Eternal Flame – The Bangles

THIS DAY IN MUSIC………………………………………………….on April 1st of 1989 The Bangles reach #1 on Billboard with “Eternal Flame”. Bangles lead singer Susanna Hoffs wrote the song with songwriters Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly. Steinberg and Kelly have written many hit songs, including “Like A Virgin” for Madonna, “Alone” for Heart, and “I Touch Myself” for The Divinyls. They also wrote the Bangles’ hit “In Your Room.” There is an Eternal Flame at the gravesite of Elvis Presley in Memphis that inspired this song. When we spoke with Susanna Hoffs, she said: ” I told Billy the story about this official private tour of Graceland the Bangles had been given. The day we were there we were taken out to the Garden of Memories, and there was this little box which was supposed to have a lit flame in it, an eternal flame. Actually, that day it was raining so the flame was not on. That led to Billy saying, “Oh, eternal flame is a good title for a song.” So we crafted the lyrics at Billy’s house and then we took it over to Tom’s studio. I was really thrilled when I had a demo of this somewhat simple, pure, melodic, almost like a lullaby that I came up with.” When Susanna Hoffs played the demo of this song to their producer Davitt Sigerson, he came up with the idea of giving it a Patsy Cline sounds, which an arrangement that he called a “music box.” That’s John Philip Shenale playing those all-important keyboards on this track. He and Susanna Hoffs worked together to get that music box sound they were looking for. Shenale has an impressive discography; some of the albums he played on include Ritual de lo Habitual by Jane’s Addiction, Boys For Pele by Tori Amos, and Charmed Life by Billy Idol. The Bangles broke up soon after this was recorded – Hoffs wanted to pursue a solo career and work on movies. The Bangles have had several reunions since. The song also reached #1 in the UK.