If you thought that The Bangles were the biggest all-girl band of the 1980s think again. It was a 3-girl all-girl pop band from England that was the biggest girl power statement of the 1980s and their legacy is so powerful that their songs are heard and loved even today. This band is Bananarama, formed in 1980 in London and comprising of friends Sara Dallin, Keren Woodward, and Siobhan Fahey. All three girls were struggling to make both ends meet but had an enormous passion for music and decided to form a band. They took their name from a Roxy Music song “Pyjamarama” and being inspired by the punk rock and post-punk music of the late 1970s and early 1980s they started making music of their own. Their debut album Deep Sea Skiving yielded a few hits and they made a big ripple in the USA. With their talent, musical ambitions, diversity in music, and good looks Bananarama garnered attention everywhere they went and their music started winning fans on both sides of the Atlantic. The record industry was anticipating a big success soon as it was obvious that the three girls Sara Dallin, Keren Woodward, and Siobhan Fahey were hugely talented and hard-working.
Time for Some Serious Growing Up
In 1983 Bananarama started working on their second album. After the pop confetti that largely made up their debut album but was hugely infectious the band decided to tackle some serious subjects in their follow-up album. The girls had become more introspective after having seen success despite being in dire straits before and this experience made them more thoughtful and wiser. They wanted their second album to be a more socially conscious effort and focus on topics that meant more than just 4 minutes of danceable fun. After having appeared on the epic Band Aid single “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” they had a clear idea of what they wanted to do in their music now. After months of hard work and a multitude of new musical ideas laid on vinyl, Bananarama released their second album titled Bananarama on April 21, 1984, and it was a success right from the word go. In a few weeks people especially girls were dancing and singing along to the catchy and exciting new songs on their self-titled album Bananarama. It was the beginning of girl power in the music kingdom even though The Bangles and Madonna were not yet on the scene.
Loaded with Unforgettable & Emotional Pop Songs
The biggest hit on Bananarama is the all-time classic lament of a hard to endure summer season, the heart-rending “Cruel Summer.” This song became immortal after it was included in the soundtrack of the inspiring teen classic The Karate Kid and there is no count of how many teenagers and even adults have been motivated by this song. “Cruel Summer” captures the loneliness and helplessness of an individual even as he or she is battling all the unsurmountable problems in their life. The song is a friend when it feels that the whole world has closed its doors and windows on you. On “State I’m in” Bananarama shares how it feels when one is heartbroken even as the person you want is unable to fathom what emotional trauma you are going through. It’s an honest confession of one’s emotional distress when the heart is crying out because the person who can truly understand its feelings is simply callous and refuses to do so. It’s an acknowledgment that the girl is better off alone than in a hurtful relationship with an uncaring lover.
“Rough Justice” is the most serious song on the album and talks about all the social problems and unfairness that the three girls personally experienced when they were growing up. That all these problems were widespread only made “Rough Justice” a very relevant and important song of its time and ever since. Bananarama talks about domestic violence, the power of big money and influence, the desperation and sadness of daily life, starvation, and poverty that surround urban life. They affirm that they will do something about it and they have by putting the spotlight on these uncomfortable issues that almost always get swept under the carpet.
What Some Girls Really Want!
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The most infectious and melodious song on the album is “Robert De Niro’s Waiting” and it’s the band’s unabashed and girlish tribute to arguably the greatest actor that Hollywood has ever seen. Robert De Niro is of Italian origin and he has always been liked by intelligent women all over the cinema-loving world and on this song Bananarama tells how they adore him and how he is an escape from the hurtful guys of the world. It’s an intelligent and unforgettable piece of pop culture that shows how cerebral and fun-loving the girls of Bananarama are. “Through a Child’s Eyes” talks about the innocence of the time gone by as experienced in childhood and the unbearable sadness that those happy days will never come back again. The passing of time is always a painful experience and this song captures all the darkness that accompanies it.
Songs like “Dream Baby” and “Hot Line to Heaven” round off an album that is full of infectious pop songs, catchy music, intelligent lyrics, harmonious and sweet vocals, and positivity that simply radiates on every note of the music. When one finishes listening to Bananarama one is ready to take on the world with renewed enthusiasm.
Forging a Clear Path for Future Female Pop Singers
The 1980s simply refuse to go away. The music of that joyous decade has been around for a while and threatens to eclipse what is being created today. Bananarama was one of the biggest pop bands of that decade and with their continued success in the 1990s and even 2000s, they have cemented their place as one of the most iconic bands of all time. The music industry is flooded with young female pop singers today but they all owe a gigantic debt to Bananarama who cut a clear path through the thorny thicket in the music world way back in the 1980s. It’s Bananarama’s brave and innovative music that has made it possible for female pop singers of latter years to have successful careers in this field. With their second album, Bananarama made it big in the UK, America, and other countries and proved why these three girls from London were the pioneers and stars of the pop firmament. Thanks to Bananarama the 1980s will never go away!