The early Bangles line-up of Susanna Hoffs (vocals/guitars), Vicki Peterson (guitars/vocals), Debbi Peterson (vocals/drums) and Annette Zilinskas (vocals/bass) recorded an EP in 1982, and released the single "The Real World". A legal issue forced the band to change their name at the last minute so they dropped "The" and added the letters "les" to the end to become Bangles. Their first EP was retitled Bangles and released. In 1983, Faulty Products issued a 12 inch "remix" single of "The Real World" to radio and media, but another setback came as the label folded. I.R.S. Records picked up distribution and re-issued the EP. After Zilinskas left the band to focus on her own project Blood on the Saddle, she was replaced by Michael Steele, formerly of the all-girl band The Runaways, Toni & The Movers, Slow Children and Elton Duck.
There was friction among band members after the media began singling out Hoffs as the lead singer of the group, a result of Columbia Records' practice of releasing mostly singles on which Hoffs sang lead vocal. In fact, singing duties on the group's albums were fairly evenly divided among all of the band's members, all of whom wrote or co-wrote their songs. Hoffs starred in the 1987 film, The Allnighter, which was directed by her mother, Tamar Simon Hoffs, and was critically panned. That, and the firing of their manager Miles Copeland, further exacerbated the dissent among the band members. But they soon had another US #2 hit with a cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "A Hazy Shade of Winter" from the soundtrack of the film Less Than Zero, and the melancholic "If She Knew What She Wants", written by Jules Shear, reached the U.S. Top 30 and the German Top 20.
1988's Everything was another multi-platinum smash and included their biggest-selling single, the soft ballad "Eternal Flame". Co-writer Billy Steinberg came up with the title after Susanna Hoffs told him about the band's visit to Graceland, Elvis Presley's former estate in Memphis, Tennessee. An "Eternal Flame" in memoriam to Presley is maintained on the site, but on the day the band visited, the flame had gone out and its clear-plastic enclosure was flooded. When they asked what was in the box, they were told, "That's the eternal flame." The single became another worldwide hit. Hoffs was actually naked when she recorded the song, after being convinced by producer Davitt Sigerson that Olivia Newton-John got her amazing performances by recording everything while naked.
The working relationships within the band had broken down, and they went their separate ways shortly after. Hoffs embarked on a solo career, and Vicki Peterson toured as a member of the Go-Go's and the Continental Drifters.
The Bangles returned to the studio in spring of 2009 to begin work on a new album. During an interview with Music Geek Media in May 2009 Debbi Peterson indicated that the album is in the early stages of production. This is an excerpt from the Bangles website in 2010:
"We're plugging along here with the new Bangles album - doing sessions at Matthew Sweet's house - which explains the cool 60's decor and cats everywhere. My favorite is Hoku, and apparently I'm her favorite too, since she spends all her free time sleeping in my bass drum. (Don't worry, she only SLEEPS in there!) Matthew pointed out that she's a Bengal, so maybe it's just a miscommunication and she thinks she's a Bangle. But as cute as she is, I don't think we can bring her on tour.
So far I'm singing lead on three songs, and I played acoustic on one track, hopefully I will on another, too. Of course I'm playing drums, lots of different kinds, including a laptop - which is NOT a computer, it's a little round drum you set in your lap and play with brushes or your fingers. It makes this cool military kind of sound that I really like.
We've tracked 9 tracks, with more to come, and we're moving ahead with guitar and bass. A couple of them are very close to being completed, and we have a lot of vocal ideas and cool guitar stuff in the works!
It's really been a joy to put this album together without anyone breathing down our necks, just taking our time to do it exactly the way we want to - it feels great, and I think it shows in the music. We'll be sharing some snippets in an upcoming Bangles podcast, can't wait to get your feedback!"
We're all looking forward to it Debb! ~DD
Deborah Mary 'Debbi' Peterson (born 22 August 1961, in Northridge, Los Angeles, California, U.S.) is the younger sister of Vicki Peterson, and the drummer of the all-girl group, The Bangles. She sang lead vocals on two of the band's released singles, "Going Down to Liverpool" (1985) and "Be With You" (1989).
She had already established her first band in high school, and started a solo career after the separation of The Bangles in 1990. However, this was not very successful. In 1992, she formed the short-lived duo Kindred Spirit with Siobhan Maher, formerly of River City People.
Peterson has been married to English sound engineer Steven Botting since 1989. They have two children - Brian (*1997) and Keira (*2004).
Susanna Hoffs joined sisters Vicki and Debbi Peterson to form a band in Los Angeles in December, 1980. The trio briefly christened itself The Colours, then renamed itself The Supersonic Bangs, and shortly afterwards The Bangs. The band was part of the Los Angeles Paisley Underground scene, which featured groups that played a mixture of 1960s-influenced folk-rock and jangle pop with a more modern punk–ish/garage band undertone. In 1981, the threesome recorded and released a single ("Getting Out Of Hand" b/w "Call on Me") on DownKiddie Records (their own label). In 1982, the trio was signed to Faulty Products, a label formed by Miles Copeland.