Bangles – The Real World

I’ve been posting bands that were in the Paisley Underground scene back in the 80s. This one is probably the most well known. Over the last few months I’ve become a fan of this 80s movement. For me…a better alternative to the top 40 at the time. I want to thank Dave at A Sound Day for introducing me to the song! They were called The Bangs before they released this song.

The Bangles were a breath of fresh air in the mid-eighties. The band played sixties inspired rock with Byrd’s chiming guitars. The lead singer, Susanna Hoffs, caught my eye right away. Yes for the normal ways but also for the fact she was playing a Rickenbacker guitar…what more could I want?

“Paisley Underground” was a moniker that helped music journalists describe their sound, which didn’t fit the New Wave or Rock. This song is an example of the genre, with a jangly guitar and ’60s-style reverb reminiscent of The Byrds or early Beatles. Other bands that fit this mode were The Rain Parade, The Dream Syndicate, and Rainy Day.

The scene also had a bit of early alt country rock (The Long Ryders and Green On Red) made more popular in the 90s.

The Real World was a song on the self titled EP the band released after signing with Miles Copeland’s I.R.S. Records. The EP wasn’t too successful but it did help get the band signed to the major label Columbia Records, which issued their first album called All Over The Place in 1984.

Guitarists Susanna Hoffs and Vicki Peterson wrote this song. This is one of the few Bangles tracks bassist Annette Zilinskas played on; she left the group soon after, replaced by Michael Steele. The song was released on the small label Faulty Products.

Rain Parade covered this on a 2018 compilation called 3 x 4, where four Paisley Underground groups…Rain Parade, Bangles, The Dream Syndicate and The Three O’Clock – cover each others’ songs.

The Real World

Forgot to tell you
Sins are very hard to say
And you know that the words are there, my love
When I first saw you
I didn’t notice it that day
Now you’re the one I’m thinking of.

[Chorus:]
Oh, you never bring me down
Make me sad, it’s such a change, oh yeah (oh yeah)
If I was insecure
That was yesterday and now I’m sure
Oh, so sure (oh so sure, so sure).

When I was a little girl
I wanted everything ideal
Yeah, and a love I could depend on
This is the real world
And I believe our love is real
And it’s the only thing I’m counting on.

[Chorus]
Oh, you never bring me down
Make me sad, it’s such a change, oh yeah (oh yeah)
If I was insecure
That was yesterday and now I’m sure
Oh, so sure.

[Chorus]
Oh, you never bring me down
Make me sad, it’s such a change, oh yeah (oh yeah)
If I was insecure
That was yesterday and now I’m sure
Oh, so sure, oh.

This is the real world
I really want to be your girl
This is the real world (real world)
I really want to be your girl
This is the real world (real world)
I really want to be your girl.

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

62 thoughts on “Bangles – The Real World”

  1. Good to have some feminine power on PowerPop! Love The Bangles. They’re great in concert. Very tight, very concise band that let their music do the talking. And yes, Susanna Hoff is lovely. She also plays a great rhythm guitar. Likewise, Debbi Peterson is a FANTASTIC drummer. A really good, solid pop band. I love The Real World! It reminds me a lot of The Hollies. And, yes, I hear The Byrds too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes and one of my favorites. I just heard this a few months ago. I had no clue it was this far back. Have you heard Hoffs and Matthew Sweet’s duo albums? They cover sixties songs and they sound great together.

      Yes Debbi is a great drummer and a very good songwriter. They were keeping power pop alive in the mid eighties…I loved them then and now.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. No, I don’t know know anything about the duo albums. You know, I know the name Matthew Sweet and I know he had a tune that I really liked, but for the life of me I can’t think of it…I didn’t really get into Hoff’s solo stuff. I just didn’t hear much of it and what I did…well, I just liked The Bangles so much.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Probably a song called “Girlfriend.” He is heavily into power pop. You gave me an idea…I’m going to start searching more for power pop female bands. I need to have more.
        Probably my favorite all female band is a band called Fanny. They were downright awesome…not power pop but rock in the early seventies.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Okay…I’ll look that one up. I don’t know Fanny. I’m going to check them out as well. I guess my favorite all female band is The Runaways. I’m huge fan. I love The Go Go’s too. And Girlschool. Wow! I saw them in concert…they blew me away. They played hard! I like a lot of 80s metal bands. I just like female musicians whether all girl group or not. I think they get short shift, still. And it’s sad. And wrong…speaking of great female musicians…I’m putting together a piece on Bonnie Bramlett of Bonnie & Delany… her impact on rock, country and r&b. Bonnie is such a great singer and Delany was a phenomenal guitarist…they were great songwriters and interpreters…played with everybody. Really, really underrated by the public, but not by their fellow musicians.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. They do get the short end I agree. Fanny opened up for Deep Purple and other bands back then. They were excellent musicians.
        I like Bonnie Bramlett. She can sing anything….rock, country, blues, or gospel. I’ve seen a clip on youtube with Bonnie and Delany, Harrison, Clapton and many others…great musicians. Duane Allman liked playing with them also.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. thanks for the link! Yep, agree with you all around on them, great sound, very talented, more pleasant to watch on video than many other bands let’s say. This was a good song… from what I have read in interviews this was more the sound they really wanted in the 80s & Columbia routed them into a different musical area. If they had stayed with IRS, they might have sounded more like this… but probably wouldn’t have become platinum sellers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea that is the advantage of staying with a smaller company. I liked how they sounded but this is much better to me….as far as the sound anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I didn’t know that tune – sounds pretty good! The Bangles entered my radar with “Manic Monday” – just a great power pop tune. I borrowed and taped the “Different Light” album and wore out that tape – some really great tunes on there.

    The only song I could do without is “Eternal Flame.” It’s not a terrible song but they played it to death on the radio to the point where I could no longer stand it!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This one was before they made it…but the one I would recommend you checking out it….”If She Knew What She Wants”…it was more of a minor hit but my favorite of the bunch.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. That Paisley Underground is very interesting…a lot of good bands in that… but none but the Bangles came near the popularity of REM or the Replacements. The Bangles early music was pretty cool

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve been a Bangles fan since All Over The Place. Susanna Hoffs is not the “lead singer.” She is but one of four (well, three, now). Vicki, Debbie & Susanna are all lead & backing. Annette was backing vocals, once & Michael/Micki (Susan Thomas) sang lead on a couple of songs on Different Light (she was lead on a cover of Big Star’s September Gurls) and three songs on Everything.

    I loved Walk Like An Egyptian, until they wore it out (with all four taking lead). My favorite of theirs is the S & G cover of Hazy Shade of Winter. My second fave is the Katrina & the Waves cover Going Down to Liverpool, with Debbi on lead. Sorry…not a fan of Susanna’s voice. She sounds like a 13 year old, inhaling helium from her birthday balloons (which, I’m sure, that visual probably excites you…LMAO!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She sure was the lead singer on this one…was she not? Well she sings most of their hits in reality though…and the first time I saw them on a video…she was singing. Peterson is the best songwriter out of the bunch.

      Walk Like An Egyptian is the one I didn’t like…the one that hooked me on them was If She knew What She Wants…and again she was singing…lol I’ll fight you on this one…no you are correct she wasn’t the only lead singer but when I saw them…she was lead singing…and…she plays a Rick…she is a Goddess lol.

      Yes! Yes it does!

      Like

      1. She has been the face of many of their hits, yes but, that is only by virtue of the song releases (Manic Monday & Eternal Flame…I wanna hurl, even though the former is a Prince piece). Look at any of their line-ups on their albums. They all rotate lead duties.

        *Which* Peterson? Debbi & Vicki, both, are prolific writers (as is Susanna) and, later on, Michael/Micki/Susan (I wonder if she has difficulty remembering which signature to use).

        “Walk” was great the first ten times I heard it and I loved the video but, radio repeats it too much. The good news is, no one in the band wrote that one. “If She Knew…” is OK. They were a much better group as rockers than an FM pop group.

        I don’t question Hoffs’ guitar abilities (she rocks out) or her writing abilities but, she hasn’t always had that “little girl voice”, as shown in the video you provided. I like her sound in this. The bland pop stuff and the helium voice, I can’t take.

        I know. She make you pant. I get it. LOL!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. What I meant when I wrote it…was she was the lead singer when I watched them for the first time. She is the most known from them…
        Vickie is who I was talking about. She was very prolific. I liked them a lot. They were not a “Fanny” type of band…great musicians but they were good at what they did.

        Oh yea…not just her looks…her voice suits her but I love the Rickenbacker….I mean that is a dream come true! A girl playing a Rick…my dreams fulfilled!

        Like

      3. A band named Fanny… probably the most talented female rock band… they opened for Zappa, Deep Purple… they were really good

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      4. Yeah, they were the parents of the Runaways, the Go-Gos, the Bangles… I didn’t understand what you meant by saying the Bangles were not a “Fanny-type” band. You don’t think so? They at least started out sounding similar to Fanny in the early days…they considered themselves the female versions of the Beatles. I think they nailed that.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. (In fact, the focus on Hoffs is one of the things that broke them apart….)
        https://www.theguardian.com/music/2003/mar/14/artsfeatures.shopping

        “…they did find themselves in the peculiar situation of having a string of hits that didn’t really sound like them. It began when Prince took a shine to the band and gave them a present: a box containing a tape of Manic Monday.”

        “…it was an international hit. It was also their eventual undoing.”

        “The Bangles’ cherished insistence that they were equals and didn’t have a traditional frontperson evaporated in the face of Hoffs’ lead vocal and false press rumours of a romance with Prince.”

        “It was a slippery slope,” says Peterson. “By the time we released singles where it really was multiple vocals, it didn’t really defuse that perception. People like to paint it as girls having a catfight but it was more the frustration of not being perceived as a unit.”

        “Tensions also arose during the making of their second album, 1986’s Different Light, which proved hugely successful while jettisoning much of the band’s signature sound. “We were just in this sort of hit machine,” said Steele. “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…”

        (This is my very complaint…)

        “The Bangles’ third album, 1988’s Everything, was the sound of a band fragmenting: slick, bombastic moments like Eternal Flame, co-written by Hoffs with hired songwriters, belonged on a different record to the harder rock numbers offered by Steele and the Petersons.”

        “Hoffs departed for a solo career, the Petersons joined different bands, and Steele escaped from LA to a farm in northern California, “doing music and doing art, but not doing anything officially. I sort of dropped out.”

        (More…)
        https://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/music/no-more-manic-mondays-20050905-gdm07a.html

        “As Susanna Hoffs involuntarily stole the limelight, becoming the unofficial frontwoman of a band inspired by the Beatles, four-part harmonies and shared lead vocals, sisters Debbi and Vicki Petersen and Michael Steele became frustrated.”

        “…Hoffs is unafraid to address the issues that led to the split. “Because a lot of the singles that came out, I was singing, it did cause some tensions,” she says on the phone…”

        “Said to be responsible for the band’s reunion, Hoffs says she was the one who maintained the communication. The Petersen sisters, drummer Debbi and guitarist Vicki, always kept in touch, but bassist Steele removed herself from the music industry…”

        (I can’t help but wonder if the little girl voice came about via the Prince angle…or even from their producer.)

        Liked by 1 person

      6. That was the record company probably…she seems like a cool person really. People just connected her with them because of the way she looked and her voice went with the songs well.

        I saw a video today of her and Belinda Carlisle singing We Got The Beat…that was pretty cool.

        Most likely it was a producer…like Diana Ross had that nasal thing going on.

        Like

  5. You know, I zipped to another one of your posts before I actually listened to this video (pulled in too many directions). I like this song and, curiously…Hoffs voice is deeper. She actually sounds good in this. Her later stuff is annoying. Hmmm…makes me wonder what is up with the little girl voice later on. I wish she sounded more like this in other lead parts. It’s cool to see Annette with them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Have you heard her duets with Matthew Sweet? My God it’s great! They harmonize and it sounds so good. Perfect power pop.

      Like

    1. They had a good sound going on here…the big label did change some things sound wise…I noticed that she was a little more active.

      Like

  6. I wasn’t a huge fan of the Bangles. Didn’t mind them, but wasn’t wowed by them. But THIS is different. I like this very much. I wish we’d been able to hear this sound after their big record deal instead of what we got.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. 54 comments and counting – methinks people like Bangles! Couple more thoughts – the ‘Under the covers’ albums with Matthew Sweet are brilliant … I forget how I found the first one, rather randomly but I absolutely loved everything on it and bought the others as soon as they came out. Second, your back and forth with Hinoeuma pretty much summed up why there were no Bangles by 1990… the public and especially Columbia viewed Susanna as the lead singer and face of the band. Even if she said otherwise in interviews, the other 3 didn’t take that too well.

    Liked by 1 person

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