Monday, November 30, 2020

"Hazy Shade of Winter" by The Bangles

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  3334
Date:  11/14/1987
Debut:  73
Peak:  2
Weeks:  21
Genre:  Pop, Rock, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  The Bangles' second album, Different Light, was a triple-platinum #2 success thanks to a pair of Top 10 hits including the #1 "Walk Like an Egyptian." As the band was riding high with the LP, they got an opportunity to contribute a song to an upcoming film titled Less Than Zero. Instead of recording a new song, the band chose to do a cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "A Hazy Shade of Winter" (see below). It was a song that they had been performing in their shows as early as 1981. Working with the soundtrack's producer Rick Rubin, the Bangles got the song recorded and it ended up being released as a single. The tune caught on and became the band's third Pop Top 10. It also got to #41 at Rock. The hit helped the soundtrack get to #31 and go gold.

ReduxReview:  At their core, the Bangles were a rock band but they didn't sound much like one on record until this tune was unleashed. When the song started off with a massive guitar lick and slammin' snare beat, you knew immediately this wasn't the adorable Bangles of "Manic Monday." They meant business and had something to prove. I think it helped quite a bit that they got hooked up with Rick Rubin as he helped the band achieve the sound they wanted. The Bangles were truly a band on the disc and it should have been the catalyst that carried them into a new era, but internal struggles and record label shenanigans held them back on their next album. Still, this exciting track highlighted what the band was capable of and it remains one of their best efforts.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This is a remake of a song originally written by Paul Simon and recorded by Simon & Garfunkel in 1966. It was done for their fourth album Bookends, which was their first to reach #1. The track was issued out as the first single from the album and it got to #13. The Bangles took the song in a more rock oriented direction and also made it more concise by cutting out half of the bridge. All four of the Bangles sang the lead vocals, which was unusual for them since most of their songs featured only one member handling the lead. Their version not only surpassed Simon & Garfunkel's on the Pop chart, but many folks consider it superior to the original.  2) The film Less Than Zero was based on the Bret Easton Ellis' debut novel of the same name. It starred Andrew McCarthy, Robert Downey, Jr, Jamie Gertz, and James Spader. Upon release it received mixed reviews and barely made back its budget at the box office. Ellis initially hated the film saying it was nothing like his novel and that some roles were miscast. In later years, he spoke more favorably about it and the performances.


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