the beach boys ' good vibrations':
and lavern baker's classic version of ' see see rider':
the bangles were spawned from the so called ' paisley underground' in LA in the early 80s( along with the all women pandoras, red kross, dream syndicate -which gave us opal and mazzy star- the three o'clock, green on red, rain parade) which paid homage to music i have always been particularly fond of, in part due to my age-the pop songs from the british invasion and subsequent american garage band explosion which was intensely influenced by american girl groups of the late 50s/early 60s and black american rhythm and blues. and i thought- finally someone's doing to right again and they're all girls- tight harmonies, guitars- catchy- a fucking put it on your record player in your bedroom and dance around like a fucking idiot song and play it over and over until your mother wants to strangle you.( mind you, this was long before even the walkman cassette players when the portable sorts of tiny radios were only am and came with a tiny white mono single ear plug. no ipods and only adults males with fancy stereophonic equipment had headphones and they used them at home and they were quite large.)
and then there came ' manic monday'. and while there's no denying that Prince is a very influential and talented song writer, manic monday is almost a deal breaker.when it came out i had just gotten out of the hospital and was working printing and yes they played the song back then even more on mondays. coupled with the lethal fumes from some of the paints and screen cleaners and that fucking song it's no wonder i ended up passing out one day and eventually quit.( and do not mention the internal burning, itching song-please.....)
but that's the music business- find something precious and good and mold it into plastic, hackneyed shit to mass market. take the female musicians and de-musician them by whoring them them out if theyre not that already and sell their body parts instead of their talent. michael steel's first band - the runaways-were purposely created by a man to cause an outbreak of middle age male jerking off- a bunch of jail bait in leather and stuff the blonde femmey one in underwear and you have- a music group and although they played their own instruments- supposedly amazing for the time and always said in the same way one would comment on monkeys typing out a novel- they sort of sucked. to be honest, i never much liked joan jett's later day continuous ode to bad groups from the 70s( slade in particular) and lita ford- let's just not go to lita ford. although they all mostly emerged from the runaways to careers as real musicians with varying degrees of success, they were used as fodder for the machine of misogyny. it was completely demeaning to female musicians- even if the individual ones involved used it as a means to an end .
and in the end i am surprised that it's for michael steel i have the most respect. she recognized the bangles middle of the road EZ listening tripe for what it was- with only a brief return to their fabulous roots with their really excellent cover of ' hazy shade of winter'- and she went on to my absolute surprise and wonder to sing at the sandy denny memorial concert- something i never would have imagined. if you recognize sandy denny as the gift from the goddess she was - that's enough for me.
'the banks of the nile' is a traditional english song and sandy's version, like just about all her interpretations of such material, is a stunner . this version is clearly, of course, based on it. michael does a fine job. i think you'll find that although the tune dates back to the time of admiral nelson , it's sentiments are still timeless and universal and particularly poignant now.