The Bangles

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1981-82)

- Susanna Hoffs -- vocals, rhythm guitar
- Debbie Peterson -- vocals, drums, percussion
- Vicki Peterson -- vocals, lead guitar 
- Annette Zalinskas -- vocals, bass 


   line up 2 (1982-89)

- Susanna Hoffs -- vocals, rhythm guitar
- Debbie Peterson -- vocals, drums, percussion
- Vicki Peterson -- vocals, lead guitar
NEW - Michel Steele -- vocals, bass (replaced Annette  Zalinskas) 


   line up 3 (2003-2005)

- Susanna Hoffs -- vocals, rhythm guitar
- Debbie Peterson -- vocals, drums, percussion
- Vicki Peterson -- vocals, lead guitar

- Michel Steele -- vocals, bass 


   line up 3 (2005-)

- Susanna Hoffs -- vocals, rhythm guitar
- Debbie Peterson -- vocals, drums, percussion, guitar
- Vicki Peterson -- vocals, lead guitar


  supporting musicians: 2011

- Derrick Anderson -- bass

- John Cowsill -- backing vocals

- Greg Hill - keyboards

- Greg Leisz -- guitar, mandolin, pedal steel guitar, lap guitar

- Jim Scott -- keyboards

- Matthew Sweet -- bass, guitar, keyboards




- The Bangs
- Blood On the Saddle (Annette Zalinskas)
- Susanna Hoffs (solo efforts)
- The Runaways (Michael Steele)   





Genre: pop 

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  The Bangles

Company: IRS

Catalog: SP-70506

Year: 1982

Country/State: Los Angeles, California

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: five track EP; minor ring wear

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 8

Price: $25.00

Cost: $1.00


Born and raised in Los Angeles, sisters Vicki (guitar) and Debbie (drums) Peterson spent their teens played in a string of late-'70s local bands, including The Colours and The Fans. After seeing an ad soliciting a band in a local paper the pair hooked up with recent University of California, Berkeley graduate/vocalist Susanna Hoffs . With the addition of bassist Annette Zalinskas the quartet began playing local clubs as The Colours, then The Supersonic Bangs; the name quickly shortened to the ill-advised The Bangs. Playing local clubs won the quartet a local following, but efforts to interest a major label in their demos proved fruitless. Frustrated, they formed their own Downkiddie label, releasing a one-off 1981 single "Getting Out of Hand" b/w "Call On Me" (Downkiddie catalog number 001). 

Threatened with legal action from a New Jersey group claiming rights to the name The Bangs, the group adopted the name The Bangles. Initially garnering attention as part of L.A.'s early-'80s "paisley revival" the band's first break came when they attracted the attention of L.A. DJ Rodney Bingenheimer. Bingenheimer included one of their efforts ("Bitchin' Summer") for one of his "Rodney on the ROQ" compilation albums. The resulting attention attracted the attention of Miles Copeland who promptly signed them to a management contract and recording deal on his Faulty label. The group was promptly thrown on the road as the opening act for the English Beat and Cyndi Lauper. 


Produced by Craig Leon, the band made their label debut with 1981's  "The Bangles".  A five track EP, the collection aptly showcased the group's affection for 60's styled rock with a dash of new wave energy thrown in for good measure. Exemplified by original material such as "The Real World", "I'm In Line" (with it's "Taxman" guitar pattern), and "Want You", the entire EP shined with strong melodies, ringing guitars and impressive group harmonies. Although lacking a knock-'em-dead track, their obvious enthusiasm (to say nothing of stunning good looks), made for one of the year's more impressive debuts. Personal favorite, their cover of "How Is the Air Up There?". Unfortunately, shortly after the collection's release, original bass player Zalinskas left to join Blood On the Saddle. Adding to their problems, Copeland decided to close down his Faulty subsidiary.   Interestingly, while the EP was recorded within a matter of days, it languished on the shelf for almost half a year.  Finally released, it quickly sold over 40,000 copies largely in Southern California. 

"The Bangles" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) The Real World    (Susanna Hoffs - Vicki Peterson) - 2:35   rating: **** stars

One of the best things they ever recorded ; their instantly recognizable sound was all there - killer melodies; killer jangle guitars, and harmonies most bands could only dream about,  but without all the trappings that forthcoming success would being with it.  YouTube has the VH1 promotional video for the song.  My goodness they looked so young ...  
2.) I'm In Line   (Susanna Hoffs - Vicki Peterson - Debbie Peterson) - 3:00  
rating: **** stars

Debbie Peterson on lead vocals - maybe it's just my ears playing tricks but darn if I don't hear echoes of 'Taxman" throughout this one.  YouTube has a clip of them lip synching the tune for the Los Angeles MV3 cable program: 
3.) Want You   (Vicki Peterson) - 2:15 
rating: **** stars

Vickie wrote it and handled lead vocals.  And anyone who thought they were just pretty faces who couldn't actually rock out needs to check out the blazing 'I Want You'.  Awesome track.   Neither the video, or sound quality are very good, but YouTube has a clip of them lip synching the song on American Bandstand: 

(side 2)

1.) Mary Street (Susanna Hoffs - Vicki Peterson) - 2:38  rating: *** stars

On any other set 'Mary Street' probably would have been a highlight, but surrounded by all these other gems, it was an also ran number. Nice harmonies though ...  YouTube has a live performance with original bassist Zalinskas guesting: 
2.) How Is the Air Up There?   (Steve Duboff - Artie Kornfeld) - 2:51
  rating: **** stars

I've always loved The Changin' Times original, but have to admit their cover was pretty stunning - those harmony vocals were too-die-for gorgeous.  Vicki on lead vocals; Annette on harmonica.  



Genre: pop 

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  All Over the Place

Company: Columbia

Catalog: PCT-39220

Year: 1982

Country/State: LA, California, USA

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4

Price: $15.00


After a two year break, armed with former Runaways bass player Michael Steele (see separate entry), the band signed a contract with Columbia Records. Placed in the hands of producer David Kahne, "All Over the Place" again served to showcase the band's obvious affection for '60s English rock. Loaded with terrific songs including "Hero takes a Fall", "Dover Beach" and a dynamite cover of Kimberley Rew's "Going Down To Liverpool" the album showcased the quartet's impeccable harmonies, Vicki Peterson serving to liven up the recipe with some wonderful shimmering guitars. Curiously, while the primary focus was placed on vocalist Hoffs, bassist Steele actually proved the better (tougher) voice. In hindsight, the band never sounded as strong, or energetic !!! Easily one of the year's best releases, the collection attracted strong reviews and proved a modest seller, peaking at # 80.

"All Over the Place" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Hero Takes a Fall (Susanna Hoffs - Vicki Peterson) 
2.) Live (Rhodes) 
3.) James (Vicki Peterson) 
4.) All About You (Vicki Peterson) 
5. ) Dover Beach (Susanna Hoffs - Vicki Peterson) 
6.) Tell Me (Susanna Hoffs - Vicki Peterson) 

(side 2)
1.) Restless (Susanna Hoffs - Vicki Peterson) 
2.) Going Down to Liverpool (Kimberly Rew) 
3.) He's Got a Secret (Vicki Peterson) 
4.) Silent Treatment (Vicki Peterson) 
5.) More Than Meets the Eye (Vicki Peterson) 

There are a couple of Bangles-related website.  The official site is located at:


Genre: pop 

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Sweetheart of the Sun

Company: Real Gone Music

Catalog: 48064 01145

Year: 2011

Country/State: LA, California, USA

Grade (cover/record): NM/NM

Comments: purple pink splattered vinyl

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $40.00


2011's "Sweetheart of the Sun" was released a scant eight years after The Bangles issued their comeback collection "Doll Revolution".   During that period the band tried to balance personal lives with business.  They occasionally toured, worked on outside projects, and after bassist Michel Steele quit, unsuccessfully tried to find a new bass player.

Going into the studio with Matthew Sweet in the producer seat (he'd previously worked with Susanna Hoffs), "Sweetheart of the Sun" found the band reduced to a trio (singer/rhythm guitarist Hoffs, drummer Debbie Peterson and lead guitarist Vicki Peterson). Recorded over a two year period, the collection found the band working with sessions bassist Derrick Anderson picking up for Steele. Musically the album offered up a mixture of new and old material (tracks like their Nazz cover 'Open My Eyes' and Debbi Peterson's 'Ball N Chain' dating back to the '90s). At least to my ears the personnel adjustment didn't have a major impact on their instantly recognizable sound.  Unlike many other bands struggling to remain relevant and commercially viable, The Bangles didn't make any attempts to appeal to oceans of hard-partying 20 year olds.  You won't find a single rap collaboration on the set.  You won't find a single auto-tuned vocal.  And that all but guaranteed radio would total ignore the album (which it did).  The funny thing is that in avoiding that Faustian bargain, The Bangles comeback stood as an even more impressive release.  Yeah, the set may not have had the same jangle-pop quotient as their earlier works, but what you got instead was a classic set of first rate pop tunes that underscored all of the ingredients that made them so appealing in the first place - a knack for penning killer melodies ('Anna Lee (Sweetheart of the Sun)'); a surprisingly thoughtful set of lyrics (check out 'Under a Cloud'), impeccable harmonies (try not to swoon over their cover of The Nazz's 'Open My Eyes'); a playful sense of fun and waves of jangle-pop guitar I'll admit that the band lost some of my interest on tracks like 'I'll Never Be Through You' where they skated a little too close to the top-40 demarcation line.  While those performances were okay, the band were even better on harder rocking  tracks like Debbi Peterson's rocker 'Ball N Chain' and their cover of the obscure 'Sweet and Tender Romance'.  Even better was the opener and Hoffs' thought provoking 'Under a Cloud'.

I'm clearly biased, but even it you didn't grow up with The Bangles dominating the airwaves, on a song-for-song basis, it's hard to not be won over by this "comeback" LP.  You'll also be hard pressed to find a band that sounded as fresh and energetic some 30+ years after their debut.  Well worth looking for.

"Sweetheart of the Sun" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Anna Lee (Sweetheart of the Sun)   (Susanna Hoffs - Vicki Peterson - Debbi Peterson) - 3:31  rating: **** stars

'Anna Lee (Sweetheart of the Sun)' was inspired after the band members read Sheila Weller's "Girls Like Us".  Covering the careers of Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon, the book clearly struck a chord with the band.   (And what part of their careers and personal lives did King, Mitchell and Simon share?   Al had relationships with James Taylor - read the book).  Probably the album's strongest performance, some of the lyrics were inspired by a photo in the book of songwriter Toni Stern (who had also been involved with Taylor)..  

2.) Under a Cloud   (Susanna Hoffs - Brian MacLeod - Dan Schwartz) - 4:07  rating: **** stars

If anyone was wondering whether they'd lost their edge, check out the slinky, paisley-tinged 'Under a Cloud'.  Powered by Hoff's mesmerizing "little girl" voice, the tune stitched together all the ingredients that made The Bangles so great; thoughtful lyrics (the band have described it as "peppy little number about depression", criminally catchy melody; instantly recognizable harmonies; Peterson's fuzz guitar ...  Wonderful.

3.) Ball N Chain   (Debbi Peterson - Walker Igleheart) - 3:51   rating: **** stars

I've never understood critics who claimed The Bangles couldn't rock.  With Debbi co-writing the tune and handling lead vocals, this one found the band toughening up their delivery with a set of lyrics that make me smile every time I hear it.  Payback time there guy ...

4.) I'll Never Be Through You  (Susanna Hoffs - Vicki Peterson - Charlotte Caffey) - 3:40  rating: *** stars

Co-written with The Go-Gos Charlotte Caffey, 'I'll Never Be Through You' was a classic Bangles ballad ...  Clearly written to showcase Hoffs' commercial sheen and attract maximum radio exposure, the tune was simply screaming to be included in a romcom film soundtrack.   And that might explain why I wasn't totally overwhelmed by it.

5.) Mesmerized  (Susanna Hoffs - Vicki Peterson - Debbi Peterson) - 3:46   rating: **** stars

Most folks tend to associated Hoffs with lead singer, but as exhibited on the pretty ballad 'Mesmerized', Debbi and Vicki are both accomplished vocalists.  

6.) Circles In the Sky   (Vicki Peterson) - 4:04   rating: **** stars

Opening up with Greg Leisz' pedal steel guitar, 'Circles In the Sky' delivered one of Vicki Peterson's prettiest performances.  Reminding me of something Michael Nesmith might have written, this was country-rock for people who don't like country-rock. Vicki's husband John Cowsill was also featured on backing vocals.


(side 2)

1.) Sweet and Tender Romance   (John Carter - Ken Lewis - Bill Bates) - 2:11   rating: **** stars

I've always wondered how they stumbled across this 1964  tune by the British band The McKinleys (sisters Sheila and  Jeanette)  ...  With a solo from Jimmy Page, the McKinley's roaring version was actually a cover of a tune by Carter Lewis and the Southerners.  Anyhow, don't let the song title fool you - this is one of the tautest rockers they ever recorded with Debbi turning in a solo that rivaled Page's original performance on the McKinley's version.  Their live version is even tougher !!!

2.) Lay Yourself Down   (Vicki Peterson) - 3:23  rating: *** stars

'Lay Yourself Down' was one of those glistening ballads they seem to toss out without breaking a sweat.  Nice vocals from Vicki and she again showcases her lovely guitar work,

3.) One of Two  (Susanna Hoffs - Vicki Peterson - Debbi Peterson) - 3:39   rating: **** stars

The country-tinged ballad 'One of Two' was one of the album's "sleeper" tunes.  Another track showcasing guitarist Greg Leisz, the song was lonesome and highly melodic and one of the performances that lodged in my head and wouldn't leave.

4.) What a Life  (Vicki Peterson - Debbi Peterson) - 3:22  rating: *** stars

Another bouncy  track that showed they could rock out ...

5.) Through Your Eyes  (Susanna Hoffs - Vicki Peterson ) - 3:50   rating: **** stars

Regardless of what you think of The Bangles, it's hard not being impressed by their vocal harmonies ...  That was certainly the case on the acoustic 'Through Your Eyes'.  Stunningly pretty ballad with a touch of Irish folk-music in the mix..

6.) Open My Eyes   (Todd Rundgren) - 3:00    rating: **** stars

Written and recorded by Rundgren when he was a member of the Philadelphia-based The Nazz, 'Open My Eyes' was a long-standing staple in The Bangles' live shows.  I certainly love the original, but have to tell you that the cover is quite nice.  I suspect Rundgren would approve ...  By the way, their live version shreds the studio performance.