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Bananarama Biography

Home > Music > B > Bananarama > Biography

Birth Place: United Kingdom
Years Active: 1979–present
Genres: Pop, Dance, New Wave

Bananarama are a female pop duo whose career has spanned thirty years. The duo began as a trio in 1982, consisting of lifelong friends Keren Woodward and Sara Dallin in London, England. Woodward and Dallin were friends from the age of four and went to the same school, with Dallin meeting Siobhan Fahey while at college studying fashion journalism. The trio was influenced by punk rock music of the 1970s and when they began singing in and around London they landed impromptu gigs as backing vocalists for bands such as The Monochrome Set, Iggy Pop, The Jam, and The Nipple Erectors.

By 1981, Bananarama were living above the rehearsal space of former Sex Pistols members Steve Jones and Paul Cook. The trio befriended the musicians, who helped Bananarama recorded their first demo “Aie a Mwana.” The demo made its way to Demon Records, who offered the trio a record deal.

Around this time the trio caught the attention of ex-Specials member Terry Hall, who was interested in having Bananarama collaborate with his new group, Fun Boy Three. The result was, “T'ain't What You Do (It's the Way That You Do It)” which peaked within the top five of the U.K. Singles Chart in 1985. This gave Bananarama their first significant mainstream success and exposed the trio to a whole new audience. The trio returned the gestured and invited Fun Boy Three to collaborate with them on their hit single, “Really Saying Something,” later that same year.

The trio hit the height of their success from 1982 to 1989, amassing a string of hit singles. Their debut album, “Deep Sea Skiving” peaked at #7 on the U.K. Pop Album Charts and #63 on the U.S Charts. Bananarama's second offering, “Bananarama” arrived in 1984 and peaked at #16 on the U.K Charts and #30 on the U.S Charts. This album marked the group's social consciousness creeping into their music with tracks about drug use; the album also contained the trio's first big U.S hit, “Cruel Summer,” which was featured in The Karate Kid movie. 1986 saw the release of their third album, “True Confessions,” which spawned the massive hit single, “Venus.” The video for “Venus” received heavy airplay on MTV and helped catapult the band's popularity in the U.S. The trio's fourth album, “Wow!” arrived in 1987 and produced the hit single, “I Heard a Rumour.” Despite the trio's growing success internationally, Fahey left the group due to artist concerns about the musical direction of Bananarama. Fahey also wanted to spend time with her new husband, Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics, and later claimed that she never really felt part of the group and was socially excluded. Fahey would go on to form the successful duo Shakespeare's Sister with Marcella Detroit.

Now a duo, as the musical climate of the 90s turned towards grunge music, Bananarama's music became less popular and out-dated. However, by the 2000s, 80s music was in vogue once again and Bananarama found themselves in demand for public appearances and 80s concerts. 2002 marked the release of a greatest hits album as the trio celebrated, with Fahey, their 20th anniversary at the Astoria in London. 2005 saw Bananarama back on the U.K. Dance Chart with a remix of their hit song, “Really Saying Something.” The duo released a single, “Move in My Direction,” which peaked at #14 on the U.K. Charts that year. The duo continued to tour over the next few years, achieving moderate success on the U.K. Charts and put out two new albums: “Drama” (2005) and “Viva” (2009). 2009 also saw Bananarama perform at the Isle of Wight Festival and the 80s Rewind Festival in Henley-on-Thames alongside Rick Astley, Belinda Carlisle, and Kim Wilde. 2010 saw the duo back in the studio to record a Christmas song, “Baby It's Christmas,” which peaked at #19 on the U.K. Indie Singles Chart. 2011 saw the duo perform at Retrolicious 2011 in Singapore with The Human League and Belinda Carlisle. The duo continues to perform all over the world and is working on new material.