The band was formed in Los Angeles, California in 1981 as The Supersonic Bangs, later shortened to The Bangs. The band was part of the so-called Paisley Underground scene in LA, which featured groups that played a mixture of 1960s influenced folk-rock and jangle-pop with a more modern punk-ish/garage band undertone.
They were forced to change their name to The Bangles when a band from New Jersey, also named The Bangs, threatened to sue.
The initial Bangles line-up of Susanna Hoffs (vocals/guitars), Vicki Peterson (guitars/vocals), Debbi Peterson (drums/vocals) and Annette Zilinskas (bass/vocals) recorded at least one single as the Bangs, then made their recorded debut as the Bangles with a self titled EP, which was released on their manager Miles Copeland’s Faulty Products label in 1982. Zilinskas subsequently left the band, and was replaced on bass by Michael Steele.
The Bangles’ full-length debut album on Columbia, All Over the Place (1984), captured their power-pop roots, featuring the singles “Hero Takes a Fall” and the Kimberley Rew-penned “Going Down To Liverpool” (originally recorded by Rew’s band Katrina and the Waves). The record attracted good critical notices, and the video for “Liverpool” featured Leonard Nimoy, which helped to generate further publicity.
All this went some way to attracting the attention of Prince, who later wrote “Manic Monday” for the group. Manic Monday went on to become a U.S. #2 hit, outsold at the time only by another Prince composition, his own “Kiss”. The accompanying album Different Light (1986) was more polished than its predecessor and, with the help of the worldwide #1 hit “Walk Like an Egyptian”, saw the band firmly in the mainstream as radio and MTV stalwarts.