Thursday, June 18, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Bananarama

Album:The Collection

Bananarama is the most successful British girl group of all time and Venus was their only US number one hit. As one familiar with the 1970 original by the Dutch group Shocking Blue, I think Bananarama and producers Stock Aitken Waterman suck the life out of Venus and turn it into just another dance song. But apparently it's a song they really wanted to record and they switched producers because of that. Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward were childhood friends in Bristol, England. They met Siobhan Fahey in 1979 while studying fashion journalism and the three started singing together with punk rock groups. In 1981, former Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook produced the demo Aie a Mwana and Demon Records released it as a single. This got them a record deal with PolyGram's London label. Terry Hall of The Specials saw Bananarama on a magazine cover and had them record T'ain't What You Do with his vocal group Fun Boy Three. It was a top five hit in England. Then they recorded their 1983 debut album Deep Sea Skiving with the production duo of Steve Jolley and Tony Swain. They had success producing the group Imagination and later produced Spandau Ballet. Bananarama had success in England with hits like Shy Boy and a cover of Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye. But success in the US eluded them until Cruel Summer was their first US top ten hit in 1984. It was from their second album Bananarama. They recorded most of their 1986 album True Confessions with Jolley and Swain. Venus was a song they had performed live and the girls really wanted to record it. When Jolley and Swain were resistant to that. Bananarama hired the Stock Aitken Waterman (SAW) production team and Venus topped the Billboard Hot 100. SAW were a very hot dance music production team at the time. It turned Bananarama in a more dance oriented direction because that's the kind of music SAW produced. I'm sure you all remember the video for Venus. Bananarama went on hiatus due to Keren's pregnancy. For their 1987 album Wow!, Bananarama continued to work with SAW and the single I Heard A Rumour was a top five US hit. But the decline of Bananarama began when Siobhan Fahey married Dave Stewart of The Eurythmics and left in 1988. She would later surface as one half of the duo Shakespears Sister. Siobhan also wasn't getting along with the other two who of course had been friends since childhood. She was replaced by Jacquie O'Sullivan and though Bananarama had some hits in England with their next two albums, they certainly weren't as successful as they were previously. Jacquie left in 1991 and Bananarama continued as a duo. They left London Records in 1993. This 2CD comp from Music Club is available at a budget price. Though Bananarama's most recent CD was released in 2009, they were recording new music in 2013 and they still tour in England. Here's the video for Venus by Bananarama.

1 comment:

  1. I loved this band and their video, "Venus". I also thought their video "I heard a a Rumor" was silly and fun to watch. Thanks for the information about this girl group Frank. I did not know so much about them and I liked the history behind Bananarama.