I, like everyone else who wasn’t a teen in the 80s, know the Bangles for their chart toppers “Eternal Flame” (all the white girls sing along but not in the right key), “Manic Monday” (which was a gift from Prince, how the hell did I not know that????) and “Walk like an Egyptian” (double the fun since the German punk pop band Die Ärzte covered this in German and I liked it back then as a kid but now really question why they would leech on the Bangles’ success when they would have been ok without this cover).
Also, a fun fact, I have to note: “Manic Monday” was only surpassed by one other song on the charts: Prince with “Kiss”. He basically topped himself. Damn.
BUT today I listened to their debut album (1984) “All over the Place” and I feel like we wronged them so much by only citing the mentioned trifecta of hits. “Going down to Liverpool” is an amazing song and sounds like The Smiths but without the moping (and there’s no way they copied the Smith’s style because both debuts came out the same year). The song was written by Kimberley Rew from Katrina and the Waves, by the way.
Also, the video has a grumpy Leonard Nimoy and one fantastic joke that I won’t spoil now because I love you.
I mean, the music videos alone are so much fun because of all that 80s fashion game going on but the whole album is fantastic and I have no idea why it never pops up in the best albums of the 80s lists because there’s not really any filler song and not every song sounds basically the same (looking at you, The Smiths*).
It’s a bit of a shame that apparently the music industry destroyed this band by featuring mostly Susanna Hoffs because they thought she was, I don’t know, marketable? The music industry can be such a dick. And when the band broke up and Hoffs tried it solo, they dropped her during the recording of her second album. What a dick move, Universal.
I mean, this pre-debut single is fantastic:
It’s also the biggest shame and simply outrageous, that no one gave Michael Steele a record contract for the next 20 years after the band broke up because Steele did not just have the best hair but also a gigantic voice and guitar and bass guitar skills to hold her own (“Walk like an Egyptian” would only be half as good without that bass line). I mean, if you have the whole package right there, why not sign her and make it happen? Universal was a mess in the 80s, I tell you that.
*Look, I like the Smiths but they are the Nirvana of the 80s in that they get way too much credit for being the most popular of a certain zeitgeist sound that was dominated by white dude bands that were moping and kind of a downer.