The Bangles – Walk like an Egyptian
On September 1, 1986, one of the most peculiar songs of the 80s, “Walk like an Egyptian”, was released. The song’s author came up with the idea when, being on a ferry, he saw all the people moving and swaying in time with every movement of the boat. He wrote the song and proposed it to some production companies in Los Angeles. The song was first offered to Toni Basil, who rejected it. The production them remembered that an all-female band, the Bangles, needed another song to close their album. The Bangles heard the draft of the song, and agreed to include it on their album.
And this choice was at the same time the choice of their life, but also the beginning of their end! A real Egyptian curse!
The Bangles had enjoyed some fame due to the moderate success of their first album. 1986 had been their turning point: at the beginning of January they released their second album, “Different Light”, followed shortly by two amazing singles and videos. “Manic Monday” and “If she knew what she wants”, had been a resounding success, bringing Bangles’ fame to unprecedented levels. Actually, until their previous album, Bangles were proud to composetheir songs; but their careers took off when they agreed to sing songs written by others, as demonstrated by the success of “Manic Monday”, written by no less than Prince.
When it came to “Walk like an Egyptian”, however, some problems arose. Although they had different roles and instruments in the group, all four Bangles were good singers. The main idea was, for this song, to leave a verse to each of the Bangles. At the end, however, there were only three verses, and they were given to guitarist Vicky Peterson, bass player Michael Steele, and lead singer Susanna Hoffs. Drummer Debbi Peterson, Vicky’s sister, was left without a verse. Maybe this song had an opposite karma for her, because she was also left without drums, since an electronic drum was used to record the tracks, and Debbi did not take part in the session.
Here the group found themselves with a decision to take. They might have asked the production to demand that Debbi also had her verse, but actually they decided to accept the decision and in a way started to abandon Debbi. In fact, they found her a role in the video and concerts: during this song, Debbi leaves her drum station to go among the other girls and play the tambourine (almost to emphasize that she had not played the drums). In addition, Debbi also dubs the famous whistle between verses, which made this song so recognizable.
I said dubs, because even in this case the whistle we hear in the song was played electronically: it had not really been whistled by the Bangles.
Well, the process that led to the end of the Bangles probably began in these moments. In fact, after the promotion of this album, Bangles changed production company. The new producers, however, instead of giving Debbi the visibility that she had been denied, decided to focus more and more on the singer Susanna Hoffs, and this began to make the differences between the girls increasingly insanable. The Bangles held on for three more years, in which they also found great successes such as “Eternal Flame“, but at the end of 1989 they disbanded, only to reunite ten years later.
The video, however, is very cool, with images of ordinary people replicating the movements of the Egyptians, alternating with footages where it seems that even famous people like Lady Diana or Gaddafi dance to the rhythm of the song. And in the end, the Statue of Liberty also walks like an Egyptian!!!
The Bangles on Wikipedia