Bangles – Walk Like an Egyptian

„Walk Like an Egyptian“ is a song made famous by American band The Bangles. It was released in 1986 as the third single from the album Different Light. It was a million-selling single and became Billboard’s number-one song of 1987.

Music producer Liam Sternberg wrote the song after seeing people on a ferry walking awkwardly to keep their balance. Their poses reminded him of figures in some Ancient Egyptian paintings and reliefs.

Sternberg had finished a demo version of the song by January 1984 with singer Marti Jones. He offered it to Toni Basil, who turned it down. Lene Lovich recorded the first version of the song, but it went unreleased when she decided to take a break from music to raise her family. David Kahne from Peer Southern Publishing was the producer of Different Light; he received a copy of the demo and liked it, especially Jones’s „offhand quality“

Kahne took the song to the Bangles who agreed to record it. He had each member of the group sing the lyrics to determine who would sing each verse; Vicki Peterson, Michael Steele, and Susanna Hoffs sang lead vocals in the final version on the first, second, and third verses, respectively. Kahne did not like any of Debbi Peterson’s leads, so she was relegated to backing vocals. This angered her and caused tension within the group. The situation was exacerbated by the use of a drum machine in place of her drumming, further diminishing her role in the song. She can be seen playing the tambourine during their 1986 performance on The Old Grey Whistle Test.

„Walk Like an Egyptian“ was released as the third single from Different Light. It debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 in September 1986. The song reached a peak of number three on the UK Singles Chart in November 1986 and reached number one in the US on December 20, staying at the top of the Hot 100 for four weeks, carrying it over into January 1987. The song is the first song by an all-female group playing their own instruments to top the Billboard singles chart. The success of the song and „Manic Monday“ propelled Different Light to number two on the Billboard 200 chart, making it the group’s most successful album.

In 1990, „Walk Like an Egyptian“ was re-issued as a single in the UK to promote the BanglesGreatest Hits album. It featured new remixes for the song called Ozymandias Remix. It charted at number 73 in the UK.

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