Before they ascended to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1986 with the Prince-penned “Manic Monday“–heck, before they were even signed to Columbia Records, where they made three killer power-pop records in one of pop’s most interesting decades–The Bangles were at the forefront of a subset of Los Angeles rock music known as the “Paisley Underground.” A new compilation released on Omnivore Recordings will lift the curtain on those often-overlooked years.
As they were originally known, The Bangs–vocalists/guitarists Susanna Hoffs and Vicki Peterson, plus Vicki’s sister Debbi on drums–recorded their first single, “Getting Out of Hand,” in 1981. While its success was localized, they did get the attention of rock impresario Miles Copeland (manager of The Police, where his brother Stewart played drums), who signed them to his Faulty Products label. After a name change to the Bangles and the addition of bassist Annette Zilinskas, they would release a self-titled EP in 1982.
As the Bangles, the quartet recalled the jangly, psychedelic pop of the ’60s, from The Byrds to The Raspberries; they’d share bills with bands like The Three O’Clock (who also had brief ties to Prince, releasing their final album on his Paisley Park imprint) and Rain Parade. Eventually, Zilinskas left the band for a cowpunk outfit, Blood on the Saddle, but the group soldiered on with new bassist Michael Steele and eventually signed a deal with Columbia Records, where they earned three platinum records and five Top 10 hits, including the chart-toppers “Walk Like An Egyptian” and “Eternal Flame.”
The quartet broke up in the spring of 1990, but reformed in 2003 for the album Doll Revolution. A fifth album, Sweetheart of the Sun, co-produced by Hoffs’ longtime collaborator Matthew Sweet, was released as a trio, with Steele having departed the band in 2005.
Ladies and Gentlemen…The Bangles!, first released digitally in 2014, features all of the band’s pre-Columbia studio material, plus four unreleased demos, two live tracks and other odds and ends. Omnivore will release it physically for the first time on June 24, with Hoffs and the Peterson sisters hitting the road shortly thereafter in August.
The full track list for this exciting set (plus order links) is below!
- Bitchen Summer/Speedway
- Getting Out of Hand – The Bangs
- Call On Me – The Bangs
- The Real World
- I’m in Line
- Want You
- Mary Street
- How is the Air Up There?
- Outside Chance (Demo)
- Steppin’ Out (Demo)
- The Real World (Demo)
- Call On Me (Demo)
- Tell Me (Live @ Dingwalls, London – February 1984)
- 7 & 7 Is (Live @ The Palace, Hollywood – 12/15/1984)
- NO MAG Commercial
- The Rock & Roll Alternative Program Theme Song
Track 1 from Rodney on The ROQ Vol. III – Posh Boy PBS-140, 1982
Tracks 2-3 released as DownKiddie Records single DK-001, 1981
Tracks 4-8 released as Faulty Products EP FEP-1302, 1982
Tracks 9-14 and 16 exclusive to this compilation
Track 15 from The Radio Tokyo Tapes – Ear Movie Records EMC-0027, 1983