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The Bangles

Biography

The Bangles' biggest hits made them a pop-culture touchstone. Many listeners who grew up in the 1980s recall "Walk Like an Egyptian," "Eternal Flame" and "Manic Monday" as early radio and video memories. At the same time, the four-woman group's talents went much deeper than those songs. First noticed as an amalgam of British Invasion and American garage and folk-rock influences, the Los Angeles-bred Bangles soon found themselves part of the Paisley Underground movement along with similarly forward-yet-backward-thinking bands like the Rain Parade and the Dream Syndicate. A self-titled EP for Miles Copeland's Faulty Products label and a Columbia debut album, All Over the Place, saw them asserting rapidly evolving songwriting chops that gave voice to a vulnerable yet unyielding feminism. Though they were a scorching live act, the Bangles' guitar-based sound wasn't enough to push them through to success outside the college-radio ghetto. Enter Prince. Impressed by singer Susanna Hoffs, he passed "Manic Monday" on to the band, which found itself with a No. 2 hit on its hands in the spring of 1986. It was only the first of four major single releases from the softer-edged Different Light, whose success culminated in a month-long run at No. 1 for "Egyptian." The Bangles' approach was built in part on their vocal blend, which gave everyone in the group a chance at lead vocals. Growing media focus on Hoffs led to resentment in the ranks, even as the act scored another smash with a return to paisley roots: a cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "Hazy Shade of Winter" from the Less Than Zero soundtrack. One more album, Everything, yielded the massive ballad "Eternal Flame," but the Bangles were history by 1990. However, they reunited for a strong album in 2003's Doll Revolution.
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