The instrumentation for this song was originally recorded by producers Sly Dunbar & Robbie Shakespeare during the sessions for Grace Jones' 1980 album Warm Leatherette in the Bahamas. However it wasn't used as it was the only R&B sounding tune and Island Records supremo Chris Blackwell didn't like it much. Instead it came out as an instrumental B-side (as "Peanut Butter") to Junior Tucker's 1981 single, "The Kick (Rock On)." Sly Dunbar recalled to Mojo magazine December 2008 what happened next: "Grace heard Steven (Stanley) playing the rhythm track one day in the studio, and she said, 'a my riddim that!' And she started crying, 'I want back me riddim! Make we call Chris and tell him say me want me riddim.' So they gave her back the track and she and this girl Dana Mano came up with the lyrics."
The song's sexually suggestive lyrics provoked some controversy at the time, which limited its radio airplay. Hence the original release in 1981 only reached #53 in the UK singles chart, but after being re-issued in late 1985 it climbed to #12.
Jamaican reggae singer Patra covered this in 1995, reaching #60 in the US Hot 100 and #50 on the UK singles chart. A re-mixed dance version by Danish producer Funkstar De Luxe peaked at #60 in the UK in 2000.
The lyrics to "Heartbreak Hotel" were written by a steel guitar player who was once a dishwasher repairman. He was inspired by a newspaper story about a man who killed himself and left behind a note saying only, "I walk a lonely street."
The Prince-penned "Manic Monday" was the first song The Bangles heard coming from a car radio, but "Eternal Flame" is closest to Susanna's heart, perhaps because she sang it in "various states of undress."