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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Daily Boom: Exclusive Interview: A Grateful Keren Woodward Hopes Bananarama's Reunion Inspires Others to Chase Their Dreams

Image result for bananarama 2017
(All Photos: Bananarama's Official Facebook)

Chances are, when I say Bananarama, a particular bit of music instantly runs through your mind before a visual forms.. It might be from "Cruel Summer" or the heavy synth of "Venus", but you've got something already stuck in your head, don't you?  It's the mark of a legendary artist really, when their work is so easily recalled. The ladies of Bananarama  are exactly that- legendary. Iconic. If you could jump back in time to the early 80's you would find Sara Dallin, Keren Woodward and Siobhan Fahey kicking down preconceived ideas of what a girl group "should" look like. They were trailblazers that helped to lead the way for other female artists, not because they were trying to, but because they were simply being true to themselves and their own unique creativity.

Their approach was probably one of the main keys to success. Sara, Keren and Siobhan have always  at root, just been three friends doing something that they believed in. That belief has translated into 4 U.S. top tens, 32 top forty UK hits, ten albums and over thirty million records sold. Did you catch that? Thirty MILLION records sold. It's no wonder that when Bananarama announced last spring that they would be reuniting for a real tour, the response was insanely positive.

Siobhan left the group in 1988 and had never actually experienced the live audience love of Bananarama's fan base, until recently. The Original Line Up Tour criss-crossed the UK late last year leaving the ladies vacillating between moments of healing tears and pure joy. The experience was so phenomenal that they are now  bringing their tour stateside to the U.S. and Canada beginning in late February. Those quirky young girls have aged gracefully but don't let their obvious class completely fool you, there's still a bit of mischief and a whole lot of fun going on behind the scenes.

I was lucky enough to steal a few minutes of Keren's time earlier today and she was quite happy to reflect on Bananarama's past, while being incredibly grateful for their current success.

Cate Meighan: Where are you now?

Keren Woodward: I'm at my home in Cornwall. I got back from London yesterday actually. I don't live there anymore, I prefer a quiet life in the country. I've got a little time off before the tour and we'll be starting rehearsals when we get to the states. It shouldn't be too difficult since we've just done 23 shows in the UK. We should hopefully still remember most of it (laughing).

CM: I've watched a lot of video clips from those shows and the emotion on stage between the three of seemed to range from teary-eyed to pure joy. Was it everything that you had hoped this reunion would be?

KW: It really was quite an experience and it really was quite emotional. We wanted to do something different and special. We phoned Siobhan up, thinking she just wouldn't want to do it because it was a huge amount of work for her, and then she surprised us. She hadn't been doing the songs in the same way that Sara and I have, so for her to take it on required a huge amount of rehearsals, and sort of just relearning stuff. It was very emotional from the first time that we were sitting together listening to the songs that we wanted to do on tour, we all got quite teary eyed. It has been an absolutely amazing experience, with such an overwhelming response. The emotion in the crowd and all of that emotion on stage was actually quite unexpected and incredible. It's the whole reason why we decided to bring the show to the states and to do a couple of other things as well. It's just been so fabulous. A really wonderful experience.

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CM: Bananarama fans are really one of a kind. Not only do they love you ladies, but they also seem to have an instantaneous, genuine love for each other.

KW: Aren't they? It seems like a bit of a family. We've met so many of the fans and they have so many different stories of why Bananarama has meant so much to them. It's really, really heartwarming. When we were in our heyday back in the 80's we were going around doing TV and interviews, but maybe not getting to meet the fans as much. The loyalty and the stories that they tell us now are just really so wonderful. I did feel slightly bad that we had so many fans come from the U.S. to see us and then we announced that we were going there anyway. So now they get to see us twice and they don't seem to be too bothered by that, to be honest (laughing).

CM: It's beautiful to see the love and positive energy that they share with you.

KW:  It really is and it's quite surprising in some ways. We never could have expected it. Sara and I have done a lot of shows but it's really quite different when you're playing a festival as opposed to your own show. I know we've got enough songs that people know to keep us going but it's a different atmosphere when you're playing in a theater. Especially when everyone knows every word, of every song, start to finish, including album tracks and B sides. It's quite extraordinary.

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CM: Let's be honest, you're not twenty-five anymore. How daunting is it to tour now?

KW; I've toured with Sara before and we have maybe done ten shows in a row. This one did seem pretty daunting when we first took off but I think the excitement kept us afloat. I mean we perform full out. I know my friends that came to see us said they were exhausted just watching. The reaction from the audience helped and I don't really remember feeling as though I couldn't keep going. Not at all. I was a bit tired in between shows I'm sure, but performing was never a problem. It's good to know I suppose (laughing). It's not like I'm really a gym bunny and I tend not to do much more than walking the dogs, so I must be fitter than I thought. It's a good thing (laughing).

CM: Have there been some kitchen discos along the way?

KW: (Laughing) To be honest, we had enough disco at our shows in the evening. No time for kitchen discos when we were on tour. They worked us so hard that when we had a day off all we wanted to do was relax (laughing). I did have plenty of discos over Christmas though, in my own kitchen with family, friends, and Sara. She and her daughter came and spent Christmas with me. We did have a sing-a-long in our dressing room before each show though. We would put music on and sing songs while getting ready just to help us get in the mood.

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CM: So we know the UK tour was a smash. What should we expect from your U.S. dates?

KW: It's quite energetic and we're adding in our own memories. Plus there are visual memories on the screen behind us, which someone commented is really brave, to perform in front of a younger version of yourself (laughing). I suppose they're right. I know there were people (at our UK shows) that weren't massive fans but sort of came for the hell of it, just to have a laugh because they knew a few of the old songs. Well, they got there and realized that they actually knew most of the songs and had a ball. I'm hoping it'll be the same in the states. There are hits, surprises, and more. Some of the older tracks we've given a real party treatment to and it all sounds really great with the band. Our band is incredible and it just changes the dynamic. Keep in mind that much of the stuff that we did in the 80's didn't have live musicians. It was all done on computers at that time. Sara and I have performed with a band for so long that we can't bear to do it without one. I know people still go out without one and do a track show but I just can't, it wouldn't be right for me.

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CM: Does Bananarama have any other solid plans in the near future once this tour wraps up?

This current tour is all about our celebrating our time as a trio. We have some big festivals that we'll be doing and after that, I don't really know. The whole point of doing it was to welcome back Siobhan and to do these songs with her. Every time that Sara and I saw her, either in London or at her home in LA, we would be dancing around and singing. It was hard to imagine that we had never done these shows with her and she absolutely embraced it, which is amazing. The beauty of Bananarama is that we've never really made monster plans. In the 80's everything was always so laid out and your calendar was full before you even started the year. Now we're doing what we want to do and going with what makes sense in the moment. Right now this show makes sense and we're having a ball.

CM: What would you like to say to those fans that have supported you through the decades?

KW: I've met so many of them! So many women along the way have told me that they considered me a role model growing up. I feel it's important to set an example at this age, to remind people that if they put their minds to something they can still do it and hey, you might surprise yourself! I think it can actually be quite difficult for women of our age to be seen or heard. You might feel written off because of other people's attitudes but ultimately that comes back to you. You're not too old to do things or change things that are making you unhappy. Hopefully, people can look at us and think- if they can do it then I can do it too. We girls need to stick together and buoy each other. That's how it should always be!

U.S. Tour & Tickets HERE

Follow Bananarama HERE for updates & also on:

Check out a medley of old & new Bananarama performances:




Bananarama's Reissued Greatest Hits:

Daily Boom 80's Throwback: Ozzy Osbourne And Lita Ford - 'Close My Eyes Forever'


"Baby
I get so scared inside, and I don't really understand
Is it love that's on my mind, or is it fantasy?
Heaven
Is in the palm of my hand, and it's waiting here for you
What am I supposed to do with a childhood tragedy?
If I close my eyes forever
Will it all remain unchanged?
If I close my eyes forever
Will it all remain the same?
Sometimes
It's hard to hold on
So hard to hold on to my dreams
It isn't always what it seems"



So many fantastic power ballads came out of the 80's but very few of them were duets. I think that by the time Ozzy Osbourne and Lita Ford released "Close My Eyes Forever" in 1988, we were more than ready for it. It was about as lyrically desperate and suicidal as it gets. The fact that these two wrote and recorded it smack in the middle of a night of partying is hardly a surprise either. 

Supposedly Sharon Osbourne had left them together and Ozzy and Lita's creativity went through the roof after getting really high. They both had dropped their walls and the song just totally fell into place. It's funny because this was a real crossover song for them. Even if you weren't a fan of hair bands or hard rock, you still probably loved this song.

I think the best hard rock of the 80's ultimately ended up being the stuff that has never felt dated. "Close My Eyes Forever" is for sure one of those classics. Check out the video below. Do you think that this is Ozzy and Lita at their best?

Daily Boom Lost Hit: Bon Jovi - 'Runaway'

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Daily Boom 90's Nostalgia: Jewel- 'You Were Meant for Me'


"I go about my business, I'm doing fine
Besides what would I say if I had you on the line?
Same old story, not much to say
Hearts are broken, everyday."



Jewel burst on the scene at just the right moment in the 90's. Hairbands and grunge had both died down and R&B was slipping just a little. New Jack Swing and house music were on the sidelines and we were needing something fresh so along came Indie rock chicks.

Sarah McGlaughin, Shawn Colvin, Paula Cole...the list is endless. One after another they pinned songs designed to tug at our heart strings as well as our wallets, and it worked. Jewel's "You Were Meant For Me" became a classic almost over night.  Especially if you were college age and trying to fill a void left by a guy. Oy was kind of the official song for breakups that aren't mutual. 

I remember watching Jewel's earliest videos and being mesmerized by the simplicity.  There was nothing flashy or glitzy. Almost the exact opposite. The visuals, while stunning, were primarily about this young woman and her guitar. They told a story all on their own. One that's worth revisiting so check it out bek

Daily Boom Lost Hit: Daryl Hall & John Oates - 'Family Man'

Monday, February 19, 2018

Currently Booming: Which 80's Icon Are You (Quiz)?


Daily Boom 80's Throwback: Kenny Loggins - 'I'm Free (Heaven Helps the Man )'


"Looking into your eyes

I know I'm right
If there's anything worth my love
It's worth a fight

We only get one chance

And nothing ties our hands
You're what I want, listen to me
Nothing I want's out of my reach

(I'm free)

Heaven helps the man who fights his fear
Love's the only thing that keeps me here"

Seeing Footloose in the movie theater for the very first time was a huge deal. It's one of the very first movies that I remember seeing with just friends (no adults) and back in 1984 we were all a little bit of obsessed with it. It still has one of the strongest soundtracks in music history, I think. Just about every song was worthy of being released as a single. My favorite is Kenny Loggin's "I'm Free".

Yeah I know, I'm supposed to think that the title track is IT, but I just don't. I think "I'm Free" is a better vocal and I've always loved the music. I had the soundtrack album because it was inherited from my dad almost immediately after it was released. For me the soundtrack came before the movie did and "I'm Free" just ;left me with such a great feeling. The kind of feeling that every Monday should contain, so here it is. Enjoy!



Daily Boom Lost Hit: Ace of Base - 'The Sign'

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Soundtrack Sunday: Footloose


It has been more than 34 years since a little ditty called "Footloose" arrived in theaters. The year may have been 1984 but I actually remember the build up and excitement surrounding it as if it were yesterday. I was in 7th grade and my friends and I were obsessed with everything and anything connected to this important contribution to pop culture history.

I still have the soundtrack on vinyl and gave it a spin today. I think "Footloose" remains one of the best soundtracks ever because it's one of the few that you really can listen to all the way through.


Daily Boom 80's Throwback: New Edition - 'Can You Stand The Rain'


"On a perfect day, I know that I can count on you

When that's not possible

Tell me can you weather the storm?

'Cause I need somebody who will stand by me
Through the good times and bad times

She will always, always be right there

Sunny days, everybody loves them
Tell me baby can you stand the rain?
Storms will come
This we know for sure (This we know for sure)
Can you stand the rain?"

I'm going to be really honest and tell you that I don't remember New Edition's "Can You Stand The Rain" when it was first getting radio play in early 1989. I think that I was firmly committed to hair bands by then. The song is from the quintet's album Heart Break, their first venture without Bobby Brown. It introduced us to Johnny Gill who does a fantastic job sharing lead vocals with Ralph Tresvant on "Can You Stand The Rain". 

So anyway, I heard this song several months back during BET's three part special on the band (which really IS worth seeing) and couldn't tell which era of New Edition it was from. That makes it pretty timeless in my eyes and it also has all of the components of a top-notch slow jam. Check out the video below and tell me, who is your favorite of the guys!


Daily Boom Lost Hit: Suzanne Vega - 'Solitude Standing'

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Daily Boom 80's Throwback: Paula Abdul - 'Cold Hearted'

Image result for Paula Abdul Cold hearted

"It was only late last night he was out there sneakin'
Then he called you up to check that you were waiting by the phone
All the world's a candy store
He's been trick or treatin'
When it comes to true love girl with him there's no one home
He's a coldhearted snake look into his eyes
Oh, oh he's been telling lies he's a lover boy at play."

Who didn't love Paula Abdul back in 1988? The media had her pegged as a sweet, girl next door type that just so happened to dance her ass off. She was a former Laker girl that had already choreographed for Janet Jackson when her own solo album dropped. Forever Your Girl was a bonafide hit. By the time the third single, "Cold Hearted" was out, Abdul decided that it was time to sex up her image a bit.

She mixed Bob Fosse inspired choreography with moody lighting a barely there costumes and the result, well it was magic."Cold Hearted" is one of those videos that trained dancers consider memorable. I appreciate how timeless it is. If you were to watch it for the very first time today you would never know that it's 30 years old. Abdul and her crew create frozen moments that are memorable even after a few decades. 

I also like to kick the weekend off with something fun and this sure fits the bill. Check it out below.

Currently Booming: Soul Train (Full Episode from 1988)

Friday, February 16, 2018

Currently Booming: Friday Night Videos (Full Episode from 1986)

Daily Boom 80's Throwback: Bananarama - 'I Heard A Rumour'

Bananarama

"Who needs friends who never show
I'll tell you what you want to know
I could have saved a broken heart
If I'd found out long ago

I'm just thinking about
Those lonely nights
When I waited for your call
'Til I found out
All my friends were right, ooh, ooh
I didn't know you at all

I heard a rumour
Ooh, ooh, I heard a rumour
They say you got a broken heart"

How can you not love Bananarama? If you go back and watch their earliest videos you'll quickly realize that this trio never really took themselves very seriously. Sure, they were invested in their version of pop but they were silly. They had real fun, the kind that you just don't see in videos these days. Fifth Harmony is too busy sexing it up to even consider sharing a silly moment on camera. That's kind of sad because women that are friends and that have a real connection, are goofballs at times. That's real life.

So, Sara Dallin, Siobhan Fahey and Keren Woodward not only were friends thirty years ago, but they remain connected to this day. aLst year the ladies announced a return to touring and performing together as Bananarama. They have a string of U.S. dates on their Original Line Up Tour that starts next week. 
"I Heard a Rumour" was released in June of 1987 and hit number 4 on Billboard's Hot 100. It was part of the Disorderlies soundtrack and one of my very favorite songs by Bananarama. Check out the video below!

Freestyle Throwback: Expose` Demo Clip of 'I Know You Know' [Listen]


Here's one from the old school freestyle vault for you guys. Earlier this week Gioia Bruno posted a clip for the demo of Expose's song "I Know You Know".  The track, off of their debut Exposure album back in 1987, is arguably one of Expose's very best. It was never released as a single but it is one that, to this day, the ladies love to perform live and audiences eat it up. Enjoy!

Currently Booming: Best R&B 90's Songs

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Daily Boom 80's Throwback: Guns N' Roses - 'Welcome To The Jungle'


"Welcome to the jungle
We've got fun 'n' games
We got everything you want
Honey, we know the names
We are the people that can find
Whatever you may need
If you got the money, honey,
We got your disease
In the jungle
Welcome to the jungle
Watch it bring you to your
Knees, knees
I wanna watch you bleed"


I'm not sure how anyone of a certain age could possibly not love at least one Guns N' Roses song. I mean, just one. I remember the first time I saw Axl Rose slither his way across the stage in the video for "Welcome to the Jungle" and I was just gone.

Gone.

The song was absolutely everything that a good 80's rock anthem needed to be and the band? Well, GNR always looked they had all just rolled out of a dumpster still drunk from the night before. And I kind of liked that. The whole Appetite for Destruction album literally changed my life and to this day I still affiliate certain songs with different places and people.I love the grittiness of "Welcome to the Jungle" and the video takes me back to a point in time when I was starting to embrace my love of hairbands. 

Early GNR takes me back to my very first job . It was at a fast food place and after we closed at night someone would inevitably throw Axl & the boys into the boombox and crank it WAY up. Even though I was technically on the clock it was one of the best parts of my day. Music was such a hot bottom topic in my house with my parents constantly in a tug o war  over lyrics, album covers and whatever else. It was great to spend time anywhere that not only allowed but encouraged me to crank up my radio. 

Some songs just sound better loud and "Welcome to the Jungle" will always be one of them.

Daily Boom Lost Hit: Alice Cooper - 'Poison'