Thursday, December 30, 2010

This is burning an Eternal Flame

If you read my blog before or if you are lucky enough (or not) to know me personally, you'll know that I'm a fan of the band The Bangles. The fab four of the eighties, those four women who had so many hits in the eighties, the band with lead-singer Susanna Hoffs, that band of the song 'Eternal Flame'. Of course 'Eternal Flame' is the highest entry of the Bangles in the top 2000 at 427 and has been in the top 100 in that very list once and of course it's a beautiful ballad. It was that song that made me fan of the band, even though I always sang the chorus of 'Manic Monday' unaware it was the same band and secretly (not even sure why that was a secret but young teenagers are even weirder than teenagers) loving their version of 'Hazy shade of winter'. I got their 'Everything' album, the album that features 'Eternal Flame' and I loved it. I played the single 'Eternal Flame' so many times it actually turned grey. The b-side of that 7" was the non-album track 'What I meant to say', a raw rock song, not sung by Susanna Hoffs but by the Peterson sisters Debbi and Vicki. Every Bangles fan will be able to tell you that Hoffs is not the lead singer of the Bangles, all the women sang. In 1989, 'Eternal Flame', my 'Eternal Flame' ended up being the biggest selling single of that year. And I was proud.

In 1989, the Bangles split up. The final straw in the friction between the members was the release of 'Eternal Flame'. That, however, is my version. The story of the split of the Bangles is not one to tell in one paragraph, there's a back story to be told. But, if you ever needed to tell this in one sentence, you'd use 'Eternal Flame'.

'Eternal Flame', even though it's the song that turned this girl a fan and glued to the television every time the video appeared on screen (which was an awful lot those days, we still had an MTV that played music videos), is by far not my favourite song by this fab four. It's not even because of the split association. It's a nice song, it's lovely, it's highly romantic. But on 'Everything' you'll find one song, which comes right before 'Eternal Flame' that is even more beautiful, romantic, heartbroken that that, it's Michael Steele sung 'Something to believe in'. That song is gorgeous. Steele's warm, bluesy voice is amazing, which is also evident in the first song of side B 'Glitter Years'. The Bangles are no matter what a rock band. They made fantastic pop songs, but their rock songs are so much better.

Still, I'm really pleased by 'Eternal Flame' featured in this List of All Lists here in the Netherlands. Be it the one that isn't their best and doesn't do the band justice for what they really were. It's the one people remembered and still cherish. People still remember the Bangles and that's great indeed.