The Bangles - Hazy Shade of Winter (1987)
- 80's score: 1.53
"A Hazy Shade of Winter" is a song by American music duo Simon & Garfunkel, released on October 22, 1966, initially as a ...
"A Hazy Shade of Winter" is a song by American music duo Simon & Garfunkel, released on October 22, 1966, initially as a stand-alone single, but subsequently included on the duo's fourth studio album, Bookends (1968). It peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In 1987, The Bangles were approached to record a song for the soundtrack of the film Less Than Zero. They chose to record a cover of "A Hazy Shade of Winter", which they had been performing live since at least as far back as March 1983.
Their cover, retitled "Hazy Shade of Winter", was a harder-edged rock song that removed most of the bridge section. The record, like the rest of the soundtrack album, was produced by Rick Rubin. After a fruitful but disappointing experience with David Kahne, the producer of their album Different Light (where they were given little input in the production of the songs), the group decided to take more control for the recording of this song, and they were given an additional producer credit. Michael Steele later commented that "we sounded the most on this record the way we actually sound live", and "If we hadn't been so messed up as a band, it could have been a turning point for us."
Lead vocals were performed jointly by all four members of the group, with a short solo led by Susanna Hoffs towards the end. This was a rare occurrence in The Bangles songs, as they mostly had just one member singing lead. Due to pressure from their record label, The Bangles removed the verse from the original song that contained the line "drinking my vodka and lime". According to liner notes on the Soundtrack album, Steve Bartek from the band Oingo Boingo played acoustic guitar on the track.
When released as a single in November 1987, "Hazy Shade of Winter" became a huge hit, surpassing the popularity of the original version, peaking at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, behind Tiffany's "Could've Been", and also number 11 in the UK. It was also a hit around Europe.
The music video (the first for future country music video director Jim Shea) showed the group singing in a studio surrounded by television screens on the walls, similar to a scene from the film Less Than Zero, from which other scenes appear throughout the video.
"Hazy Shade of Winter" was not included on any of the group's studio albums, but later appeared on their first official Greatest Hits in 1990, and on many of their subsequent compilations. The accompanying video compilation for Greatest Hits did not include the promo for "Hazy Shade of Winter", due to complications with the licensing of the movie rights of the scenes from Less Than Zero that appear within the video clip.
The song appears during season 1, episode 2 of the Netflix series Stranger Things, and episode 9 of The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.