Bananarama

Bananarama was an English vocal trio that released a string of singles in 1981 and 1982, including two with Specials-spinoff trio Fun Boy Three. Between 1983 and 1987, Bananarama released four albums on Decca-subsidiary London.

Members: Keren Woodward (vocals), Sara Dallin (vocals), Siobhan Fahey (vocals, 1979-88, 2017-present), Jacquie O’Sullivan (vocals, 1988-91)


Bananarama formed in September 1980 in London, where Bristol-born childhood friends Keren Woodward and Sara Dallin met fashion major Siobhan Fahey.


“Aie a Mwana”

In September 1981, Bananarama debuted with the single “Aie a Mwana” on Demon Records.

A. “Aie a Mwana” (3:48) originated as “Aieaoa” on the 1971 French funk-psych album Le Monde fabuleux des Yamasuki by Yamasuki, a project of French–Belgian writer–producers Daniel Vangarde and Jean Kluger. In 1975, the Vangaurde-associated Afro-funk group Black Blood recorded the song as “A.I.É. (A Mwana).”

B. “Dubwana” (3:38) is a dub version of “Aie a Mwana.”


1982


“It Aint What You Do It’s the Way That You Do It”

Bananarama back Fun Boy Three on the single “It Aint What You Do It’s the Way That You Do It,” released on February 5, 1982, on Chrysalis.

A. “It Aint What You Do It’s the Way That You Do It” (2:48) originated as a 1939 American jazz-vocal song by trumpeter Melvin “Sy” Oliver and trombonis James “Trummy” Young; first recorded in 1939 by Jimmie Lunceford & His Orchestra (vocals by James Young) and soon covered by Chick Webb & His Orchestra (vocals by Ella Fitzgerald) and “Fats” Waller & His Rhythm.

B. “The Funrama Theme” (2:56) “Funrama” is a portmanteau of the two group names.

“It Aint What You Do It’s the Way That You Do It” — billed as Fun Boy Three with Bananarama — is the second single for both trios. It appears on the March 1982 Chrysalis release The Fun Boy Three, the first of two albums by the male group.


“Really Saying Something”

Bananarama released their second Fun Boy Three collaboration, “Really Saying Something (He Was Really Sayin’ Somethin’),” on April 9, 1982, on Chrysalis. FB3 take second-billing on this a-side.

A. “Really Saying Something” (2:45) originated as “He Was Really Saying Something” — a December 1964 VIP–Motown a-side by The Velvelettes; co-written by producer Norman Whitfield and Motown staff writers William “Mickey” Stevenson and Edward Holland, Jr.

B. “Give Us Back Our Cheap Fares” (4:24)

“Really Saying Something” reached No. 5 on the UK Singles Chart.


“Shy Boy”

Bananarama released their fourth single, “Shy Boy,” on June 25, 1982, on London Records.

A. “Shy Boy” (3:16)
B. “Don’t Call Us” (3:00)


“He’s Got Tact”

In October 1982, Bananarama released “He’s Got Tact” on the Japanese branch of London Records (b/w “Give Us Back Our Cheap Fares”).

A. “He’s Got Tact” (2:57)


“Cheers Then”

On December 3, 1982, Bananarama released their fifth UK single: “Cheers Then” backed with “Girl About Town.”

A. “Cheers Then” (3:31)
B. “Girl About Town” (3:28)


1983

Bananarama covered “No Feelings by the Sex Pistols for the soundtrack to Party Party, a 1983 British house-party comedy.


“Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye”

In February 1983, Bananarama released their sixth proper single: “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” backed with “Tell Tale Signs.”

A. “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” (3:30)
B. “Tell Tale Signs” (3:08)


Deep Sea Skiving

Bananarama released their debut album, Deep Sea Skiving, on March 7, 1983 on London Records. Side One gathers the 1982 a-sides “Really Saying Something,” “Shy Boy,” and “Cheers Then” with the Paul Weller donation “Doctor Love” and the group-written “What a Shambles.”

Side Two contains their first a-side (“Aie a Mwana”) and the recent “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye,” plus two group originals (“Boy Trouble,” “Wish You Were Here”) and co-writes between the trio and Bluebells guitarist Robert Hodgens (“Young at Heart”) and producer Barry Blue (“Hey Young London”).

1. “Shy Boy” (3:16)
2. “Doctor Love” (3:42)
3. “What a Shambles” (3:34)
4. “Really Saying Something” (2:45)
5. “Cheers Then” (3:31)

6. “Aie a Mwana” (3:36)
7. “Young at Heart” (3:13)
8. “Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye)” (3:30)
9. “Hey Young London” (3:55)
10. “Boy Trouble” (3:14)
11. “Wish You Were Here” (3:41)

Technical
John Mackswith, Squid Palmer – engineer
Peter Barrett – design
Bay Hippisley – photography

UK Albums (OCC) 7


“Cruel Summer”

On July 1, 1983, Bananarama released “Cruel Summer.”

A. “Cruel Summer” (3:35)
B. “Summer Dub” ()

South Africa (Springbok Radio) 3
Ireland (IRMA) 7
UK Singles (OCC) 8
US Billboard Hot 100 9 


1984–1985


Bananarama

Bananarama released their self-titled second album on April 21, 1984, on London Records. It contains the recent a-side “Robert De Niro’s Waiting” and six further co-writes between the trio and producers Steve Jolley and Tony Swain, including the followup singles “Rough Justice,” “Hot Line to Heaven,” and the latter’s b-side “Hot Line to Heaven.” The album opens with their summer 1983 hit “Cruel Summer,” which became their breakthrough US hit in the summer of 1984.

1. “Cruel Summer” (3:35)
2. “Rough Justice” (5:07)
3. “King of the Jungle” (3:28)
4. “Dream Baby” (3:01) is a co-write between B-Movie keyboardist Rick Holliday and Soft Cell associate Cindy Ecstasy.
5. “Link” (1:31)

6. “Hot Line to Heaven” (7:19)
7. “State I’m In” (2:48)
8. “Robert De Niro’s Waiting…” (3:43)
9. “Through a Child’s Eyes” (3:40)

Recorded April 1983–February 1984

Tony Swain – producer, arranger, composer
Steve Jolley – producer, arranger, composer
Howie Weinberg at Masterdisk – mastering

Da Gama/Rama – art design
Peter Ashworth – photography

Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade) 9
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100) 15
Zimbabwean Albums (ZIMA) 15
UK Albums (OCC) 16

Feb 1984
A. “Robert De Niro’s Waiting”
B. “Push!” ()

May 1984
A. “Rough Justice”
B. “Live Now” ()

Oct 1984
A. “Hot Line to Heaven”
B. “State I’m In”


“Do Not Disturb”

In August 1985, Bananarama released their eleventh UK single: “Do Not Disturb” backed with “Ghost.”

A. “Do Not Disturb” ()
B. “Ghost” ()


Discography:

  • “Aie A Mwana” / “Dubwana” (1981)
  • “T’Aint What You Do …” / “The Funrama Theme” (1982 • The Fun Boy Three With Bananarama)
  • “Really Saying Something” / “Give Us Back Our Cheap Fares” (1982 • Bananarama & Fun Boy Three)
  • Deep Sea Skiving (1983)
  • Bananarama (1984)
  • True Confessions (1986)
  • Wow! (1987)

Sources:

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