Hero Takes A Fall

Album: All Over the Place (1984)
Charted: 96
  • The first single from the Bangles debut album, "Hero Takes A Fall" was written by their two guitarists: Susanna Hoffs and Vicki Peterson. The song is about how arrogance can lead to downfall, especially in matters of the heart. "We were thinking along very classical lines of classical tragedies where there's often a flaw to the hero," Peterson said in a Songfacts interview. "There's often an Achilles heel, something that takes him down at some point, and we were interested in that concept."
  • In our interview with Susanna Hoffs, she said: "When I look back on my writing relationship with Vicki I think that song was kind of a milestone in terms of our collaboration, where we just we sat down with an idea in mind to do something that had a good beat and would really be fun to play live. We ended up releasing it as a single and it got a lot of airplay on the college radio circuit. Having been playing on the club scene in LA, we started to kind of elevate from playing smaller venues up to small theaters."
  • The Bangles made a video for this song, which features mannequins representing the various men taking a fall. Susanna Hoffs shows up in a French maid outfit, which apparently got the attention of Prince, who befriended the band after seeing one of their shows at The Palace in Los Angeles. Later on, when the band played The Fillmore in San Francisco, Prince joined them on stage for this song, performing a guitar solo. "We were told he was in the audience, so of course we were very nervous. It turns out he had learned 'Hero Takes a Fall' and he just kind of jumped on stage with us and played this amazing solo. We'd never really met him till that night," said Hoffs.

    Prince ended up writing the Bangles' first hit, "Manic Monday."
  • At the urging of their label, Columbia Records, this song was remixed and rereleased as a single in Europe in 1985, but it failed to chart. The remix was done by David Leonard, who was an engineer on the Prince Purple Rain album.
  • This marked a shift in image for the Bangles, who before signing to Columbia identified as part of the Los Angeles "Paisley Underground," known for '60s-pop stylings along the lines of Revolver-era Beatles. Musically, the group kept many of these influences, but at Columbia's behest, they took on a look that was less mod and more Madonna, with lots of accessories (including bangles!). The video for this song was the debut of this new look.
  • The Dream Syndicate covered this on the 2018 Paisley Underground compilation 3 x 4. The Bangles reciprocated with a cover of The Dream Syndicate's "That's What You Always Say."
  • Who is this song about? In her Songfacts interview, Vicki Peterson went the Carly Simon route, saying it is a "carefully guarded Paisley secret."

    "At the time there was a rumor going around that it was about Steve Wynn (of The Dream Syndicate) and that got back to him," she said. "Thank god he still loves me."

Comments: 1

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn August 25, 1984, the Bangles performed "Hero Takes A Fall" on the Dick Clark ABC-TV Saurday-afternoon program 'American Bandstand'...
    The song peaked at #96 on the United Kingdom's Singles chart, it did not make Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart...
    Between 1986 and 1989 the Los Angeles quartet had eight records on the Top 100 chart, four made the Top 10 with two reaching #1, "Walk Like An Egyptian" for 4 weeks on December 14th, 1986 and "Eternal Flame" for 1 week on March 26th, 1989...
    Their other two Top 10 records both peaked at #2*, "Manic Monday" for 1 week in April of 1986 and "Hazy Shade of Winter" for 1 week in February of 1988...
    * The week that "Manic Monday was at #2, the #1 record for that week was "Kiss" by Prince and the Revolution; and the week that "Hazy Shade of Winter" was at #2, the record in the top spot for that week was "Could've Been" by Tiffany.
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