I was pretty big into The Bangles when I was in high school – not surprising since it was an all female band that had slick pop production and catchy melodies. I mean, what was not to like? I loved “Manic Monday” and loved “If She Knew What She Wants” even more (see my post from a couple years ago about that song.) But I wasn’t quite sure what to make of “Walk Like An Egyptian” when I first heard it. Why did it take three verses to hear the familiar voice of Susanna Hoffs? What the hell was “walking like an Egyptian” anyway?
Let’s be honest – “Walk Like An Egyptian” is a novelty song, much in the vein of a song like “Wooly Bully” but less of a novelty song than say “Fish Heads” or “Pac-Man Fever.” It just didn’t seem like that strong of a single to me. I figured that it would have its World Premiere Video on MTV and then slip silently into the dust bin of history. But what the hell did I know because it became their first number one song and ended up being the number one song for all of 1987!
Naturally, I grew to like the song and I probably played it more than my parents want to recall. I must have bought the single – why wouldn’t I? But I know that I did not have the picture sleeve because when I went to find a picture of it, I sure didn’t remember it. As the third single from the album, “Walk Like An Egyptian” was the song that finally pushed me to buy the album. Back then, I had a “three song” rule that I loosely followed when buying albums. If there were 3 singles from the album that I liked, then I felt pretty comfortable spending the money on the whole album. I can think of many exceptions I made to that rule though, so it wasn’t like it was hard and fast.
A few fun notes about “Walk Like An Egyptian”:
- It was offered to Toni Basil, who turned it down. She must be kicking herself.
- It was the first song performed by an all female band playing their own instruments to hit the #1 spot on the Hot 100.
- It was “deemed inappropriate for airplay” by Clear Channel in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
How does it hold up today? I think the jury is still out on that one. It’s not a song that go back to frequently. There’s no denying that it’s catchy, but when I think of songs from the 80s, it’s pretty far down the list. For sure it was inescapable at the time, but I’m pretty sure “Woolly Bully” was as well back in its day.