The group The Bangles was born in 1981, coming from the same place that produced Rain Parade and Dream Syndicate. Starting completely on their own they made their first recordings on their own label and soon after for Faulty Products which inspired a self-titles mini album.
The original members at this time were comprised of Susanna Hoffs (Guitar and Vocals), Debbi Peterson (Drums and Vocals), Vicki Peterson (Guitar and Vocals), and Annette Zilinkas (Bass and Vocals). Two years later they signed a contract with CBS and their lineup changed. A woman named Michael Steele replaced Annette.
The Bangles had a rough start, their style and music not gaining much popularity at the time. ‘Hero Takes A Fall’, their label debut, didn’t make it to the charts and their cover of Kimberley Rew’s Katrina And The Waves song “Going Down to Liverpool” had the same amount of success. Their debut album, however, had a little bit better reception. It made it to the charts with their number two hit ‘Manic Monday’ (which was written by prince). With this hit and the success of its parent album Different Light, they garnered themselves a wider audience and began to captivate people.
All was not well in paradise because the media constantly portrayed Hoffs as the centerpiece of the band, and this caused tension because after all, they were a group and not a solo act. The girls continued to rise in popularity and their music was very successful all the way through to 1986. Although being unique, the band showed influences from Mama’s And the Papa’s. ‘Walk Like An Egyptian’ is arguably The Bangles best and most popular song.
The Critics were not as loving of them as their fans and during this time their fame began to decline. Their third album Everything, gave us ‘In Your Room’ and the popular, melodic, and haunting ‘Eternal Flame’.
Both of these featured lead vocals from Hoffs and the rest of the group were concerned about the departure from their unique style. This also added to the view of The Bangles being Hoffs group. All this had been eating at them for some time and after ‘Be With You’ and ‘I’ll Set You Free’ bombed, The Bangles fell apart.
Susanna Hoffs went on to a successful solo career, and the rest of the once proud band went on with their lives, but did not continue in the music field. Rumors have been circulated that they might be reforming, but are unfounded. Sisters Vicki and Debbie Peterson and Susanna Hoffs have been together recently to co write some songs on an informal basis. The band was invited to perform at the third annual Lilith Fair tour this summer but the girls say that unless Michael Steele agrees to join in, a reunion will not happen.