Synopsis of Pop Music
“It's a cruel,
Leaving me here on my own…”
By the early 1980’s, girl groups were essentially a thing of the past. However, Bananarama managed to successfully revive and update this classic style of pop music. Their combination of girl-group-styled songs and harmonies with a slick, up-to-date production style gave them several hits around the world during the 80’s. In the process, they carved out a niche for themselves between solo artists like Cyndi Lauper and Madonna.
The members of Bananarama began the group as a hobby during their college days, performing at friends' parties and clubs at night. They soon began recording after attracting the attention of members of The Sex Pistols and Fun Boy Three through their live work. They scored their first major hits in England with Motown cover “He Was Really Saying Something” and “Shy Boy,” an original tune. These hits cleverly mixed three-part harmonies harkening back to the days of The Angels and The Crystals with a modernized production style built on synthesizers and drum machines.
In 1984, Bananarama scored a Top-10 hit in America with “Cruel Summer,” a teenage-loneliness lament that was built on a funky guitar riff and Caribbean-sounding percussion. It was prominently featured in the hit film The Karate Kid and also had a video featuring the trio doing one of their patented synchronized dance routines. The group also did the theme song for The Wild Life, an unofficial sequel to Fast Times At Ridgemont High, that year. A song called “Robert DeNiro’s Waiting” became a radio favorite around this time and led to a meeting with the famous actor mentioned in the title.
Bananarama scored their biggest hit in 1986 with “Venus,” a techno-influenced cover of a 1970’s #1 hit by the Danish rock group The Shocking Blue. Like its predecessor, it went to #1 on the pop chart. The group’s True Confessions album was also a major success that year, which the group followed up with 1987's Wow! album and another Top-5 hit in “I Heard A Rumour.” Siobhan Fahey left the group in 1988, the same year that Bananarama released their Greatest Hits Collection album.
Dallin and Woodward continued on under the Bananarama banner with new co-vocalist Jacqui O'Sullivan, while Fahey formed Shakespeare’s Sister with Marcella Detroit, a former backup singer for Eric Clapton. That duo had a Top-5 American hit in 1992 with “Stay.” This song was produced by Euryhthmics member Dave Stewart, who also happened to be Fahey’s husband. Meanwhile, Bananarama (sans O'Sullivan, who left in '91) scored a worldwide hit with a revival of the 70’s disco classic “More, More, More” in 1993.
Bananarama continue to record and perform at clubs around the world today. Their mixture of girl-group harmonies and dance-club style set the trend for modern girl-groups like En Vogue and TLC, and classics like “Cruel Summer” and “Venus” will continue to be favorites at discos for years to come.
Artist Release History1983 - Deep Sea Skiving
1984 - Bananarama
1986 - True Confessions
1987 - Wow
1988 - Greatest Hits Collection
1991 - Pop Life
1994 - Bunch of Hits
1996 - Ultra Violet
1999 - Master Series
1999 - Greatest Hits
Pop Sub Categoriespop
Essential Music AlbumsGreatest Hits Collection (Sire)
Band MembersSarah Dallin vocals
Keren Woodward vocals
Siobhan Fahey vocals (1981-88)
Jacqui O'Sullivan vocals (1988-91)