Friday, April 2, 2021

"Love in the First Degree" by Bananarama

Song#:  3451
Date:  03/19/1988
Debut:  82
Peak:  48
Weeks:  10
Genre:  Synthpop, Dance-Pop

Pop Bits:  The second single from the trio's Wow! album, "I Can't Help It," didn't do so well. Although it would get to #7 on the Dance chart, it would stop short of the Pop Top 40 at #47. The result was a bit of a disappointment and to try and turn things around this third single was released. Again, it would be a hit in the clubs and get to #10 at Dance, but then it would peak just one notch lower than their previous single on the Pop chart. With the two singles failing to turn into bigger hits, this song would end the run of singles from the album, which had previously peaked at #44. In the UK, this song was the second single from the album and it would be a #3 hit there becoming one of their biggest hits.

ReduxReview:  Written by the trio along with the Stock Aitken Waterman production team, the song was a bit more pop-oriented than the trio's previous charging Hi-NRG singles. However, there were still enough keyboard flourishes and production touches to make sure most listeners knew it was an SAW product. It worked out well for them back home, but not so much in the US. My guess is that their sound was becoming a bit one-note to the US audience. Like, oh, here is another SAW dance track from Bananarama, yippee! The songs just started to blend in with each other. It might have behooved them to release a ballad to change things up as Exposé did with "Seasons Change." Still, the tune had a hooky chorus and if you enjoyed the trio at this point in time, this was a likable entry in their catalog.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  This song would be the last one that member Siobhan Fahey would perform live with the trio. They performed the track at the BRIT awards in February of '88. The song had been nominated for Song of the Year. Soon after, Fahey would decide to leave Bananarama because she didn't like the musical direction of the group. Fahey, who had recently married Dave Stewart of Eurythmics, decided to step out on her own and started to work on tracks for an album that would be under the moniker of Shakespears Sister. She worked with several musicians during the process including Marcy Levy. Levy had been working for other music stars including Eric Clapton while trying to establish a solo career. Fahey suggested she wipe the slate and start again with a new name. Levy decided to give it a go and changed to the stage name of Marcella Detroit. The pair worked closely in the studio and after the album Sacred Heart was done, Stewart suggested that the two join forces as Shakespeares Sisters. After agreeing to do so, the pair scored their first hit when the album's second single, "You're History," got to #7 in the UK. Their second album, Hormonally Yours, would turn them into stars thanks to the worldwide hit "Stay." That song would spend 8 weeks at the top of the UK chart while hitting the Top 10 in many countries including the US where it got to #4. Written by Fahey, Detroit, and Stewart, the song became their signature hit, but it also was a catalyst in the duo's breakup. Fahey had developed Shakespeares Sister as a solo act. Detroit came on board, but for the most part Fahey was front and center on the songs, except for "Stay," which Detroit mainly sang. Fahey apparently didn't want the song to be a single, but it got released anyway. The duo then had to do a video and due to her singing role, Detroit got featured more prominently. This didn't set well with Fahey, who still consider SS to be her project. Things spiraled from there and eventually Fahey wanted to be rid of Detroit. Yet instead of doing this behind closed doors, Fahey, through her publisher, publicly fired Detroit in a speech at the Ivor Novello Awards ceremony after their second album won an award. A blindsided Detroit was in attendance while Fahey was not. The aggressive act severed their relationship to the point where they didn't speak for decades. Fahey went on and continued to record as Shakespeares Sister, but label issues followed that shelved a third album. Fahey would later get it released in 2004. There would be one more album in '09 released under the SS name. Fahey would rejoin Bananarama and perform with them a few times over the years and she would even reunite with Detroit in 2019 for a short tour and an EP of new songs titled Ride Again.



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