I don’t know where you live, but where I am, the title of this post is sure fitting. Now I know it doesn’t get quite as hot here as it might in the south, but it has been plenty hot here. While I wouldn’t necessarily use the title track of today’s featured song to describe the season we are in as a whole, the heat may make me reconsider.
If you couldn’t guess today’s song from the lyric in the post title, here’s another hint: girl group that sang just about all of their songs (including this one) in unison, as opposed to harmony or a single lead with backup. Too tough?
Today’s song is “Cruel Summer” by Bananarama.
Written by group members Keren Woodward, Siobhan Fahey and Sara Dallin, along with producers Steve Jolley and Tony Swain, “Cruel Summer” would prove to be the trio’s first top ten pop hit, rising to #9 in the summer (duh!) of 1984. The group had been releasing singles in their native United Kingdom since 1981, and had already tasted success over there. The following year saw their first hits cross over to the United States, though nothing prior to today’s song ever made the pop top 40. They are often credited along with Duran Duran, Culture Club, Wham! and other groups from the U.K. for the “second British invasion,” made possible by MTV.
“Cruel Summer” was the first of three top ten pop hits by the group (the other two being “Venus” (a cover of the Shocking Blue hit which was a #1 song in 1986) and “I Heard A Rumour”(#4 in 1987)). Starting with their True Confessions album, production duties were switched from Jolley & Swain to dance pop producers Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman or (Stock Aitken Waterman as they were commonly known). The new producers were responsible for the last two top ten hits. Fahey left the group in 1988, and was replaced by Jacquie O’Sullivan. O’Sullivan left in 1991, and since that time Bananarama performed as a duo of Woodward and Dallin, which continues to the present day. Jolley and Swain also produced hits for R&B group Imagination (“Body Talk,” “Just An Illusion,” among others), and Spandau Ballet’s “True.”
So while it hasn’t exactly been a cruel summer, the heat may give one pause. Find yourself a cool place to enjoy today’s 80’s Mania Monday song. As always, thanks for reading and listening.