How To Do a Cover Version

It’s hard to dislike Bananarama (and, before we go any further, I don’t).

There’s three distinct phases to their career:

  • The early years, when they occasionally duetted with Funboy 3, loved vodka as much as they loved stonewashed jeans with rips at the knee, and weren’t overly fussed on the concept of harmonies;
  • The Stock Aitken & Waterman years, when Siobhan (eventually) jumped ship to be replaced by Jacqui, who never really seemed to fit;
  • The reformed/nostalgia years, where they could release new material, which nobody was really interested in, as long as they did Robert de Niro’s Waiting (Talking Italian!!!) at their 80s reboot gigs.

It’s a record from that 2nd phase that we’re looking at today, and here’s the original:

Shocking Blue – Venus

Now, I love that version, and, contrary to popular belief, that has nothing to do with the cleavage on show on the sleeve.

Legend has it that the Bananas (the ‘Ramas? What do we call them in truncated pop band name land?) approached the curators of The Hit Factory, and asked that they make them sound like Dead or Alive’s You Spin Me Round (Like a Record):

Dead Or Alive – You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)

When they were instructed to sing Venus, so the story goes, the ‘Rama girls were less than enamoured with the idea, but did it anyway. They slunk away from the recording session, concerned that they may have made a wrong turn.

They need not have been so pessimistic, for this was the outcome, their biggest hit:

Bananarama – Venus

I’m not the biggest fan of the SAW Hit Factory production line, but they nailed it with this one.

More soon.