Tuesday, September 17, 2019

"More Than Physical" by Bananarama

Song#:  2894
Date:  10/18/1986
Debut:  98
Peak:  73
Weeks:  5
Genre:  Dance-Pop

Pop Bits:  Bananarama scored their first and only #1 hit with "Venus," the first single from their third album True Confessions. The remake was also their first collaboration with the Stock Aitken Waterman production team. They would also work together on this second single, which Bananarama and SAW co-wrote. Unfortunately, the song didn't capture the same audience that flocked to "Venus" and it peaked low on the Pop chart. The news was much better over on the Dance chart where the song made it to #5. The female vocal trio seemed to like what the SAW team had to offer and would hire them to fully produce their next album.

ReduxReview:  The merging of Bananarama and the SAW team was a terrific idea. SAW's trademark chugging synthpop was a perfect backdrop to Bananarama's girl group vocals. It worked to great effect on "Venus." This single followed suit and it sounded pretty jammin' as well. The chorus was good and the production was like a well-oiled 80s machine. Yet for some reason the tune didn't catch on. It filled dance floors but that didn't translate to sales or airplay at pop radio. Maybe it was a little too much like "Venus" production-wise and folks just preferred hearing the cover tune instead of an original. Not sure what the deal was but I thought this would easily make the Pop Top 40.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Bananarama's first single, a cover of "Aie a Mwana" released in 1981, was a blip on the UK chart at #92. However, the song and an article about the trio in the British music/fashion magazine The Face got the attention of Terry Hall. Hall had been a member of the popular UK ska band The Specials, but after tensions in the group arose, he and two other members left and formed Fun Boy Three. After seeing The Face article, Hall wanted to get Bananarama to sing on one of Fun Boy Three's tracks. They all got together and recorded "It Ain't What You Do It's the Way That You Do It." It was issued out as a single in 1982 and it reached #4 on the UK chart (#49 US Dance). That song was a cover of an old standard, originally titled "Tain't What You Do (It's the Way That You Do It)", written in 1939 by Sy Oliver and Trummy Young. Several artists recorded the song, but it seems that Ella Fitzgerald's take proved to be the most popular. Fun Boy Three's hit version raised Bananarama's profile and they signed on with London Records and recorded their debut album Deep Sea Skiving. To return the favor, Bananarama enlisted the help of Fun Boy Three on a song titled "Really Saying Something." It was the first single issued out ahead of their debut album and it reached #5 in the UK (#16 US Dance).


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