When the Bangles released their sophomore album, Different Light, in 1986, it represented something of a departure from the guitar-driven, Sixties-oriented sound the band had been known for.
With its eclectic mix of radio-friendly pop, dance and Motown groove, Different Light would go on to become one of the year’s biggest albums, yielding the hits “Walking Down Your Street” and “If She Knew What She Wants,” plus the Prince-penned “Manic Monday.”
The album also gave the Bangles their first Number 1 song, the quirky yet strangely infectious “Walk Like an Egyptian.”
Below, Bangles guitarist Vicki Peterson recalls the making of Different Light and the tidal wave of success that followed. We also discuss her current work with the Bangles, the Psycho Sisters and Continental Drifters, gear and more.
When you look back at Different Light with 30 years of perspective, what comes to mind?
Different Light was a really important record for us and transitional in some ways. We had started out as a very raw garage band, and the first full record that we did with Columbia had more of that Sixties, guitar-rock sound. Different Light has some songs that kind of veered away from that. In some ways, it was a little uncomfortable, but new things always are.
What prompted that change in direction?
We were trying to feel our way through growing up as a band, and that started happening with that record. It was a band decision. Instead of staying in one spot musically and working directly from that Sixties, guitar-based platform, we launched into other things. David Kahne (producer) did a lot to take any ideas we had and was musically creative as an arranger. He was actually the one who brought us “Walk Like an Egyptian.”
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