Wednesday, April 18, 2012

That Little English 80s' Group Called "Bananarama" Remember them?

Debut and following success (1982–1988)
Bananarama experienced their greatest success during the period 1982 to 1989, with their first three albums primarily produced and co-written with Jolley & Swain. Their debut album, Deep Sea Skiving (UK #7, US #63) (1983) contained several hit singles — "He Was Really Sayin' Somethin'" (UK #5) and "Shy Boy" (UK #4) — and included a cover version of "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" (UK #5). The band recorded a version of the Sex Pistols' song "No Feelings" in late 1982 for the soundtrack of the British film, Party Party.
In December, 1983, the trio made inarguably their most famous British TV appearance on the BBC's popular entertainment magazine program, Show Business, [4] in which they screamed in unison at the camera that they "loved" and "wanted" cult London pirate radio comedian Mark Gould for Christmas.
The next album, Bananarama (UK #16, US #30) (1984) was a more socially conscious effort. The group wanted to be taken more seriously, so wrote songs that tackled heavier topics: "Hot Line to Heaven" is a stand against the drugs-are-cool culture; and "Rough Justice" deals with social apathy. The album contained the hit singles, "Robert De Niro's Waiting," and their first U.S. Top 10 hit, "Cruel Summer" (1983), which was included in the movie The Karate Kid. The trio also recorded the single, "The Wild Life" for a 1984 American film of the same name.
Bananarama was one of the few female groups featured on the Band Aid single, "Do They Know It's Christmas?," and were the only artists to appear on both the original 1984 Band Aid, and the 1989, Band Aid II versions, with Siobhan Fahey only featured on the 1984 version. They did not, however, participate in 2004's Band Aid 20 twentieth anniversary version.
1986 saw the release of the True Confessions (UK #46, US #15) on which some production duties were taken up by Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman known as Stock Aitken Waterman (SAW). The move resulted in the international number one hit, "Venus," (a remake of Shocking Blue's number one hit from 1970). The dance-oriented beats on the song typified the SAW approach to pop production. Bananarama were said to have been put in contact with SAW after hearing and expressing a fondness for "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" by Dead or Alive. After its worldwide success, Venus has beomce the group's signature song. Also in 1986, Dallin and Woodward were featured as backing vocalists on two songs on Family Album, produced by John Lydon.
The music video for "Venus" received heavy airplay on MTV in the United States. It featured the group in various costumes including a devil, a French temptress, a vampire and a Greek goddess. The video marked a pivotal shift towards a more glamorous and sexual image, which contrasted with the tomboyish style of their earlier work. It was also the start of their use of toy-boys as backup dancers, which would become a hallmark of their videos.
In the wake of the success of "Venus," all production and co-writing responsibilities for their next album, 1987's Wow!, (UK #26, US #44) were transferred from Jolley & Swain to SAW, under whom the group's sound graduated towards dance-oriented Europop.
"I Heard a Rumour" was their strongest performing international hit from this album. In the U.S., the song was featured in the motion picture, Disorderlies, starring The Fat Boys and Ralph Bellamy. "Love in the First Degree" was one of their biggest UK hits, and the disco-oriented "I Can't Help It" (which boasted a semi-controversial video featuring the group in a milk bath filled with fruit and half-naked men) was a minor hit.
By the time the third single from Wow! was released in early 1988, Fahey — who had married Eurythmics' Dave Stewart — left the group as she had become disillusioned with the direction the band was taking. She was also feeling socially excluded by the other two members, who had 'been best friends a lot longer', and whom, she says, were 'no longer inviting her out with them'.[5]. She would later resurface in the pop duo Shakespears Sister with Marcella Detroit.


  1. Love these girls. They are performing in Dubai at the moment and you can follow them on twitter. Your post has insrpired me to finish and post my own article at the80srocks. Been a bit lazy. Did you know "Venus" is still their biggest hit. Goes to show that there is nothing wrong with a good cover.

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