Manic Monday

Album: Different Light (1986)
Charted: 2 2
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  • Prince wrote this alliterative song under the name "Christopher" (the name of his character in his movie Under the Cherry Moon), and it became the Bangles' first hit. The purple one discovered the group after coming across the video for one of their early singles, "Hero Takes a Fall," on MTV. He showed up at a Bangles gig in Los Angeles, then he put together a very special mixtape for the group - one with two original songs he had written and wanted them to record. In our interview with Susanna Hoffs of the Bangles, she explained: "I went and picked up a cassette. It had two songs on it and one of them was 'Manic Monday.' The other was called 'Jealous Girl.' I have to look up that cassette. I know I have it. It's in a box somewhere. The demo just had a girl singing it. I think he was offering us the track so we'd sing it the same way. But we wanted to do the whole thing from the ground up."

    The Bangles recorded "Manic Monday" with the appropriate trepidation that comes with a song written by a superstar. Hoffs recalls: "I remember going in and singing that song and being on the mike and it was kind of like red light fever. I knew it was a Prince song and I wanted to do a great job on it. I remember David (producer David Kahne) was really excited; you pick up on those vibes and it's just the best feeling in the world. Recording is so psychological, there's so much pressure, because there's a lot at stake and you want to make sure you do your very best to get it captured on tape. It was taped back then. We didn't have Pro Tools, so you were always in danger of destroying something that was good already. Prince came to our rehearsal after the record was done, and he was really thrilled with how it came out. I think he might have said something like, 'Oh, I was surprised you guys didn't use my track,' or something. But he was very happy with it."
  • Prince's lifestyle is nothing like the workday grind he pokes fun of in this song, which finds a young lady stressing out about being late for work and trying in vain to get there on time. This being a Prince-penned song from the '80s, there is sex involved: we find out in the last verse that she's late because her lover, who apparently doesn't work, hit her up for some lovemaking the night before. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • The week ending April 19, 1986, Prince's song "Kiss" was #1 on the Hot 100 while "Manic Monday," which he wrote, was #2.
  • Prince first recorded this song with Apollonia 6, a group he assembled for his film Purple Rain. Apollonia Kotero was the female lead in the film and fronted the group along with Brenda Bennett and Susan Moonsie (yes, there were only three girls in Apollonia 6). The group released just one album (self-titled), which was slated to contain not only "Manic Monday," but also "The Glamorous Life," which Prince ended up giving to Sheila E. The highest charting song on the Apollonia 6 album was "Sex Shooter" (performed in Purple Rain), which made #85 US.

    A pre-release cassette of the album contained the Apollonia 6 version of "Manic Monday." Prince clearly made the right decision by trusting the song to the Bangles.
  • In the early '80s the Bangles were part of a Los Angeles movement known as the Paisley Underground, which included acts like Rain Parade and The Dream Syndicate. Prince appropriated the "paisley" moniker when he started Paisley Park Records in 1985; one of the bands he signed was the Paisley Underground act The Three O'Clock - their album Vermillion was released on his label in 1988 and included a song he wrote called "Neon Telephone."

    Prince certainly had an affinity for these Paisley acts, which were influenced by music of the '60s. In a Songfacts interview with Vicki Peterson of the Bangles, she said: "He definitely was a part of the same team. He worshipped that same stuff. He was listening to Hendrix and all kinds of psychedelic stuff, and of course he became fantastically influential in the Bangles' lives and in The Three O'Clock's lives."
  • "Manic Monday" was a breakthrough for the Bangles, setting them on a course for stardom. Their 1984 album was well received and get them gigs opening for Cyndi Lauper and doing a song for The Goonies soundtrack. But they struggled to get airplay outside of their Southern California stronghold, and none of the songs from their debut charted. "Manic Monday," with the Prince pedigree, was an easy sell to radio and MTV. Their next single, "If She Knew What She Wants," was a modest hit, but the next one, "Walk Like An Egyptian," was a sensation, named by Billboard as the #1 song of 1987 in America.
  • In their 1984 video for "Hero Takes A Fall," the Bangles were rocking a highly accessorized, Madonna look (yes, the Bangles were wearing bangles). For their "Manic Monday" clip, the fashions were more refined and the hairstyles more classic. The video marked the first time we saw Susanna Hoffs doing her famous "look up and to the side." Her scenes are in black and white while the majority of the video is in color. Early MTV was a place where the rules of filmmaking could be broken.
  • Grammatically, the line should be "wish it were Sunday," not "wish it was Sunday." That's because this wishful state requires a subjunctive, like "If I Were A Rich Man." But what's bad grammar can be good songwriting: Prince did the same thing on "If I Was Your Girlfriend."
  • Susanna Hoffs sang lead on this track, but she wasn't their lead singer: all four members of the group shared vocal duties. They took pains to make sure each member was represented equally, which is clear on the album and single art where their individual photos are displayed in an even grid. Despite their efforts at equality, Hoffs got most of the press attention, with many assuming she was the group leader. This caused considerable discord, especially after "Eternal Flame," another Hoffs lead vocal that was a huge hit. It played out with the band breaking up in 1989 and Hoffs going solo. On her own, she never came close to the success she attained with the Bangles; in 1998, at her behest, they got back together.
  • When this song began climbing the charts, the Bangles were dispatched to Europe on a grueling club tour. When they returned to America, they experienced what aspiring bands dream of. Susanna Hoffs told us: "After we were done with this crazy European run that we were on, we went back to the East Coast, and we were standing on a street corner in Washington, DC. We were out for a morning walk together as a band, which is so cute, and we heard this song coming out of the car stereo of this red convertible. It sounded familiar; there was that feeling of something on the tip of your tongue, but you just can't quite access it. And then all of a sudden the realization hit us simultaneously that it was our song and we just started going crazy, jumping up and down and screaming and being very silly."
  • On two occasions, Prince joined the Bangles on stage to perform this song with the group: first on May 14, 1986 at the Warfield Theatre in San Francisco, then on October 20, 1986 at The Palace in Hollywood, where he also played some guitar on "Hero Takes A Fall."
  • This song is the ultimate ballad of harried office workers everywhere, guaranteed to be heard at least once a day blaring from a desktop radio among the cubicles in just about every business in the English-speaking world. So let's cover some trivia about everyone's most-cursed day of the week:

    Monday is named after the convention which literally calls this day "Moon's Day" after the old European habit of naming the days of the week after gods represented by celestial objects. You probably knew that Sunday, whose taking off makes Monday such a drag for coming back to work, was named after the sun. But did you know that the reason Christian, Islamic, and Hebrew tradition has this as [God's/Yahweh's/Allah's] day is because before any of those religions, sun worshipers took Sunday as their holy day too? Here's a gallery of sun gods, at least one of which, Moloch, was around before the Old Testament was written, since it was mentioned there by name.

    Since it seems inevitable, we'll say it for you: "Sounds like somebody's got a case of the Mondays!" The line from the 1999 film Office Space, which the Internet at large will never, ever, ever let die.

    Some people find Monday to be such a stressful day that they take an unscheduled day off. The practice dates at least to the 17th century and was called "Saint Monday" as a joke; however, Benjamin Franklin bragged about his diligence as he was "never making a St. Monday." A page from his autobiography says so.

    Garfield the cat, title character of the newspaper comic strip, also hates Mondays. Lord knows why, it's not like he has a job to go back to!

    And then "Goodbye Blue Monday" is the alternate title of Kurt Vonnegut's novel Breakfast of Champions, so it goes.
  • The original demo Prince made for this song emerged on the 2019 album Originals three years after his death. It's clear that Prince always meant for a girl to sing it, as he retained the "kissin' Valentino" (referring to the classic film star Rudolph Valentino) line. It's also clear that he had every element planned out - it's very similar to the Bangles' final product.
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Comments: 9

  • Shandroise De Laeken from Davao City, PhilippinesThat's a really cute thing she does, Shawn! Thanks for that trivia! Rudolph Valentino isn't handsome. So when I sing this, I go: 6 o'clock already I was just in the middle of a dream; I was kissing Morten Harket by a crystal blue Norwegian stream..
    (Morten of a-ha back in 80's is way handsomer than Rudolph Valentino!) This is the song I keep singing everyday when I was still studying.
  • Shawn from Green Bay, WiSusanna Hoffs didn't especially enjoy singing the bridge, apparently being uncomfortable with the sexual suggestiveness of it. Now when she performs this song, she says "Why did my lover have to pick last night to come around?" Instead of "get down." And she omits the part about her lover telling her to "come make some noise." Hahaha... how cute is that?
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxIt was rumored by various writers that after Prince listened to the band's 1984 debut album "All Over the Place," he gave the song to Susanna Hoffs, so that in return she would sleep with him.
  • Ron from Philadelphia, AkSounds to me like Prince just lifted "Crimson and Clover" by Tommy James.
  • Thomas from Somerville, AlGreat pop song...and the Bangles were VERY easy on the eyes.
  • Derek from Cambridge, New ZealandJust a good pop song - simple as that!
  • Dig from San Francisco, CaWell, Prince wrote "Manic Monday" so it is not surprising it sounds like some of this other songs!
  • Tim from Hendersonville, TnThe melody line in the verses of "Manic Monday" is practically identical to the verses of Prince's song "1999". Try exchanging the lyrics sometime and you'll see what I mean.
  • Sunjay from Toronto, CanadaHas some sort of political view on it-"doesn't it matter that i have to feed the both of us,employment's down"
    It shows the economic struggles in the US in the 80's.
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