Bananarama – Cruel Summer
The city is crowded my friends are away and I'm on my own
It's too hot to handle so I got to get up and go
It's a cruel, cruel summer
Leaving me here on my own it's a cruel, cruel summer
Now you're gone
Summer begins around June 21, maybe some hours earlier or later, but not in 1983. In 1983 Summer officially began on June 27, with the release of a song that in a few days would become an anthem in England and throughout Europe. And the following year the song would be included on the soundtrack of “The Karate Kid” becoming very famous in America too. And of course it was a song about Summer, in fact, it was the real song of Summer.
Yes, because Summer is certainly the season of holidays and loves, travel, independence. But if your fiancé has just left and you find yourself alone facing a hot Summer, Summer can be really cruel.
But the “Cruel Summer” of Bananarama was actually not so cruel, because it immediately projected them into the hall of fame of the 80s, in fact in December of the following year they would even take part in the recording of “Do they know it’s Christmas“.
Let’s face it: Sara, Siobhan and Keren were irresistible. Sara and Keren know each other since they were four years old, and in 1981 they formed the group with the Irish Siobhan, and found an irresistible name, merging Banana Splits cartoons with a song by Brian Ferry’s Roxy Music, “Pyjamarama”. By chance, they live above Sex Pistols’ rehearsal room , and some members of the group help them record a famous cover, “Aie a Mwana”, which becomes famous in all dance clubs in England. After a first album, they compose this song with producers Steve Jolley and Tony Swain (who produced a lot of early 80s hits, such as “Love resurrection” by Alison Moyet), and also have sensational ideas for the video, which was fundamental in launching their image and look.
Despite being three female voices, they never alternate in songs and have no distinct roles: they always sing all three together on the same tones!
They filmed the video for “Cruel Summer” in New York, for a very simple reason: the three girls had never been there, and they wanted to go there. And in fact the video is on topic with the song, as it is shot in the sweltering heat of New York in August. There is no real story, but there are some funny scenes, like the girls being chased by the police and defending themselves by throwing bananas at the cops, just for the quote. Overall, however, it immediately became an unforgettable iconic video. Surely their total casual look and sneakers contributed to the iconography and success of Bananarama.
The three girls immediately became a symbol not only of modernity, but also of skill, originality and coolness. In the heyday of the 80s, Bananarama became absolute protagonists in the British scene, and this also had an effect on their private lives, because Siobhan was married for many years to Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart, and Keren spent her life with Andrew Ridgeley of Wham!.
Bananarama on Wikipedia