Bananarama biography

The most successful British girl-group in pop history, Bananarama formed inLondon in late 1981. Drawing equal inspiration for their name from thechildren’s television program The Banana Splits and the Roxy Music song“Pyjamarama,” the trio comprised lifelong friends Keren Woodward and SarahDallin along with Siobhan Fahey, whom Dallin befriended at the London Collegeof Fashion. After getting their start singing at friends’ parties and atnightclubs (where they performed accompanied by backing tapes — none of the women played their own instruments), they came to the attention of ex-Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook, who produced Bananarama’s first single, a cover ofSwahili Black Blood’s “Aie A Mwana.”

After the group backed Fun Boy Three on the single “It Ain’t What You Do, It’sthe Way You Do It,” the Three returned the favor for 1982’s “He Was ReallySayin’ Somethin’,” a cover of the 1965 Velvelettes song that was the first ofBananarama’s 26 U.K. chart smashes. While their initial hits, including “ShyBoy,” “Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye)” and “Cruel Summer” (their first U.S.smash) were roundly dismissed as fluffy pop fare, the success of 1984’srape-themed release “Robert DeNiro’s Waiting” convinced the group to tacklemore serious topics; however, the follow-up single, “Rough Justice” — a songprotesting political tensions in Northern Ireland — bombed, and the trio’s career stalled.

In 1986, Bananarama’s fortunes improved considerably when they joined forceswith the production team of Stock, Aitken & Waterman, who produced the album Wow!; the group’s most successful outing to date, the LP’s cover of theShocking Blue’s “Venus” was an international chart-topper, and both “Love inthe First Degree” and “I Heard a Rumour” were major hits as well.In 1987, Fahey left the group after marrying Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart; she later resurfaced as one half of the duo Shakespear’s Sister. Woodward and
Dallin, meanwhile, enlisted pal Jacquie O’Sullivan, formerly of the Sheilagh Sisters, to fill the void. After a long layoff, the revamped group teamed with new producer Youth to issue the 1991 album Pop Life, which featured a cover of the Doobie Brothers’ “Long Train Running.” Shortly after the album’s release,O’Sullivan too exited, and Woodward and Dallin forged on as a duo for 1992’s
Please Yourself and 1995’s Ultra Violet. ~ Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide

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