Friday, January 6, 2017

"Robert De Niro's Waiting" by Bananarama

Song#:  1902
Date:  05/19/1984
Debut:  96
Peak:  95
Weeks:  2
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  This female vocal trio's debut LP Deep Sea Skyving was a hit in their UK homeland thanks to two Top 10 hits. It was less successful in the US with only the single "Shy Boy" scraping the Pop chart at #83 (#14 Dance). Their next LP would be another hit in the UK, but started out doing even worse than their debut album in the States. The self-titled disc was introduced by this first single. While it became one of the trio's biggest hits in the UK (#3), it totally flopped in the US disappearing after two short weeks on the Pop chart. Luckily, that wasn't the end of the story for them and their next single would turn things around.

ReduxReview:   I remember seeing the title of this song and being intrigued, especially with it being by Bananarama. Why were they singing about De Niro and what was he waiting for? When I first heard the song, I was highly disappointed. It was a strange little ditty. I couldn't figure out why De Niro was waiting talking Italian and the vocals were a bit odd, particularly when they went "oooo!" out of nowhere in the verse. What the hell was that? The song made zero sense to me. However, in later years I've come to like the tune. It has a weird, catchy chorus and the lyrics are a lot darker than what its upbeat pop sound might suggest (see below). In other words, it's not a standard run o' tha mill pop song and its quirkiness is what makes it interesting. But back in the day, that quirkiness is probably what killed its chances in the US.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  For their second LP, the trio worked with the writing/production team of Tony Swain and Steve Jolley. The pair had previously worked with the girls on "Shy Boy" for their first album. All together, the five folks co-wrote all but one song for the LP. It all came together just fine, but it wasn't without its bumps in the road. This song in particular caused a bit of an issue. At first, the lyrics were about a girl who gets raped and in order to escape her reality, she fantasizes about actor Robert De Niro (apparently Al Pacino's name was used first, but it was changed to De Niro). Sensing that the song was single-bound and not wanting any airplay issues, the lyrics were tempered so that it would be more about a girl coping with a break-up. However, what really caused a fight was when Swain and Jolley added the lyric "talking Italian." They thought it made De Niro more romantic and in-line with his Godfather roles. The girls hated it and fought to get it changed. In the end, they finally acquiesced and the line remained. After the song became a hit in the UK and was heard by Robert De Niro, he wanted to meet them. The meet-n-greet was set up, however the girls were so nervous about meeting De Niro that they decided to calm down with a few drinks and were nearly drunk by the time they saw him.


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