Wednesday, March 22, 2017

"Cruel Summer" by Bananarama

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  1984
Date:  07/21/1984
Debut:  74
Peak:  9
Weeks:  18
Genre:  Pop, Dance

Pop Bits:  The UK trio's self-titled second LP was off to a shaky start in the US with the single "Robert De Niro's Waiting" flaming out at a very minor #95. Despite having Top 10 success in the UK, the US was not warming up to the group. However, that would finally change with this next single. The song, co-written by the trio plus their producers Jolley & Swain, debuted on the chart far higher than the peak of "Robert" and proceeded to make its way up the chart. It eventually became their first US Top 10 (#11 Dance). The hit boosted the album, which made it to #30. After several attempts, the trio finally broke through in America.

ReduxReview:  This was the song where everything came together for the trio and Jolley/Swain. It was a delicious blast of pop candy that perfectly fit in with the summer of '84. The group's unusual vocal approach combined with Jolley and Swain's glossy 80s production finally got its due in the US thanks to the tune. Since that time, the song has been an essential entry on most any summer-themed playlist. I had a particularly bad time in '84 and when this single came out I dubbed it my theme song for the summer. Despite scoring two bigger hits later on, for me this remains the best song Bananarama ever did.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  1) This hit was helped along by its appearance in a summer box office hit. Folks took notice of the tune when it was used in the film The Karate Kid. Although the track was not included on the official soundtrack album, the exposure certainly helped make the song a hit.  2) Later in 1998, the hit making Swedish pop group Ace of Base recorded a cover of this song. It would serve as the title-track and lead single from their third US album. The song would reach #10 and go gold. It was the group's fourth and final US Top 10 hit.


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