Bananarama

1981-
Sara Dallin1981-
Keren Woodward1981-
Siobhan Fahey1981-1988, 2017-2018
Jacquie O'Sullivan1988-1991
  • Songs
  • Artistfacts ®
  • The London-based pop trio gained traction performing impromptu gigs at small pubs and dance clubs. They connected with ex-Sex Pistols Steve Jones and Paul Cook, who let the fledgling group live above their rehearsal space. Cook produced their first demo, a cover of the 1975 disco song "Aie a Mwana," sung mostly in Swahili.
  • Why Bananarama? "We just wanted a silly name that expressed enjoyment and light heartedness," Dallin explained in a 1987 interview. "Our first single was sung in Swahili, so we thought of something tropical – bananas – and added 'rama' because it sounded silly." They got the idea for 'rama' from the Roxy Music song "Pyjamarama."
  • Their debut album, Deep Sea Skiving, was a hit in the UK, yielding Top 10 entries with "Shy Boy" and a cover of "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye." They broke through in the US with their second album, Bananarama, when the lead single, "Cruel Summer," was featured in the hit movie The Karate Kid.
  • After working with the songwriting/production duo Jolley & Swain for three albums, Bananarama changed course and teamed with Stock, Aitken and Waterman, who had just landed their first #1 with the Dead Alive hit "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)." The producers sexed up the girls' image and helmed their cover of the 1969 Shocking Blue song "Venus," which became an international hit and topped the US pop chart.
  • Post "Venus," the group continued to notch dance-oriented hits in the UK, but Fahey was frustrated at the amount of control the producers had over lyrical content and began to resent her bandmates. She left to form the duo Shakespears Sister with "Lay Down Sally" co-writer Marcella Detroit. "I was massively frustrated at the end with Bananarama," Fahey explained when the Shakespears Sister single "Stay" hit #1. "I felt gagged and bound, even though it did force me to confront the fact that I was really f---ed up. Why? Because I was getting massive exposure for things I didn't feel particularly proud of. There was a lot of guilt there. Maybe that's what keeps me going - I'm looking for absolution."
  • Pop Life is the only Bananarama studio album to feature Jacquie O'Sullivan, though she did re-record Fahey's vocals for the single versions of "I Want You Back" and "Nathan Jones" from the previous album, WOW!
  • After O'Sullivan's departure, Woodward and Dallin continued mostly as a duo until 2017, when Fahey announced she was reuniting with the group.
  • Since 1991, they've held The Guinness Book of World Records entry as the all-female group with the most UK hits.
  • Fahey was married to Dave Stewart of Eurythmics from 1987 to 1996. Woodward has been romantically linked to former Wham! member Andrew Ridgeley since the late '80s.
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