Walk Like An Egyptian

Album: Different Light (1986)
Charted: 3 1
  • You know a song is embedded deep in the collective conscious when it shows up as a Jeopardy! question. The category: Nuts About Doughnuts.

Comments: 24

  • Elahair from MinnesotaThis came out in high school. I was always positive the song was about getting completely stoned on weed. Anyone else
  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenUniquely wonderful arrangement. Anyone who doesn't toe-tap to this song has no sense of rhythm.
  • Ivory from Detroit, MiThis song has a special place in my heart because in early 1987 when I was in fifth grade, I performed a routine to it with the school dance troupe. Shout-out to our Dance Club choreographer, Ms. Cargill, who was also our science teacher, at the now closed Burt Elementary School in Detroit, MI.

    The movements that songwriter Liam Sternberg observed people on the ferry doing reminded him of the poses in which people appear in images of ancient Egyptians. Those commuters were going through the mundane, daily ritual of getting from Point A to Point B with throngs of others making a living, running errands, etc. The song mentions various scenarios where we go through daily routines by rote, particularly the people mentioned in the second verse: waitresses, whose work usual requires stiff movement so as not to drop the plates and glasses sitting on the large trays they carry; schoolkids who get "so sick of books" and at dismissal, "when the buzzer rings (oh whey oh), they're walking like an Egyptian," traveling en masse like the commuters who inspired the song.

    My interpretation is that this tune encourages us to take the mundane and make it fun:

    • If you must walk in lockstep with others going from place to place, don't just move stiffly, get a little animated with it and (say it with me) walk like an Egyptian.
    • If you're waiting tables, instead of walking slowly and steadily like the aforementioned waitresses, do as the ones in the song, who "spin around and they cross the floor."
    • When you're going on foot to or from another rough work shift, challenging school day, etc., don't just walk like a zombie, "slide your feet up the street, bend your back, shift your arms, then you pull it back."
    • "Life's hard, you know," so if you're working like a dog and still can't afford an expensive car or a car at all, fake it and take a picture on one ("strike a pose on a Cadillac"). That part reminds me of a game I played as a kid called "That's My Car," where we would try to be the first to verbally claim great-looking vehicles for ourselves as they rode by.

    I hope someday I can meet Mr. Sternberg so he can tell me if my take it "Walk Like an Egyptian" is what he was going for.

    Twitter: @IvoryJeff
  • Markantney from BiloxeJan 2017,

    Jay, no real answer but

    If You want to see/hear everyTHANG that was so right or so wrong about the 80s (depends on one's perception), it's this ridiculous song and video, Which I LOVE:):):)
  • Luke from Essen, GermanyThe before mentioned song "Gehn wie ein Ägypter" by "Die Ärzte" (The Doctors) is not more or less than a translation into german.
  • Jay from Brooklyn, NyWhat the hell is this song about? Either the lyrics are complete gibberish, or I'm missing something. Don't get me wrong - it's a fun song - but I have no idea what the Bangles are singing about.
  • Ron from Philadelphia, AkGreen Day should remake this. It's perfect for their style and is ripe for a remake. I want 10 million dollars if they do it because I came up with the idea.
  • Jj from Washington, DcFavorite Bangles song out there!!
  • Reza from Shiraz, Iranwas one of my favorites whwn i was a teenager. but havent listened 2 it 4 a long long time
  • Jake from Boston, MaThis is a fun song - the video is simple; but on Hoff's verse (the last one) it gets incredibly sexy. Hoffs eyes are very seductive as she finishes the verse.
  • Ken from Los Angeles, CaJason, Seattle, WA - you chew on mighty strange bubblegum. You can dislike CCR, but they were a creative and influential band. I think a cavalier attitude toward their music is a mistake.

    To me, "...Egyptian" is another quintessential '80s song, and has really good instrumentation.
  • Jason from Seattle, WaDylan had many #1 songs... as a composer. He had none as a singer, which means that all is right in the world.

    As for CCR, as much as I like John Fogerty, the songs of CCR are separated from bubblegum by not much more than Fogerty's guitar.
  • John from Kirkland, WaAfter the attack on the World Trade Ctr (9/11/2001) a number of stations would not play this song for fear that it would spark some kind of backlash due to the Middle East referance in the song - "Walk Like An Egyptian"
  • Alan from Grande Prairie, Alberta, CanadaSorry but I hate this song. Right up there with "Don't Worry Be Happy" and "Disco Duck" for being the worst songs of all time to chart #1. While CCR and Dylan never had a #1 song. Go figure.
  • Neil from Middlesbrough, United StatesWalk...(The Dog) Like An Egyptian by Jode Featuring YO-Hans

    the cover version is the same song but yo yo terms place in the song.
  • Kathy from Near Frankfurt, GermanyA German famous rock band called "Die Ã?rzte"(The Doctors) did kinda a song like this, I think. It's called "Laufen wie ein Ã?gypter",w hich means the same as "Walk like an egyptian". Have to check if its ment to be the same song^^
  • Margaret from Buellton, CaAlso, the Bangles were from Santa Barbara, CA.
  • Margaret from Buellton, CaJim, the parody you mention was by "The Swinging Erudites", a Boston band. The album also contained parodies of Bon Jovi ("Jon Anchovi: "Livin on my Hair" and "You Give Rock a Bad Name")

    "Swinging Erudites were the ones who originally wrote and performed the song, which was then covered by Carson Sage, which was in turn covered (and presumably translated) by J.B.O", the German metal band. (from "The Not Al Page" ; http://free.house.cx/~eil/etc/notal_list.html)
  • Jim from Dallas, TxA very funny parody of this song was made with the following title: "Walk with an Erection".
  • Pete from Nowra, Australianot a bad video clip ,Prince Charles was in it along with Libyan leader Gaddafi
  • Jamie from Sydney, Australia'Rumour' has it that Brad Shepard from the Australian band Hoodoo Gurus. Once kicked out the power supply for the drum machine during this song causing the whole song to stop in front of thousands of people. Also causing immediate tension with his then girl friend (one of the bangles at the time) and also his instant giving up of alcohol?? may just be a rumour....
  • Keith from Slc, UtI forget who it was, but the traffic-copter pilot at an LA station used to sing his own version of this song for the folks at get-togethers: "Walk like and Egyptian, Drive like a MORON!"
  • Rachel from Oxford, Ohi love the sneers on their faces, in the video. very seductive.
  • Jme from Raleigh, Ncthis is a weird song, but i like it
see more comments

Editor's Picks

AC/DCFact or Fiction

Does Angus really drink himself silly? Did their name come from a sewing machine? See if you can spot the real stories about AC/DC.

Harold Brown of WarSongwriter Interviews

A founding member of the band War, Harold gives a first-person account of one of the most important periods in music history.

Marvin GayeFact or Fiction

Did Marvin try out with the Detroit Lions? Did he fake crazy to get out of military service? And what about the cross-dressing?

Angelo Moore of FishboneSongwriter Interviews

Fishbone has always enjoyed much more acclaim than popularity - Angelo might know why.

U2Fact or Fiction

How did The Edge get his name? Did they name a song after a Tolkien book? And who is "Angel of Harlem" about?

Goodbye, Hello: Ten Farewell Tour Fake-OutsSong Writing

The 10 biggest "retirement tours" that didn't take.