Follow TV Tropes


Music / The Bangles

Go To
L-to-R: Michael Steele, Susanna Hoffs, Vicki Peterson, and Debbi Peterson.
It's just another manic Monday
I wish it were Sunday
'Cause that's my fun day
My I don't have to run day
It's just another manic Monday...
— "Manic Monday"

The Bangles are an all-female band that started in the early 1980s. Their genre can be summed up as a combination of rock, pop, Power Pop, New Wave Music, and jangle pop, with a pronounced influence from The Byrds and The '60s rock that lumped them in with the Paisley Underground movement. The band currently consists of Debbi Peterson (vocals, drums), Vicki Peterson (vocals, guitar) and Susanna Hoffs (vocals, guitar), and Annette Zilinksas (vocals, bass), with former member Michael Steele (vocals, bass). Their first album, the Beatlesque Power Poppy All Over the Place earned them some good reviews but most importantly the attention of Prince, who wrote "Manic Monday" for them. The song and its accompanying album Different Light departed from the band's sixties rock sound in favour of state-of-the-art New Wave pop and more outside songwriters, to great commercial success and another hit single ("Walk Like an Egyptian"). Then, intra-band tensions worsened, and after releasing one more album, Everything, they split in 1989.

They re-formed in 1999 to make a song for Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (whose director, Jay Roach, is also Susanna Hoffs' husband), and after that stayed together again. Michael Steele left the group in 2005. Annette Zilinksas later returned to the group in 2018.

Several of their songs have appeared on movie soundtracks, including "I Got Nothing," which they wrote for The Goonies, and their hit cover of "Hazy Shade of Winter", which appeared on the soundtrack for Less Than Zero. They have also provided backup vocals for Cyndi Lauper and Tom Petty.

  • The Bangles EP (1982)
  • All Over the Place (1984)
  • Different Light (1986)
  • Everything (1988)
  • Greatest Hits (1990)
  • September Gurls (all previously-released material) (1995)
  • Doll Revolution (2003)
  • Sweetheart of the Sun (2011)
  • Ladies and Gentlemen...The Bangles! (2014)
  • The Bangles: Gold (2020) (updated greatest hits album)

The Bangles are the Trope Namers for:

Trope Like an Egyptian...

  • Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable: Walk Like an Egyptian has several instances where the pronounciation is strange either to rhyme, or to make them fit with the cadence (including the title phrase — "Walk like an Egyp-SHUNNN").
  • Anti-Love Song: "James" ("I must have been a masochist/to ever take up with you, James")
  • Belly Dancer: Most of the band members dress up as Egyptian-style belly dancers in the music video for "Walk Like An Egyptian".
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Vicki (medium blonde, though brunette before Different Light), Debbi (pale blonde), Susanna (brunette), and Michael (redhead).
  • Christmas Episode: For a few years in the '80s, the Bangles released an annual Christmas/Crimble tape full of improvisation and general goofiness, to members of their fan club, Bangles 'n Mash, in tribute to The Beatles' similar offerings. In 2004, they released Holiday in Bangleonia, a limited-edition CD with both a re-release of their 1983 recording and a new one for 2004. The Bangles revived the tradition in 2009 with an annual holiday podcast.
  • Composite Character: Anna Lee in "Anna Lee (Sweetheart of the Sun)":
    Susanna: Interestingly, a character sort of developed in the song. We had all just read Girls Like Us, the book about Carly Simon, Carole King and Joni Mitchell, and we were inspired by it. We sort of made up a portrait of a person based around those women — it's kind of mythical.
  • The Cover Changes the Gender:
    • Their cover of Jules Shear's "If She Knew What She Wants" changes the perspective from first person ("I'd be giving it to her") to third person.
    • On their cover of Big Star's "September Gurls", the gender is changed to "he." In more recent performances Michael Steele changed the gender back to "she" ("That's the time she makes things right/ ooh when she makes love to me...").
    • In an interesting twist, while Prince wrote the song "Manic Monday" for The Bangles, Prince himself sung a version of the song, switching a few lines [Bangles/Prince]: "I was kissing Valentino/a by a crystal blue Italian stream" and "He/she tells me with his/her bedroom voice".
  • Cover Version: "Live" by Emmitt Rhodes, "September Gurls" by Big Star, "Hazy Shade of Winter" by Simon & Garfunkel, "Open My Eyes" by Nazz, "If She Knew What She Wants" by Jules Shear, "Outside Chance" by The Turtles, and "Steppin' Out" by Paul Revere & the Raiders. "Going Down to Liverpool" doesn't really count since it was written for them by Kimberley Rew from Katrina and the Waves.
  • "Days of the Week" Song: "Manic Monday"
  • Distaff Counterpart: They've said in many interviews that their original goal was to be this to The Beatles. You can even match them up if you like:
    Susanna: Paul ("the cute one")
    Vicki: John ("the edgy one")
    Michael: George ("the quiet one")
    Debbi: Ringo ("the drummer")
    Annette: The Pete Bestinvoked
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: "Walk Like an Egyptian":
    If you want to find all the cops
    They're hanging out in the donut shop
    They singin' and dance
    They spin the clubs; cruise down the block.
    • And the last bridge for that song: "All the cops in the donut shop say:"
  • The '80s: There's very little about their look and videos during their prime that doesn't scream '80s.
  • '80s Hair: In many aspects, the Bangles seemed more a '60s band than an '80s one. Hair was not one of those aspects.
  • Evolving Music:
    • When Vicki Peterson wrote "Single By Choice," it was a pretty personal song for her. After getting married to John Cowsill in 2003, she jokes about doing a "Married By Choice" version.
    • Vicki's songs seem especially prone to this trope. She wrote "Lay Yourself Down" (which appears on Sweetheart of the Sun) for her fiancé Bobby in 1990, as he was struggling to find his place in the music business. The song and its lyrics like those below became even more personal and poignant when Bobby began a battle with leukemia (to which he eventually succumbed in 1991):
      Even if the battle is won
      The war is not over
      It's only begun
      If there's one still standing
      One still standing his ground
      Don't you lay yourself down
  • Fake-Out Fade-Out: "Waiting For You"
  • Genre Mashup: The comments section on any Bangles video music video on YouTube is usually a weird mix of people bringing up JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Stranger Things, Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man, Less Than Zero, Leonard Nimoy, how ridiculously attractive Susanna Hoffs is and her eye porn, and then people just generally there loving the Bangles' music.
  • Grief Song: "Song For A Good Son"
  • Intercourse with You: "In Your Room," the last verse of "Manic Monday". Also on the receiving end of this trope in the The Saw Doctors song "I'd Love to Kiss The Bangles" — mostly directed at Susanna but, apparently, one member prefers Vicki.
  • "I Want" Song: "Want You" from the Bangles EP.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Susanna Hoffs gets the most attention, although all could apply.
  • Naked People Are Funny: When the band was recording "Eternal Flame", producer Davitt Sigerson somehow managed to convince Susanna Hoffs that the reason Olivia Newton-John sounded so openly emotional on her records was that she recorded all her vocals in the nude. So, Hoffs stripped off in the studio and sang the vocal naked. The band now tells this story as an example of how comically naive they were.
  • Neologism: Like John Lennon, the Bangles will wish you "Happy Krimble" in late December.
  • Non-Appearing Title: If you don't count "The Rain Song", only four times: "Dover Beach," "Silent Treatment," "Between the Two," and "Song For a Good Son."
  • One-Woman Song (inverted): "James"
  • Ordinary People's Music Video: "Walk Like An Egyptian" has members of the public attempting the classic Sand Dance in various locations.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Susanna is 5'1", but delivers powerful vocals.
  • Power Ballad: "Eternal Flame" may be one of the defining ones of the late 80s.
  • Re-release the Song: Ladies and Gentlemen... compiles the Bangles EP and early non-LP singles.
  • Running Gag: All of the bridges for "Walk Like An Egyptian" end with "The (something mentioned in the preceding verse) go "oh-way-oh", Walk Like An Egyptian".
  • Self-Referential Track Placement: "Manic Monday," about the beginning of a week, appears at the beginning of its album.
  • The Something Song: "The Rain Song"
  • Stalker with a Crush: "Following." The song leaves it ambiguous just who is stalking whom.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Debbi is 5'9" and easily towers over her bandmates.
  • Vocal Tag Team: All four sing lead on various album tracks, but for the most part only Susanna's were released as singles
  • Wham Line: "What I Meant to Say" sounds like the singer is setting up a special date to tell a good guy friend that she’s in love with him, and is agonizing over telling him so. Then we get to the final verse.
    It's a simple, honest thing
    Just to close my eyes and tell you
    There'll be one less person in your arms tonight...
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: One of Hoffs' defining features: They're big, they're beautiful, and she has a habit of looking side to side while singingnote  that draws even more attention to them. Doubles as Hoist by His Own Petard, since people really reacted to them to the point that she got more attention than the rest of the band, accelerating their demise.


The Bangles

The Trope Namer. Accept no substitutes.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (18 votes)

Example of:

Main / WalkLikeAnEgyptian

Media sources: