Monday, January 10, 2011

different light

The Bangs fired up the hit machine, polished up their sound, and achieved their ambition for world domination. 'Different Light' marked a departure from their signature sixties sound; but it also featured songwriting credits and lead vocals from each member of the band.  The sessions were produced by David Kahne with engineers Tchad Blake, David Leonard, Peggy McLeonard; and assistant engineers Dave Glover and Mike Kloster  and featured  Susanna Hoffs on lead vocals on 1, 3, 4, 7 and 8, guitars, and backing vocals;   Vicki Peterson on lead vocals on 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10, guitars, and backing vocals;  Michael Steele on lead vocals on 4, 8, 9 and 11, guitars, bass, and backing vocals;  and  Debbi Peterson on lead vocals on 5, 8 and 12, drums, percussion, and backing vocals;   with   additional guitars by Rusty Anderson; Barbara Chapman contributing harp and additional guitars;  Mitchell Froom and David Kahne adding  keyboards and synthesizers;  and  Carlos Vega playing additional drums.  

Vikki Peterson admits:   "Our ambition was world domination.  Definitely world domination. George Bush could have been in our band...No, he would have been kicked out."

Hoffs considers:  "There's always going to be tensions within any team...I mean, The Bangles were kind of intended to function in the same kind of way that The Beatles were. There [were] multiple singers. Multiple songwriters...I think that our harmonies were very important, but we did take turns [leading], if you look at the albums. I don't sing every song. And everybody sings almost an equal number of songs." 

Steele says:   "We were just in this sort of hit machine. The producer knew that this was going to be his shot and so we were sacrificed on the altar of his career. It became our success but it also contributed to our undoing, so it was kind of like a weird deal-with-the-devil thing, y'know? I think Different Light is a really good record. It was just...we kind of got lost in it...It was like being a surfer. A wave came up and you had to ride it for as along as you could and then you wiped out and you got maytagged, as we say on the west coast."

Debbi Peterson: "It's so amazing, standing on the corner--this happened in Washington, D.C.--and somebody comes by in a Cadillac and you hear 'Manic Monday' on the radio, and you don't even know this person, and they're listening to it and singing along with it. Wow! Blows your mind."

While 'Different Light'  was their biggest hit, going triple platinum and hitting number two on the album chart; the slick sound was not as well received by critics who had fawned over their first album 'All Over The Place.'

'Manic Monday' was originally written by Prince two years earlier for Apollonia (but never recorded) and sent (under the pseudonym Christopher) to the Bangles. It made it to number two on the American and British singles charts.  Hoffs:  "'Manic Monday' was the first single. ... Prince had contacted us, ... and I think that he gave me the song, and we recorded it, and it became ... our first sort of radio hit. ... I think that that might have set the idea that I was the lead singer of the band, even though I wasn't."

"All of the nights
Why did my lover have to pick last night
To get down
Doesn't it matter
That I have to feed the both of us
Employment's down"

'If She Knew What She Wants' was written by Jules Shear.

"I'd say her values are corrupted
But she's open to change
Then one day she's satisfied
And the next I'll find her crying
And it's nothing she can explain "

"Walk Like an Egyptian" 
Hoffs remembers: "When we finally had a number one song ... with "Walk Like an Egyptian." We still had no money. We hadn't seen any money from it ... which is probably why there was a disconnect...We couldn't connect the dots. ... We're all living in, like, terrible apartments. And I was living in a garage in Santa Monica. And we were driving beat-up cars, but we had a number one song. And we were having our photo taken by a hundred paparazzi in San Remo. And it was just like this insane moment."

'Walking Down Your Street' was co-written by Suzanna Hoffs, Louis Gutierrez, and producer David Kahne.

"Oooh, oh I've had sleepless nights
Toss and turn, wake up burning
For what you inspire."

'Following' was written and sung by Michael Steele.

"Why do you call me
Why do you look for me
Why do your eyes follow me the way they do?"

'Different Light' 
full album:

1. "Manic Monday"   "Christopher" (Prince) 3:06
2. "In a Different Light"   Susanna Hoffs, Vicki Peterson 2:52
3. "Walking Down Your Street"   Louis Gutierrez, Hoffs, David Kahne 3:04
4. "Walk Like an Egyptian"   Liam Sternberg 3:24
5. "Standing in the Hallway"   Hoffs, Kahne, Debbi Peterson, V. Peterson 2:56
6. "Return Post"   Hoffs, V. Peterson 4:22
7. "If She Knew What She Wants" Jules Shear 3:49
8. "Let It Go"   Hoffs, D. Peterson, V. Peterson, Michael Steele 2:32
9. "September Gurls" Alex Chilton 2:45
10. "Angels Don't Fall in Love"   Hoffs, V. Peterson 3:23
11. "Following"   Steele 3:21
12. "Not Like You"   Hoffs, Kahne, D. Peterson 3:06

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