Country Great Britain
Bananarama is a British female pop trio which has had success on the pop and dance charts since 1982. Rather than relying on three part harmony, the girls generally sang in unison, as did their background vocalists. Although there have been line-up changes during the years, the group enjoyed its 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. Dallin and Woodward had been childhood friends in Bristol since the age of 4 and attended St. George's School for Girls together. The pair became a trio when Dallin met Fahey while studying fashion journalism. The two became friends because they both dressed more radically than the other students. 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.
In 1981, Bananarama's members were living above the rehearsal room which was used by former Sex Pistols members Steve Jones and Paul Cook. With their help, Bananarama recorded their first demo "Aie a Mwana" (a cover of a song by Black Blood, sung in Swahili). The demo was heard at Demon Records, who offered Bananarama their first deal. The song was an underground hit and Bananarama were signed by Decca (later London Records). They remained on this label until 1993. Bananarama's previous experience in a recording studio was as background vocalists on the Department S b-side "Solid Gold Easy Action", a T.Rex cover in early 1981.
During this early period Bananarama was approached by Malcolm McLaren, who suggested he manage the band. McLaren, manager of the Sex Pistols, Adam and the Ants and Bow Wow Wow, and notorious for generating scandal, proposed some new material that was sexually suggestive, and did not fit with what at the time was the bands tomboyish and straight-forward image. Bananarama passed on both the material and McLaren as their manager.
UK fashion magazine The Face featured an article on Bananarama after their first single, and it caught the attention of ex-Specials member Terry Hall, who invited them to collaborate with his new vocal group Fun Boy Three on the track "T'ain't What You Do (It's the Way That You Do It)". In 1982, the song hit the Top 5 in the UK and gave Bananarama their first significant mainstream success. Fun Boy Three then guested on Bananarama's song "Really Saying Something" later that year.