Bananarama

  • British female pop and dance music group, formed in 1981 from London England. Members are Sara Dallin (vocals, bass guitar), Siobhan Fahey (vocals, guitar, bass guitar, keyboards) and Keren Woodward (vocals, bass guitar).
  • Woodward and Dallin were childhood friends, first meeting at the age of 4. Fahey met Dallin in 1979 while studying fashion journalism, and the 3 became friends. They were followers of punk rock and post-punk, and they often performed backing vocals for local punk rock groups at gigs. In 1981, they were living above the rehersal studio formerly used by members of the Sex Pistols. They helped the women make a demo tape of the song Aie a Mwana, sung in Swahili. The demo was heard by a record company, who signed them to a deal, and the song became an undergroud hit.
  • In 1982, they cut 2 singles in collaboration with the new wave band Fun Boy Three. The songs were top 5 songs in the UK. This led to their debut album in 1983 – Deep Sea Skiving. It reached #7 in the UK, and #63 in the U.S. The singles were more popular in the UK, though 2 songs were popular at dance clubs in the U.S. – Shy Boy and Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye. 
  • Their second album, 1984’s Bananarama, scored their first hit in the U.S. – Cruel Summer. The song initially was not very successful, but its popularity soared when it was included in the film The Karate Kid. It reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
  • Their third album was their best seller. True Confessions was released in 1986, and it included their only #1 hit in the U.S., Venus – a remake of the 1969 Shocking Blue song. The music video received heavy airplay on MTV, and was a shift towards a more glamorous, sexy style instead of the tomboy-look they used previously.
  • Bananarama’s next album was their last to have singles that charted in the U.S. Wow! was released in 1987 – it contained the single I Heard A Rumour, which peaked at #4 on the Hot 100.
  • In 1984, and again in 1989, they performed as part of the charity supergroup Band Aid, which was founded by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise money for anti-famine efforts in Ethiopia. Their song Do They Know It’s Christmas, released in 1984, reached #1 throughout Europe, and #13 in the U.S. A new version in 1989 was not as successful, though it reached #1 in the UK. Bananarama were the only artists that performed on both versions.
  • Fahey left the group in 1988, and was replaced with Jacquie O’Sullivan. O’Sullivan left in 1991, and Bananarama performed as a duo until 2017, when Fahey rejoined the group for their current concert tour.
  • Six studio albums were released between 1991 and 2009. During this period, their music evolved to a dance-pop sound, and several songs were popular in dance clubs. The song Look At The Floor (Hypnotic Tango) peaked at #2 on the Hot Dance Club Play chart, strictly due to play of the import single at clubs – rare for a song that was not even released in the U.S.
  • All-girl groups were very popular in the 40s and 50s, and again in the 90s to today. There were very few in the 70s (mostly disco groups), and in the 80s, only 5 or so groups were popular. Bananarama managed to be one of them. I liked Cruel Summer more than Venus (because I happen to really like Shocking Blue’s version more), so here’s the video to Cruel Summer.

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