Getting Out Of Hand

Album: The Essential Bangles (1981)


  • This was the first single for the Bangles, who at the time were known as The Bangs. It's their only release under that name; they had to change it when another group called The Bangs threatened legal action.

    The group formed earlier in 1981 when Susanna Hoffs answered an ad placed by the Peterson sisters - Debbi and Vicki - looking for another guitarist. Bass player Annette Zilinskas joined and appeared on this track.

    They released the song on their own label, Downkiddie Records. Hoffs hand-delivered a copy to the influential KROQ Los Angeles disc jockey Rodney Bingenheimer, who was suitably impressed and played it on his show in the summer of 1981. This got the attention of manager Miles Copeland, whose clients included The Go-Go's and his brother Stewart's group, The Police. The Bangles signed with Copeland's I.R.S. Records, and they were off and running. After releasing a 5-song EP on I.R.S., they got a deal with Columbia, which issued their debut full-length, All Over the Place, in 1984. By this time Zilinskas had left, replace by ex-Runaway Michael Steele. The album sold modestly, but their next, Different Light, was one of the biggest albums of 1986.
  • Vicki Peterson wrote the song but Susanna Hoffs took the lead vocal. It's about a girl who finds out her man has been running around with another girl - his philandering is getting out of hand. In a Songfacts interview with Peterson, she said: "I had written 'Getting Out Of Hand' about a little bit of a fantasy, a romantic triangle going on. And I liked the challenge of adding some harmonies that were a little tweaked, they weren't quite the one-three-five harmony. There was almost a sourness to the chords and in the chorus.

    That was part of The Bangs sound: We took everything that was expected and then tweaked it just a little bit. And then the guitars, at the time I was playing the Les Paul I'd had since high school and I had a 1968 Strat. Susanna had a Rickenbacker, which was awesome."
  • With a '60s throwback feel ("Ticket To Ride" by The Beatles comes to mind), the song fits into the "Paisley Underground" genre, a term used to describe several early '80s bands based in Los Angeles that couldn't be classified as punk or new wave. Other acts in this rubric include The Three O'Clock, The Dream Syndicate and Rain Parade. The Three O'Clock covered it on the 2018 Paisley Underground compilation 3 x 4.
  • The band was keen to release this song because they got some bad information leading them to believe if they put out a single under a band name, they got to keep that name. It did not, and they had to relinquish the name.


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