Michael. "All Together Now: Beatles Stuff for Kids of All Ages [B&N Exclusive]". AllMusic. Retrieved November 25, 2007.
  33. ^ Sleger, Dave. "Play it Again Sham!". Allmusic. Retrieved November 25, 2007.
  34. ^ Loveridge, Lynzee. "Savage Garden's Darren Hayes Gives a Shout-Out to Latest JoJo Ending". Anime News Network. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  35. ^ "Music from How I Met Your Mother S9E17". Tunefind.
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^ "Bangles Perform Their Favorites at '80s Concert". Retrieved February 19, 2018.

External links[edit]