The Bangles were signed to the Columbia label during 1983, but before they had entered the recording studio, bassist Annette Zilinskas (who wanted more opportunity to sing lead vocals) quit the band to join country-punk outfit, Blood On The Saddle. In her place, bassist Michael (Micki) Steele was welcomed into the Bangles’ fold. Steele had been the original lead vocalist with 70s proto-punk hard rock outfit the Runaways (see separate Joan Jett post).
‘All Over The Place’ went on to sell a very respectable 150,000 copies. One of those copies undoubtedly fell into the hands of a certain artist by the name of Prince, who, it was rumoured, had been quite infatuated with Hoffs, via her appearance on MTV in the clip to ‘Hero Takes A Fall’. In between a live tour and promotional work for ‘All Over The Place’, the Bangles found time to appear (as pirates) in the promotional video to friend Cyndi Lauper’s top ten hit ‘Goonies ‘R Good Enough’. The band spent the latter part of 1985 in the recording studio working on their sophomore album.
Both artist and label were hoping that the follow up single, a melancholic rendition of the Jules Shear song, ‘If She Knew What She Wants’ (released mid year), would further build on the band’s momentum, but the single proved a relative disappointment in commercial terms (US#29/ OZ#31/UK#31). Meanwhile the Bangles had embarked on a lengthy summer tour during 1986. The album ‘Different Light’ climbed steadily up world charts (US#2/ OZ#2/UK#3), eventually becoming the 12th biggest selling album in the U.S. for 1986. It represented a marked departure from the 60s pop-rock infusion that had been a signature of their early work, and arguably suffered in stylistic terms by over production (once more Kahne was overseeing things from the control booth). In essence, the album compromised some of the band’s early career personality and style. Though from a commercial audience, and radio friendly angle, the more polished ‘Different Angle’ worked a treat, no more illustrated by the third single release.
‘Walk Like An Egyptian’ was a tough act to follow, and another strolling song in the form of ‘Walking Down The Street’ didn’t quite manage to crack the top 10 (US#11/ OZ#56/UK#16), but by being a vocal vehicle for Susanna Hoffs it signalled a trend that would eventually erode unity within the band.