The Lechlade Festival
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The Career of the legendary Bananarama

By Tyler Ody

Today i am planning to take you all back to the 80s as i am looking into the career of Bananarama.

Banananarama started life in the school playground in their hometown of Bristol as members Keren Woodward and Sara Dallin who have been friends since the age of four and the name came form a song called Pyjamarama but added Banana as it sounds Tropical.

Years later they moved to London into the YWCA and made Friends with Siobhan Fahy who had the same Punky style as the other two 

After they were kicked out of the YWCA Paul Cook of The Sex Pistols said they can move above their old rehersal room and Bananarama were formed in September 1980.

A year they released their demo Aie a Mwana in 1981 which caught the ear of Terry Hall an ex member of The Specials to sing on his new vocal gorup Fun Boy Three.

 In 1982 they released a cover It Aint What You Do Its The Way That You Do It later on Fun Boy Three dueted on Bananarama version He was really saying something.

With Help from Steve Jolley and Tony Swain Bananarama released their UK Number 4 hit Shy Boy which was originally called Big Red Motobike but didint like the Lyrics so they decided to change.

Months later they released Cheers Then which went to Number 45 in the UK and released Hes got tact for the Japaneese market.

Febuary 14 1983 Bananarama released a cover of Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye which was Top 5 hit in the UK a month later they released their Debut Album Deep Sea Skiving which went in the charts at Number 7.

June of the same year They released Cruel Summer which peaked at Number 8 in the UK and gave them their first top ten in the USA.

In Febuary of 1984 They released Robert De Niro’s Waiting which Bananarama got the oppertunity meet him after he rang them up and Sara has mentioned in interviews that they were watching Brookside at the time he phoned them and thought it was a joke that Robert De Niro was on the phone and went out for a drink.

The track went in at Number 3 in the UK and is considered to be a favourite. 

Thier Second album Bananarama was released in April 1984 peaking at number 16  three more singles were released Rough Justice, Hotline To Heaven and The Wild Life they dedicated this album to their friend Thomas Kidso Reilly who had sadly been shot by a soilder in belfast.

Christmas of 1984  They featured on Band Aid Do They Know Its Christmas alongside Wham, Sting and Jody Whatley which went into the charts at Number 1 

During 1985 recording began for their third Album and released a Single Do Not Disturb. 

1986 was a busy year for the group as they released a cover of their well known song Venus which was number one in the USA and number 8 in the UK and for the first time they started to work with Stock Aitkin and Waterman.

July of the same year they released their third album True Confessions which went in the UK Chart at Number 46

Two more singles of the album were released Trick of the Night and More than physical during which time Keren gave birth to her son Tom.

June 1987 Bananarama released thier single I Heard a Rumor peaking at number 14 and couple of months later they released thier top 3 hit Love in the first degree.

On 4 September 1987 Bananarama released their fourth album Wow which was entirely produced by Stock Aitkin and Waterman and had two more singles I cant help it which was the last single to feature Siobhan and  I want you back .

Wow peaked at number 26 in the UK.

in 1988 Siobhan left the group by which time she had married Dave Stewert from the Eurthymics and gave birth to their son and was replaced by Jacquie O Sullivan who used to be a in country/punk rockabilly group Shillelagh sisters .

March of the same year they released I want you back first single to feature Jacquie. 

A few months later they released Love Truth and Honesty and a month after they released their Greatest Hits compelation which went to number 3.

November 1988 saw the release of Nathan Jones a cover of the classic Supreems hit.

Bananarama were the official Comic Relife single of 1989 as they released a cover of Help with the help of Lannanneenoonoo who are a parody of the group  consisting of Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders and Kathy Burke which peaked at number 3.

During 1989 they went on a major world tour and re released Cruel Summer 89 and Joined Band Aid 2 which was another number 1 before deciding to enjoy quiet life before going back into the Studio.

13 May 1991 Bananarama released Pop Life which is the only album to feature Jacqie and last one a trio spawned 4 singles Only your love, Preacher man, Long trian running and Tripping on your love. Pop Life peaked at number 42 and marked the end of a trio and with Stock Aitkin and Waterman and due to Sara Dallin giving birth to her daughter around the same time.

Jacquie Left Bananarama after Pop lifes release and carried on as a duo.

During 1992 The group were in the Studios and reunited with Pete Waterman and Mike Stock which released the  1993 album Please Yourself which had 3 singles Movin on, Last thing on my mind and More More More.

Please yourself reached number 46 in the UK and they decided to take a break From the UK market.

Last thing on my mind and Movin On were then coverd By Steps.

From 1995 to 2005 Bananarama only focused on International Markets and released Ultraviolet/I found love in certian terroteries and 2001 release Exotica was only for the french market.

Though in August 2020 Ultraviolet was released in the UK for the first time on Vinyl format .

In 2005 The girls found themselves releasing records on the UK market again after 10 years away and released their album Drama in November of the same year. 

Three singles were released a remix of Really Saying Something and two singles Move in my Direction and Look on the Floor but Drama sadly charted at 169 in the UK

After a few years away In 2009 Bananarama resurfaced with their Album Viva which went into the charts at 87 and two singles were released.

in 2012 to celebrate 30 years A compelation CD/DVD album titled 30 years of Bananarama and around the same time they released an EP titled Now or Never.

April 2017 fans of the girls were in for a treat as Keren and Sara reunited  with Siobhan Fahy and toured throughout 2017/18.

19 April 2019 Bananarama now back as a duo released In Stereo and which the opening track Love in stereo was orginally by Sugababes who later gave it to Bananarama.

Two singles Stuff like that and Looking for Someone were released of the album. It went in the UK charts at 29 but also was number 5 on the UK Indepndant chart.

2020 they released an auto biography called really saying something which was a success and fans form all over the world brought the book.

Bananarama have been in the Guiness World Records as the most sucessful female band worldwide with the most charting singles.

Pete waterman described them awkward girl group to work with and Bananarama got him arretsed after pulling a Boston Hotel fire alarm and told police that he was their dad.

But he went onto say without them we would never have Madonna.

As well as singing and performing they made an appearance on Ready Steady Cook in 2010 in which Keren her cooking is equally Shambollic describing as messy clumsy cook who likes to cook and Sara being oppisitte said she is not a cook.

I think Bananarama are one of the orginal girlbands after the surpremes but as there wernt many female bands in the 80s Bananarama proved girls can provide corkers of hits and paved the way for bands such as Girls Aloud, Spice Girls Destinys Child and All Saints. 

Bananarama have been in the Guiness World Records as the Most Sucsessful Female band Worldwide with the most charting singles

During their time away Keren got together with Andrew Ridgely of Wham and he became stepfather to her son Tom and in 1994 left the bright lights of London Town and relocated to Cornwall. In 2017 Keren and Andrew sadly Split up after 27 years.

Sara remained in London with her Daughter Alice who is now a singer/songwriter and occaisinally does back up vocals for Bananarama.

Now based in Los Angeles  Siobhan Fahy went on to form Shakespear Sister with Marchella Detroit who had hits such as Goodby cruel world, Hello Turn your radio on and the UK number 1 Stay.

Siobhan carried on her own with Shakespear Sister after Marchella left and gave birth to her second son but sadly her marrrige to Dave Stewart ended in the 90s 

After Jacquie O Sullivan left Bananarama she went to form the band Slippery Feet  and reunited with Shillelagh Sisters but when not singing She is a Yoga instructor, Level 2 Certified Reiki Teacher and Massage threapist based in Bloomsbury London.

I would like to see them as a trio again either with Jacquie or Siobhan and release an album or a tour as trio again would be amazing for us fans.

Bananrama have a huge fanbase some being just for the 80s and some following all their eras such as myself.

Lot of the fans liked their image from DIY outfits and having no stylist from the 80s as it was very cool and eunique for the time. 

 

  • The Career of the legendary Bananarama

    Bananarama line up 1 Keren Sara and Siobhan

  • The Career of the legendary Bananarama

    Bananarama second line up Sara Keren and Jacquie

  • The Career of the legendary Bananarama

    More than Physical single cover

  • The Career of the legendary Bananarama

    Tripping on Your Love single cover