In 1981, and having graduated from the University of California at Berkeley, Susanna Hoff (guitar, vocals; b. 1.17.57, Newport Beach, CA) places an ad in a local newspaper called The Recycler in which she states that she's into the Beatles, the Byrds and Buffalo Springfield -- and wants to start a band. She meets Vicki (guitar, vocals; b. 1.11.58, Los Angeles, CA) and Debbie Peterson (drums, vocals; b. 8.22.61, Los Angeles, CA), sisters who performed together in the Fans (1979-80). The threesome hit it off and the Supersonic Bangs are born. Acquiring bass player Annette Zilinkas (bass, vocals; b. 11.6.64, Van Nuys, CA), they shorten their name to the Bangs and release their first single, "Getting Out Of Hand" on their own label, Downkiddie. Sales are disappointing...
Changing their names to The Bangles, the band continues to play gigs in the Los Angeles area. DJ Rodney Bingenheimer includes their song "Bitchin' Summer" on his Rodney on the ROQ compilation album. Miles Copeland signs on as their manager and they open for the Beats.
The Bangles, a five-track mini-album, is released on Copeland's Faulty Product label, a subsidiary of I.R.S. Records. During the following 18 months, the band will sign a record deal with CBS/Columbia Records. Zilinkas will be replaced by
Michael Steele (b. 6.2.54) on bass.
All Over The Place begins its 30-week stay on the US album chart, eventually peaking at # 80. In March of 1985 it will peak at UK# 86.
Having wrapped up its first UK tour, the band begins to record its second album at the Sunset Sound Factory in Los Angeles.
The Bangles launch a world tour.
Written by Prince (using a pseudonym), the single "Manic Monday" soars to UK# 2. The album Different Light is released and begins a long chart climb to its eventual high mark of US# 2 and UK# 3.
"Manic Monday" peaks at US# 2; ironically, it's author retains the # 1 spot with "Kiss".
"If She Knew What She Wants" climbs to UK# 31; in July it will reach US# 29. "Going Down To Liverpool," originally done by Katrina & the Waves, is released; its promo video features Leonard Nimoy.
Hoffs makes her acting debut in the film The Allnighter.
"Walk Like An Egyptian" makes it to UK# 3. In a month's time it will be topping the US chart, where it will remain for four weeks.
"Walking Down Your Street" reaches UK# 16. In April it will peak at US# 11.
The RIAA certifies that Different Light has sold two million copies. (It will reach the three million mark in 1994.) The Bangles are named Best International Group at the 6th Annual BRIT Awards.
The Bangles earn three MTV Video Music Award nominations and perform at the 4th Annual ceremony.
The band's remake of Simon & Garfunkel's "Hazy Shade Of Winter", featured on the soundtrack for Less Than Zero and released on the Def Jam label, hits US# 2. In March it will peak at UK# 11.
Everything reaches # 15 on the US album chart.
"In Your Room" peaks at US# 5.
"Eternal Flame," penned by Susannah Hoff, Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly, becomes the band's second # 1 hit in the US. It is certified gold by the RIAA, which also certifies Everything has gone platinum.
Everything climbs to UK# 5; the 14-track compilation Bangles' Greatest Hits reaches UK# 4, but stalls at US# 97. It will be certified gold in August.
"Be With You" goes to UK# 23 and US# 30.
A press release confirms that The Bangles are splitting up.
All Over the Place (Columbia, 1984)
Hero Takes A Fall
All About You
Going Down To Liverpool
He's Got A Secret
More Than Meets The Eyes
"[T]he Bangles uphold the best traditions of the classic girl groups."
"[A]ny of you guys out there who aren't smitten...have my deepest sympathies."
"[G]reat pop, CLASSIC pop...as good as anything you'll ever hear."
Different Light (Columbia, 1985)
In A Different Light
Walking Down Your Street
Walk Like An Egyptian
Standing In The Hallway
If She Knew What She Wants
Let It Go
Angels Don't Fall In Love
Not Like You
"With their urbane harmony singing and spangling guitars, the girls make a wonderful noise."
"[W]ith...Different Light they ride on the back of a big wave that's always about to break but somehow never quite does. Mind you, if it did I'd probably be dead from ecstasy."
Everything (Columbia, 1988)
In Your Room
Something To Believe In
Be With You
I'll Set You Free
Watching The Sky
Some Dreams Come True
Make A Play For Her Now
Waiting For You
Crash And Burn
"[B]y taking more chances, the Bangles sound more comfortable than they have since their 1982 EP Bangles. On numbers like "I'll Set You Free" and "Make a Play for Her Now," their harmonies are the clearest and most evocative they've ever been – their voices float, coalesce and soar."
Jimmy Guterman, Rolling Stone 540
Susanna Hoffs debut solo album, When You're A Boy, is released in 1991; the single "My Side Of The Bed" reaches US# 30 and UK# 44. She contributes "We Close Our Eyes" to the soundtrack for Buffy, The Vampire Slayer and, with Jane Wiedlin and Charlotte Caffey of the Go-Gos, does the title track for Now and Then. In 1994 she signs a solo record deal with London Records. Her 1996 album will produce "All I Want", which peaks at UK# 32.
Debbie Peterson teams up with Siobhan Maher from River City People to form Kindred Spirit; they release their debut album in 1995.
Vicki Peterson joins Peter Holsapple and Susan Cowsill to form the Continental Drifters in 1996.