Original Bananarama line-up reunite for first ever tour

By Mark Savage
BBC Music reporter

Image source, Bananarama
Image caption, Banarama: L-R Keren Woodward, Sara Dallin and Siobhan Fahey

We heard a rumour - and, for once, it turned out to be true: the original line-up of Bananarama have reunited.

Sara Dallin, Siobhan Fahey and Keren Woodward were the biggest girl band of the 80s, scoring hits including Venus, Shy Boy and Love In The First Degree.

Although they scored 10 top 10 hits, the trio never toured before Fahey quit to form Shakespears Sister in 1988.

The split was acrimonious, but the members recently reconciled and have announced a 15-date UK tour for winter.

"This is the first time we've performed live together - with the exception of getting onstage with a cassette when we were 18!" Woodward told BBC Radio 2's Chris Evans Breakfast Show.

Speaking about their reconciliation, Fahey said: "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. I never thought it would happen again."

The band's website crashed shortly after the tour was announced on Monday morning.

Image caption, Woodward and Dallin were childhood friends, and met Fahey at fashion college before forming Bananarama in 1979

Formed in 1979, the band took their name from two of their biggest inspirations: the Roxy Music song Pyjamarama and kids TV show The Banana Splits.

They got their first taste of chart success by providing backing vocals for the Fun Boy Three on the single It Ain't What You Do, It's the Way You Do It.

A couple of months later, Fun Boy Three returned the favour for Really Sayin' Somethin, a cover of the 1965 Velvelettes song that was the first of Bananarama's 26 UK chart smashes.

They went on to sell more than 40 million records, with their biggest-sellers including Robert De Niro's Waiting, Cruel Summer and I Heard A Rumour.

After establishing themselves as a self-made band, they hitched their wagon to Stock Aitken Waterman's "hit factory" for the 1987 album, Wow.

Fahey, who was a huge fan of The Smiths, was not keen on the group's new direction and, after marrying Eurythmics star Dave Stewart and moving to LA, she left the band.

Dallin and Woodward found a replacement, Jacquie O'Sullivan, who re-recorded some of Fahey's vocals, and the band played their first ever live shows.

O'Sullivan lasted three years, since when the band has continued as a duo, recording new material while touring the nostalgia circuit.

Image caption, The group were regular visitors to Top of the Pops

"The worst thing was that, after Siobhan left, Sara and I then did the world tour without her," Woodward told Chris Evans.

"We had tried to do it while we were together all as a threesome, then I got pregnant while we were rehearsing.

"And Siobhan got pregnant the second time we were planning on going on the road, so for some reason it never happened."

The UK tour kicks off at Glasgow's SEC on 12 November, with tickets on sale today for fan club members, and Wednesday for the general public.

According to a press release, it will be a one-off - but Woodward hinted there may be other plans afoot.

"The tour is the main thing," she said. "But we have talked about doing a single together, which would be good."

Media caption, The band give Chris Evans the lowdown on their big comeback

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