Before the Spice Girls became the most successful female pop group in British chart history, there were eighties legends Bananarama. The trio rolled out hit after hit in a blaze of big hair, dungarees and slogan t-shirts, paving the way for the girl groups with attitude that saturated the nineties and noughties.
And now, after 30 years apart, they’ve got the band back together.
Sara Dallin, Siobhan Fahey and Keren Woodward have put aside the differences that led to Fahey leaving the group in 1988 (she went on to form Shakespears Sister) and are set to tour the UK across 15 dates this winter.
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Despite being the biggest girl band of the eighties and selling 40 million records with hits including Cruel Summer, Robert De Niro's Waiting and I Heard A Rumour, the group’s original line-up has never actually toured together.
“This is the first time we've performed live together - with the exception of getting onstage with a cassette when we were 18,” Woodward, 56, told the Chris Evans Breakfast Show.
Fahey, 58, admitted that she thought a reunion would never happen: “I was really touched because it wasn't for any other reason than we love each other and really loved what we did. These were my formative years.”
Dallin, 55, and Woodward have been friends since they were five years old, meeting at primary school in Bristol. Fahey, who is from Dublin, met the pair through Dallin when they were studying journalism together at the London College of Fashion.
Despite the band’s relative longevity (nine years together, seven in the public eye), Bananarama rose to fame in a crowded marketplace of phenomenal tunes and battled a reputation of “disposable pop”.
But their self-described “shambolic” image, offbeat (literally) dance moves and unusual format of having three vocalists, along with a punky, don’t-care attitude, won over the British public before the band went on to break America.
The group’s split in 1988 was big and messy. Fahey wanted the band to pursue a weightier style after becoming “obsessed” with The Smiths.
“It was a combination of the fact that, musically, we’d gone absolutely full-on pop, at a time when I was feeling lost and dark and depressed in my life,” she told The Guardian.
The women did not even speak to each other again for 10 years and it wasn’t until a recent get-together that they brought up the possibility of the reunion many thought would never happen.
What you may not know about Bananarama:
- The band’s name is a mix of Roxy Music song Pyjamarama and kids TV show The Banana Splits
- Unlikely fans include The Prodigy, The Cult, Judas Priest, The Deftones and Rick Ross, according to The Guardian
- Both Woodward and Fahey married fellow musicians – Woodward’s husband is Wham! star Andrew Ridgeley, while Fahey is divorced from Eurythmics star Dave Stewart
- Fahey’s sister Máire played Eileen in the video for 1982 hit Come On Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners
Tickets go on sale on Wednesday 26 April at 9am
Images: Rex Features