Bananarama is an English female pop group who have had success on the pop and dance charts since 1982. Although there have been line-up changes, the group enjoyed their most popular success as a trio made up of lifelong friends Siobhan Fahey, Keren Woodward and Sara Dallin. Since 1988, Bananarama have been listed in the Guinness World Records as the all-female group with the most chart entries.
Bananarama were founded in London in 1979 by Fahey, Woodward and Dallin. The trio were ardent followers of the punk rock and post-punk music scene during the late 1970s and early 1980s and often performed impromptu sets or backing vocals at gigs for such bands as The Monochrome Set, Iggy Pop, The Jam, Department S and The Nipple Erectors. Bananarama were approached by Malcolm McLaren, manager of the Sex Pistols, Adam and the Ants and Bow Wow Wow, who suggested he manage the group but they passed.
Bananarama experienced their greatest success during the period 1982 to 1989, with their first three albums. Their debut album, Deep Sea Skiving contained several hit singles, "He Was Really Sayin' Somethin'" and "Shy Boy" and a cover version of "Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye)". The band recorded a version of the Sex Pistols' song "No Feelings" in late 1982 for the soundtrack of the British film, Party Party.
The next album, Bananarama was a more socially conscious effort, with the songs tackling heavier topics: "Hot Line to Heaven" is a stand against the drugs-are-cool culture; and "Rough Justice" deals with social apathy. The album contained the hit singles, "Robert De Niro's Waiting", and their first U.S. Top 10 hit, "Cruel Summer", which was included in the movie The Karate Kid. The trio also recorded the single, "The Wild Life" for a 1984 American film of the same name.
Bananarama was one of the few female groups featured on the Band Aid single, "Do They Know It's Christmas?" and were the only artists to appear on both the original 1984 Band Aid and the 1989 versions. They did not participate in 2004's twentieth anniversary version.
In 1986, the album True Confession was released and resulted in the international number one hit, "Venus", a remake of Shocking Blue's number one hit from 1970. The music video for "Venus" received heavy airplay on MTV in the United States and marked a pivotal shift towards a more glamorous and sexual image, which contrasted with the tomboyish style of their earlier work. It was also the start of their use of toy-boys as backup dancers, which would become a hallmark of their videos.
Their next album, 1987's Wow!, graduated towards dance-oriented Europop. "I Heard a Rumour" was their strongest performing international hit from this album. In the U.S., the song was featured in the motion picture, Disorderlies. "Love in the First Degree" was one of their biggest UK hits, and the disco-oriented "I Can't Help It" was a minor hit.
In early 1988, Fahey left the group as she had become disillusioned with the direction the band was taking. She would later resurface in the pop duo Shakespears Sister with Marcella Detroit. In Fahey's absence, Jacquie O'Sullivan joined the ranks. The single "I Want You Back" was re-recorded with O'Sullivan, as was The Supremes cover "Nathan Jones". "Love, Truth and Honesty" was released as a single from their 1988 retrospective compilation, Greatest Hits Collection. In 1989, the band toured for the first time.
Bananarama's 1991 album, Pop Life, saw the group incorporate a wider range of musical genres including reggae, flamenco guitar, and acid house. After the release of the fourth and final single from the album, however, O'Sullivan left the band to form the short-lived Slippery Feet.
In 1993, Dallin and Woodward returned as a duo with a new album called Please Yourself, which was a regression to their previous Eurodisco sound In 1995, Ultra Violet (titled "I Found Love" in Japan), was released. The album and its two singles "Every Shade of Blue" and "Take Me to Your Heart" were only released in some European countries, North America, Japan and Australia, and not in Britain.
In 1998, Dallin and Woodward covered the ABBA track "Waterloo" together with Fahey for the Eurovision celebration A Song for Eurotrash on Channel 4. In 2001, they released the album Exotica. Only two promotional singles would be released from the album, one of which was a cover of Wham!'s ballad "Careless Whisper".
In 2002, Bananarama released another greatest hits album, The Very Best of Bananarama, in the UK. Drama was released in the U.S. in 2006 and after a fourteen year absence, Bananarama was back on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play and the Hot Dance Airplay charts with an import version of "Look on the Floor (Hypnotic Tango)". "Look on the Floor" became their first U.S. hit since 1992, when they scored with "Tripping on Your Love".
Bananarama released a new single entitled Love Comes, and a new album Viva in September 2009. A second single was released from the album in April 2010, a new remix of the song "Love Don't Live Here".