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Songwriter Liam Sternberg wrote this. He got the idea when he was on a ferry boat, and saw people struggling to keep their balance. The way they held out their arms and jerked around made it look like they were doing Egyptian movements, and if the boat moved suddenly, they would all topple over.
This was the biggest hit for the Bangles, but they considered it one of their least favorite songs, as their Rock pedigree was compromised by a goofy song they had nothing to do with composing. Most Bangles songs were written by at least one member of the group, with the notable exception of "Manic Monday
," which was written by Prince.
All members except drummer Debbi Peterson sang a verse. Peterson was originally supposed to sing the whole thing, but producer David Kahne had each member audition the lyrics to determine who would sing what verse.
This was offered to Toni Basil, but she turned it down. The Bangles needed one more song to complete their album, so they took it.
The difficult recording process caused a lot of tension within the band. These tensions would eventually break them up.
In the US, this was the #1 song of 1987 according to Billboard's year end chart.
The video for this song made the band superstars, as it aired in heavy rotation on MTV. The Bangles became darlings of the network, but early on they weren't sold on the medium. Here are some quotes from 1985 where they kvetch:
Debbi Peterson: "When you listen to a record you can imagine what they look like and what they were doing when they recorded, but when you see the video it ruins it for you."Susanna Hoffs
: "I wish they could be more like movies, I wish they could somehow fulfill you, bring you through an experience."
La La Brooks of The Crystals
The lead singer on "Da Doo Ron Ron" and "Then He Kissed Me," La La explains how and why Phil Spector replaced The Crystals with Darlene Love on "He's A Rebel."
Jon Anderson of Yes
From the lake in "Roundabout" to Sister Bluebird in "Starship Trooper," Jon talks about how nature and spirituality play into his lyrics for Yes.
Mike Watt - "History Lesson, Pt. 2"
Mike Watt of the Minutemen tells the story of the song that became an Indie Rock touchstone. It's also the story of what Mike calls "The Movement."
When Judd Apatow needed under-appreciated rockers for his Knocked Up
sequel, he immediately thought of Parker, who just happened to be getting his band The Rumour back together.