Listen to this track by one-time Paisley Underground darlings and former Egyptian-walkers The Bangles. It’s their 1988 single ‘In Your Room’ as taken from their EverythingLP. This song features the sultry vocals from lead guitarist and singer Susannah Hoffs, the ah-ah backing vocals from drummer Vicki Peterson, rhythm guitarist Debbi Peterson, and bassist Michael Steele, and the raga-esque strings on the outro that tie the band’s sound to the mid-to-late 60s more so than the late 80s.
The Bangles, once known simply as the Bangs, and earlier as the Colours, flourished in the early 80s firstly on the L.A based Paisley Underground scene. That scene was loosely centered around guitar based power pop and neo-psychedelia as inspired by the 60s British Invasion sound, along with bands like the Three O’Clock, The Rain Parade, and the Dream Syndicate. But, once the 80s began in earnest, they became something of a hit machine, initially with “Going Down to Liverpool”, and then with “Manic Monday” (written by Prince), and the aforementioned ‘Walk Like An Egyptian”.
Despite the production on their albums which place them definitively in the 80s, the band still had roots in classic 60s guitar rock, which this track demonstrates most effectively. The band had showed their colours previously with a hard edged take on Simon & Garfunkel’s “Hazy Shade of Winter”, which sort of brought their Paisley Underground ethic into the mainstream.
With that earlier scene, it was clear that bands involved in it were looking to get back to basics. And even if the Bangles were known as pop writers that were very much a part of 80s mainstream chart acts, by the Everything album, and their biggest hit “Eternal Flame”, it was clear that their hearts were more in 1968 than 1988, although they somehow manage to embody the best of both eras.
Despite their success, the band broke up the following year, with each member taking on solo projects. Hoffs, among other things, played with Matthew Sweet on a collection of 60s cover albums along with solo albums of her own. And Vicki Peterson performed in a new band, the Continental Drifters as well as with the Go-Gos, a band after the Bangles own hearts, as a replacement member for keyboardist Charlotte Caffrey. Yet, they also managed to reunite by 2000, putting out a comeback record in 2003, Doll’s Revolution, with a cover version of Elvis Costello’s “Tear Off Your Own Head (A Doll’s Revolution)” providing the basis for the title.
For more information about the Bangles, check out the Bangles official site.