Manic Monday Original
Two Manic Monday Originals
In 1984, Prince wrote “Manic Monday”, anthem of beleaguered office workers everywhere. The song became a breakout hit for American pop group, the Bangles, in 1986. However in 1984, an American trio called Apollonia 6 recorded the “Manic Monday” original. And prior to that, Prince himself recorded an impressive demo that could be considered another “Manic Monday” original.
Prince in 1984
1984 was a good year for Prince. Purple Rain came out. The film and its soundtrack were hugely successful. 1984 was also the year Prince wrote the songs “Nothing Compares 2 U” and “Manic Monday”. He intended that the “Manic Monday” original be a duet between himself and Apollonia, the lead singer of Apollonia 6, on the band’s self-titled debut album.
Prince himself recorded a demo of “Manic Monday”, which later emerged on the 2019 album Originals. The version sung by Prince sounds great, although he did intend the lyrics to be sung by a girl. Even though boys are perfectly entitled to dream about “kissin’ Valentino”, this wasn’t sung about as much in the 80s.
Even though Prince’s “Manic Monday” original is clearly a demo, his singing and the archival footage show what a hard-working genius he was. It was early stages for “Manic Monday” but Prince already had every element planned out. Hence, when we hear the Bangles’ hit two years later, there is little difference between the songs. Prince’s “Manic Monday” is my favourite version of the song. It’s just so damn cute and funky.
Years later, the Bangles’ Susanna Hoffs told the New York Times about how she felt when she heard Prince’s “Manic Monday” original rendition.
I knew it was an incredible gift. It was like putting on the slipper in a fairy tale.”
In the early 80s, Prince assembled a trio of singers called Vanity 6, lead by Denise Matthews (Vanity). However, Vanity clashed with Prince and left the group to pursue a solo career. This meant that there was an opening in both the group Vanity 6 and the female lead role in Purple Rain. Patricia Apollonia Kotero (known as Apollonia) stepped into Vanity’s roles. She joined the two remaining members of Vanity 6, Brenda Bennett and Susan Moonsie. The trio changed their name to Apollonia 6.
Apollonia stated she was most interested in the Purple Rain role and wasn’t fully committed to the band. Prince likewise lost interest in the group and pulled “Manic Monday” from Apollonia 6’s album prior to release. The group stayed together into 1985 and promoted their album, but none of them were interested in producing a follow-up album.
The Apollonia 6 version of “Manic Monday” is musically identical to the Bangles version, although Apollonia’s voice has a huskier sound than that of Bangles vocalist Hoffs. I prefer the sweetness of Hoffs’s voice for a song like this. Also, the Apollonia 6 version is rougher as it’s just a demo, so it’s hard to compare the two versions, but I think Prince made the right choice giving the song to the Bangles.
In 1986, Prince offered “Manic Monday” to the Bangles. He communicated with them using the pseudonym “Christopher”, a character he’d played in the 1986 film Under the Cherry Moon.
The Bangles were an American pop group formed in Los Angeles in 1981. The group’s original members were Hoffs (lead vocals and rhythm guitar), Debbi Peterson (drums and vocals), Vicki Peterson (lead guitar and vocals) and Michael Steele (bass and vocals). They attracted Prince’s attention around 1984: either when they were the opening act for Cyndi Lauper’s 1983-84 Fun Tour or through their MTV video clip for “Hero Takes a Fall”, a single from their 1984 debut studio album All Over the Place.
The Bangles’ Manic Monday
In a 1989 interview with MTV UK, Peterson explained why Prince gave “Manic Monday” to the Bangles.
Prince really liked our first album. He liked the song ‘Hero Takes a Fall’, which is a great compliment, because we liked his music. He contacted us, and said, ‘I’ve got a couple of songs for you. I’d like to know if you’re interested.’ And of course we were. One of the songs Prince brought to the group was ‘Manic Monday’, written under the pseudonym of Christopher.”Debbi Peterson
In January 1986, Columbia Records released the Bangles version of “Manic Monday” as the lead single from their second studio album, Different Light. The catchy tune was easy to sell to MTV and radio, and became the Bangles’ first hit. “Manic Monday” reached number two in the US, UK, Austria, Canada, Germany and Ireland, and peaked within the top five in Australia, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland. It was certified silver in the UK by the British Phonographic Industry and received positive reviews from music critics.
It’s a clever and deceptively simple pop narrative, an infectious pop confection … There is also an excellently written bridge that shows Prince/Christopher to be an excellent craftsman, and, to their credit, the Bangles carry it off with style and wit.”Matthew Greenwald, AllMusic
I think the Bangles’ “Manic Monday” is a cute and catchy pop song. Everything (lyrics, vocals, instrumentals and the video clip) fits together nicely.
Prince joined the Bangles twice on stage to perform “Manic Monday” with them. First in May 1986 at the Warfield Theatre in San Francisco, then in October 1986 at The Palace in Hollywood.
The Bangles’ Hits
The Bangles went on to record several other top-10 hits in the mid-late 80s, including “Walk Like an Egyptian” (1986), “Hazy Shade of Winter” (1987), “In Your Room” (1989) and “Eternal Flame” (1989). The band intended that all four members play an equal part, and all four always appeared on Bangles’ album covers. But as Hoffs sung lead a lot of the major hits like “Manic Monday” and “Eternal Flame”, that intention didn’t work out. The Bangles broke up in 1989.
Billie Joe Armstrong Version
In April 2020, as part of his “No Fun Mondays” corona quarantine series, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong made a video where he performed “Manic Monday” accompanied by Hoffs on guitar. This is a brilliant version, with a touch of Green Day rock. It’s joyful to see two great musicians having so much fun. Armstrong’s dog Lenny takes part too.