Anna Lee (Sweetheart Of The Sun)

Album: Sweetheart of the Sun (2011)
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  • This is the title track from Sweetheart of the Sun, the Bangles first album of original material since 2003's Doll Revolution. The album was recorded in various home studios - those of guitarist/vocalists Vicki Peterson and Susanna Hoffs as well as the Hollywood Hills home studio of singer-songwriter Matthew Sweet, who produced the record.
  • The titular Anna Lee is a fictional person based on some of the women from the late '60s and early '70s who inspired the Bangles girls. Hoffs explained to Culture Brats: "There's a woman named Toni Stern who wrote with Carole King in the '70s. Vicki (Peterson) and I read a book, Girls Like Us. It was about Carly Simon, Carole King, and Joni Mitchell. There was also a series of books that came out: Hotel California and Laurel Canyon. I read all of these books and recommended them to the other girls in the band. We all loved it. We were so fascinated reading about Carole King and Carly Simon and Joni Mitchell, girls that were big influences on us as female artists and realizing that being little girls growing up in the '60s and '70s, these women had a huge impact on our lives. They were icons to us. We were envisioning the world of Laurel Canyon back in the day. I don't remember if Carly Simon was living up at Laurel Canyon, but Carole King was there, that's where Toni Stern was living. They got together and wrote together. There were all these women who were strong women who had a very defined sense of self, coming out of an era where the music world was dominated by men, kind of a Boys' Club. These women were finding there voices and we were commenting on that. It was our nod to the women who came before us.

    Actually, we got an email from Toni Stern, thanking us for mentioning her and the fact that she was an inspiration to us. There was a really interesting description of her as a female writer and the whole Laurel Canyon scene and her and Carole King writing these great songs together. It became this really inspirational image so we sort of fashioned our own version, our own mythical 'Lady Of The Canyon' called Annalee."
  • Another inspiration was a lyric from The Band's "The Weight." Said Hoffs: "And there was that great song by The Band where's this little thing 'keep Anna Lee company.' Something about that name. For me, I always connected that with that song as well."
  • Hoffs told how the song came together. "We wrote that in the studio together, all three of us. For some reason, I really wanted to write in the studio, and it's something Matthew was pushing us to do. The music came together very fast. It started with the riff, and then we all just chimed in singing. It's very '60s and '70s, but hey, that's fine – that's the idea. [laughs]"
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