Walk Like an Egyptian

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"Walk Like an Egyptian"
The Bangles Walk Like An Egyptian.jpg
1986 cover art
Single by The Bangles
from the album Different Light
B-side
  • "Angels Don't Fall in Love"
  • "Not Like You"
Released 1986
Format
Recorded Sunset Sound Factory (1985)
Genre Pop rock[1]
Length 3:24
Label
Songwriter(s) Liam Sternberg
Producer(s) David Kahne
The Bangles singles chronology
"If She Knew What She Wants"
(1986)
"Walk Like an Egyptian"
(1986)
"Walking Down Your Street"
(1987)

"Everything I Wanted"
(1990) Everything I Wanted1990

"Walk Like An Egyptian (remix)"
(1990) Walk Like An Egyptian (remix)1990

"The Eternal Mix"
(1990) The Eternal Mix1990
Alternative cover
1990 reissue cover
1990 reissue cover
Music video
"Walk Like an Egyptian" on YouTube

"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.

Origin[edit]

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.[citation needed]

Recording[edit]

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.[2] 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".[2]

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 disliked particularly 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.[3] She can be seen playing the tambourine during their 1986 performance on The Old Grey Whistle Test.[4]

Chart performances[edit]

"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.[5] 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.[6]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Walk Like an Egyptian" was nominated for Best Group Video at the 1987 MTV Video Music Awards.[7] It features both The Bangles performing the song at a concert and scenes of people dancing in poses similar to those depicted in the Ancient Egyptian reliefs that inspired songwriter Liam Sternberg. Most of these people were filmed on the streets of New York City, although special effects were used to add Princess Diana, Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, and the Statue of Liberty. In a popular scene from the video, Hoffs was filmed in a close-up where her eyes moved from side to side, looking left and right. When asked about the scene in an interview with online magazine PlanetOut.com, Hoffs explained that she was actually looking at individual audience members during the video shoot, which took place with a live audience. Looking directly at individual audience members was a technique she used to overcome stage fright, and she was unaware that the camera had a close-up on her while she was employing this technique, switching between one audience member on her left and one on her right.[8]

1990 re-release[edit]

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

Airplay restrictions[edit]

"Walk Like an Egyptian" was one of the songs which were claimed to have been banned by Clear Channel following the September 11, 2001 attacks. Snopes in researching this found that the list was simply suggestions regarding songs to be sensitive in regards to when playing.[9][10] It was also included in a "list of records to be avoided" drawn up by the BBC during the Gulf War.[11][12][clarification needed]

Accolades[edit]

Year Publisher Country Accolade Rank
1986 Hot Press Ireland "Singles of the Year" (20)[13] 4
1986 The Village Voice United States "Singles of the Year" (25)[14] 16
2003 Giannis Petridis Greece "2004 of the Best Songs of the Century"[15] *
2003 Paul Morley United Kingdom "Greatest Pop Single of All Time"[16] *
2003 Pause & Play United States "Vault Of Fame" (Songs)[17] *
2005 Bruce Pollock United States "The 7,500 Most Important Songs of 1944-2000"[15] *
2009 Gilles Verlant and Thomas Caussé France "3000 Rock Classics"[15] *
2009 Radio Veronica Netherlands "Best Of The 80's" (100)[18] 99

(*) indicates the list is unordered.

Track listings[edit]

Charts and sales[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lamb, Bill. "Kelly Clarkson – Never Again". About.com. Retrieved February 15, 2014. David Kahne is responsible for over 2 decades of pop-rock classics from seminal work with the Bangles ("Manic Monday," "Walk Like an Egyptian," "Going Down to Liverpool") to more recent production efforts for the Strokes. 
  2. ^ a b Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits (5 ed.). Random House Digital. p. 656. ISBN 0-8230-7677-6. 
  3. ^ Alter, Gaby (September 1, 2009). "Classic Tracks: The Bangles' "Walk Like an Egyptian"". Mix. Retrieved February 15, 2014. 
  4. ^ The Old Grey Whistle Test Vol. 3 (DVD). BBC Video. 2006. 
  5. ^ Stichting Nederlandse Top 40, 500 Nr. 1 hits uit de Top 40, Page 234, 9023009444
  6. ^ "Bangles – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved February 15, 2014. 
  7. ^ "1987 Video Music Awards". MTV. Viacom. Retrieved September 1, 2009. 
  8. ^ Stewart, Jenny (August 8, 2009). "PlanetOut Talks to Susanna Hoffs". Archived from the original on August 12, 2009. . PlanetOut.com.
  9. ^ Mikkelson, David (March 29, 2011). "Clear Channel Banned Songs". Snopes.com. Retrieved June 6, 2018. 
  10. ^ Murphy, Heather (September 17, 2001). "It's the End of the World as Clear Channel Knows It". Slate. Retrieved October 16, 2011. 
  11. ^ Kirby, Mark (2000). Sociology in Perspective. Heinemann. p. 164. ISBN 0-435-33160-4. 
  12. ^ "Unfit for Auntie's airwaves: The artists censored by the BBC". The Independent. December 14, 2007. Retrieved February 15, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Hot Press Albums Of The Year 1986: The Critics' Choice". Hot Press. Rocklist.net. Retrieved March 26, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Village Voice - Pazz & Jop Lists > 1986: Singles". The Village Voice. Rocklist.net. Retrieved March 26, 2014. 
  15. ^ a b c "Bangles – Walk Like an Egyptian". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved March 26, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Paul Morley". Rocklist.net. Retrieved March 26, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Songs". Archived from the original on August 2, 2003. . Pause & Play.
  18. ^ "Radio Veronica". Rocklist.net. Retrieved March 26, 2014. 
  19. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970-1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 26. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  20. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Bangles – Walk Like An Egyptian" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
  21. ^ "Ultratop.be – Bangles – Walk Like An Egyptian" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
  22. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 0766." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved May 30, 2014.
  23. ^ "Billboard – Hits of the World". Billboard. Vol. 98 no. 50. December 13, 1986. p. 56. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  24. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin - levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5. 
  25. ^ "Lescharts.com – Bangles – Walk Like An Egyptian" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
  26. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Bangles – Walk Like An Egyptian". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
  27. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Walk Like an Egyptian". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
  28. ^ a b "I singoli più venduti del 1987" (in Italian). Hit Parade Italia. Creative Commons. Retrieved February 15, 2014. 
  29. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Bangles - Walk Like An Egyptian" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
  30. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Bangles – Walk Like An Egyptian" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
  31. ^ "Charts.nz – Bangles – Walk Like An Egyptian". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
  32. ^ "South African Rock Lists Website SA Charts 1969 – 1989 Acts (B)". Rock.co.za. Retrieved May 31, 2013. 
  33. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  34. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Bangles – Walk Like An Egyptian". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
  35. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
  36. ^ a b c "Different Light – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved February 15, 2014. 
  37. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending DECEMBER 20, 1986". Cash Box. Archived from the original on October 2, 2012. 
  38. ^ "Bangles: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
  39. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1986" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 15, 2014. 
  40. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1986" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved February 15, 2014. 
  41. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1986" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 15, 2014. 
  42. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970-1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 439. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  43. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1987" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 15, 2014. 
  44. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 47, No. 12, December 26 1987". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved February 15, 2014. 
  45. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1987" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved February 15, 2014. 
  46. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1987" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 15, 2014. 
  47. ^ "Top 20 Hit Singles of 1987". Rock.co.za. Retrieved February 15, 2014. 
  48. ^ "Top 100 Hits for 1987". The Longbored Surfer. Retrieved February 15, 2014. 
  49. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Bangles – Walk Like an Egyptian". Music Canada. 
  50. ^ "Dutch single certifications – Bangles – Walk Like an Egyptian" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers.  Enter Walk Like an Egyptian in the "Artiest of titel" box.
  51. ^ "British single certifications – Bangles – Walk Like an Egyptian". British Phonographic Industry.  Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Enter Walk Like an Egyptian in the search field and then press Enter.
  52. ^ "American single certifications – Bangles – Walk Like an Egyptian". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH.