most successful British girl-group in pop history, Bananarama
formed in London in late 1981. Drawing equal inspiration for their
name from the children's television program The Banana Splits
and the Roxy Music song "Pyjamarama," the trio comprised
lifelong friends Keren Woodward and Sarah Dallin along with Siobhan
Fahey, whom Dallin befriended at the London College of Fashion.
After getting their start singing at friends' parties and at nightclubs
(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 of Swahili Black Blood's "Aie A Mwana."
the group backed Fun Boy Three on the single "It Ain't What
You Do, It's the Way You Do It," the Three returned the favor
for 1982's "He Was Really Sayin' Somethin'," a cover
of the 1965 Velvelettes song that was the first of Bananarama's
26 U.K. chart smashes. While their initial hits, including "Shy
Boy," "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's rape-themed release "Robert
DeNiro's Waiting" convinced the group to tackle more serious
topics; however, the follow-up single, "Rough Justice"
a song protesting political tensions in Northern Ireland
bombed, and the trio's career stalled.
1986, Bananarama's fortunes improved considerably when they joined
forces with 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 the Shocking Blue's "Venus"
was an international chart-topper, and both "Love in the
First Degree" and "I Heard a Rumour" were major
hits as well.
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.