Song: “Venus” by Bananarama
Reached #1: September 6, 1986 (their first, 1 week)
“Venus”, of course, started out as a single by the Dutch band Shocking Blue in 1969 – before you get confused, it was Blue Swede (“Hooked On A Feeling”) who had to learn their hit phonetically – Robbie van Leewen and the rest of Shocking Blue were quite comfortable in English. Their version hit #1 for one week on February 7, 1970.
A decade and a half later, the three-woman vocal group Bananarama were looking for tracks for their third album, True Confessions. They’d been campaigning to add “Venus”, a song they’d been doing live for years. Their own producers (Jolley/Swain) *and* the legendary dance-music team of Stock/Aitken/Waterman felt the song couldn’t work as a dance track. Never were so many talents so wrong…
Bananarama formed in 1979 when longtime classmates and friends Keren Woodward and Sarah Dallin joined up with Dallin’s journalism classmate Siobhan Fahey – while they were fans of punk, they wound up doing dance-pop… clearly, it turned out to be a good decision. Their videos were quite popular (three attractive women at a time MTV skewed young male? duh…), which led to smashing success on both sides of the pond. “Cruel Summer”, from the Karate Kid soundtrack, was their real introduction to American audiences… then came “Venus”. Then came the breakup.
Two years after “Venus”, Siobhan Fahey – who had always kind of been the third wheel – left the group, feeling excluded (and looking for quality time with new husband Dave Stewart of Eurythmics). They briefly added Jacquie O’Sullivan – but within a couple of years, Dallin and Woodward realized they were best as a duo… which is pretty much how they’ve worked for the last two decades, including an appearance at the London Olympics’ mens’ volleyball final. And there’s still a USA tour rumored to be in the works this year.
All three of the original Bananaramans wound up pairing with fellow artists. Fahey married and divorced Dave Stewart. Woodward has been living with (but never married) Wham!’s Andrew Ridgeley, for two decades. Dallin was engaged to, and had a daughter with, one of the band’s dancers. OK, that last was a stretch…
Tomorrow, a single with close ties to the Brat Pack.
Other songs that reached #1 on September 6:
1975 – “Rhinestone Cowboy” by Glenn Campbell (his first, 2 weeks)
1980 – “Upside Down” by Diana Ross (her fifth, 4 weeks)
2003 – “Shake Ya Tailfeather” by Nelly feat. P.Diddy & Murphy Lee (Nelly’s third, 4 weeks)
2008 – “Whatever You Like” by T.I. (his first, 7 weeks)