Eternal Flame - Bangles

Eternal Flame – The Bangles | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop(#1) & Adult Contemporary; 1989

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

Formed in Los Angeles in 1981, the Supersonic Bangs included sisters Vicki (lead guitar) and Debbi (drums) Peterson, Susanna Hoffs (guitar), and Annette Zilinskas (bass). As The Bangs, they released the 45 Getting Out Of Hand b/w Call On Me before changing their name to avoid legal conflicts with another band. Michael Steele, who’d previously played with the pioneering proto-punk Runaways, took over at bass in 1984, and in 1985 the Bangles Beatlesque All Over The Place LP hit the streets. Two years later Manic Monday moved to #2. Other hits followed and things were looking great for the foursome. However, Susanna’s big screen appearance in The Allnighter coupled with increasing media focus on the pouty brunette stirred up group tensions. Hoffs – inspired by a memorial to Elvis she’d seen at Graceland – helped pen the group’s ironically titled chart-topping single. By year’s end, all that remained of the Bangles was their own vinyl Eternal Flame.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Davitt Sigerson

Lyrics Written by:

  • Susanna Hoffs
  • Billy Steinberg


  • The song “Eternal Flame” won the ASCAP Pop Music Award for Most Performed Song in 1990
  • The Bangles received the She Rocks Awards for Lifetime Achievement in 2015