Bananarama

On February 23, 2018
19:00 - 22:00
The Danforth Music Hall
147 Danforth Ave.
M4K 1N2, Toronto

Bananarama (formed in 1979) is an English dance, pop, and new wave vocal group that became the most successful girl band on both sides of the Atlantic with a string of Top 10 singles – hailing from London, England.

Prior to the earliest incarnation of Bananarama, Bristol-natives Keren Woodward and Sara Dallin had been friends since the age of four. Dallin subsequently studied fashion journalism in London, which is where she met fellow-student Siobhan Fahey, whom shared her interest in punk-rock. The three soon became a formula for success with the trio performing early impromptu sets at gigs for the likes of The Monochrome Set, Iggy Pop, and The Jam in the late 1970s. By 1981 Bananarama’s members were housed above a rehearsal room used by then-Sex Pistol members Steve Jones and Paul Cook, who helped the group record and release their debut cover single “Aie a Mwana” in 1981.

The single found its way to the to a number of label executives, however Bananarama ultimately signed with Decca Records, whom they remained with until 1993. After hearing their debut single “Aie a Mwana”, Fun Boy Three member Terry Hall invited the trio to contribute vocals to their single “T’ain’t What You Do (It’s the Way That You Do It)”. The single rose to the Top 5 on the UK Singles Chart, and propelled the group to mainstream recognition. The group’s debut full-length album “Deep Sea Skiving” appeared in 1983 and peaked at No. 7 on the UK Albums Chart, led by the Top 5 hit singles “Really Saying Something”, “Shy Boy”, and “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye”. The album also peaked at No. 63 on the U.S. chart, however Bananarama were considered more of a cult band in the States.

The band’s self-titled sophomore album charted at No. 16 on the UK Albums Chart in 1984, however is notably marked by social commentary on drug culture and social apathy among other topics. Spawning the singles “Hotline to Heaven”, “Rough Justice”, “Robert De Niro’s Waiting”, and their U.S. breakthrough single “Cruel Summer”, the record was received favourably by critics. After appearing on the Band Aid single “Do They Know Its Christmas?” in 1984, the group released the single “Do Not Disturb” in 1985 raising the anticipation for their subsequent release.

1986’s “True Confessions”, spawned Bananarama’s international breakthrough single “Venus”, which topped the Billboard Hot 100 upon release. Also finding the top spot in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, and Italy, the record earned the band an unprecedented level of exposure. The full-length “Wow!” followed in 1987, which found notable success in Australia for its Europop sound, following which, due to tensions in the group Fahey left after its release. Fahey went on to become one half of the duo Shakespeare’s Sister, and Bananarama subsequently invited Jacquie O’Sullivan to fill the spot. In 1991 the group released the studio album “Pop Life”, followed by “Please Yourself” in 1993, and “Ultra Violet” in 1995. In 1998 Fahey returned for a special one-off reunion for the cover of the ABBA track “Waterloo”, before Dallin and Woodward released Bananarama’s eighth studio album “Exotica” in 2001.

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