Susanna Hoffs’ playlist
As lead vocalist, guitarist and founding member of the 80s all-girl band The Bangles, Susanna is hugely responsible for the iconic group’s explosive hits “Eternal Flame,” “Manic Monday,” “Hazy Shade of Winter,” “If She Knew What She Wants,” “In Your Room,” and “Walk Like an Egyptian.”
After dominating the billboard charts throughout the 80s, Susanna took on a new decade by launching her solo career with her 1991 album When You’re a Boy.
The success of Susanna’s four records that followed, including 2012’s critically acclaimed Someday and her applauded string of cover albums with Matthew Sweet has made her one of the most enduring female rock musicians to have emerged from the 80s.
Susanna has also left her mark in film with her role in the faux retro-mod band Ming Tea fronted by actor Mike Myer’s alter-ego Austin Powers in the Austin Powers film series.
Despite being an immortal in the music milieu, the star feels only human and no different from any other artist.
“I have the same fears as any musician,” Susanna says. “Like when I embark on a solo project. It’s the wild, wild west out there and artists are very much on their own. It’s always an unfamiliar turf and I have a strong awareness of that. When I have nobody to hide behind like The Bangles or Matthew Sweet I feel quite vulnerable, but the reward is very great when I realize it’s connecting with people.”
That is what Susanna looks for when she listens to music, a deep connection, and she found one with the music of the 60s.
“I have a nostalgia for that decade because I fell in love with that music as a little girl. Bob Dylan, Dusty Springfield, The Beatles and The Stones, I was flooded with those sounds growing up. I never escaped the connection. The 70s and 80s also affected me throughout my life, but I always go back to the 60s. It’s the golden era for me.”
Susanna made this playlist of her favorite artists from that glorious age in music.
She’s a Rainbow – The Rolling Stones
“That opening piano sound and the use of strings. Wow! The Rolling Stones, who we think of as a blues-based rock band, drifted towards and got into Baroque instrumentation which was popular in that time period. The Rolling Stones’ rock sound mixed with baroque flavors, I just love that.”
God Only Knows – The Beach Boys
“From that period of the Beach Boys when Brian Wilson was envisioning these orchestral arrangements. I have tapes that an engineer gave me of him in the studio perfecting all those tracks. Stopping, starting and stopping the players again if they didn’t have it just right. I believe all the music was his head, not on paper or charts. Those arrangements, how specific they are, are sure genius and pure magic.”
Walk Away Renee – The Left Banke
“I always think of The Left Banke as the kings of Baroque pop. I love the use of strings, the harmonies, the sweeping feel and emotional power of this song.”
Wichita Lineman – Glen Campbell
“I love Glenn Campbell. Just such a unique voice.”
The Only Living Boy in New York – Simon & Garfunkel
“Oh Gosh, I love this song so much. I love the arrangement. It has all these great little percussion parts and the background vocals are so airy and atmospheric. You really feel the plane and the flying reference. It’s very epic. I like how people were committed to taking chances in the 60s in terms of arrangement and creating such powerful atmospheric tapestries. It was a really inventive time.”
August 19 – Huntington, NY – The Paramount
August 20 – Philadelphia, PA – Theatre of The Living Arts
August 21 – Washington, DC – Club 9:30
August 23 – Annapolis, MD – Ram’s Head On Stage
August 24 – Annapolis, MD – Ram’s Head On Stage
August 26 – Ridgefield, CT – The Ridgefield Playhouse
August 27 – New York, NY – Irving Plaza
August 28 – Newton, NJ – The Newton Theatre – SOLD OUT