Bananarama talk being sung to by Mike Tyson and giving autographs to Michael Caine

Virgin Radio

21 Jul 2022, 12:31

One of the most successful pop duos around, Bananarama are celebrating 40 years in the industry with a new album and joined the Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky to talk all about it.

Keren Woodward and Sarah Dallin told Chris about one of their first demos, and that they have one of the Sex Pistols to thank for it. Keren recalled: "We had a demo which was suggested and organised by the delightful Paul Cook from the Sex Pistols whose birthday was yesterday."

Sarah joked: "We were in Denmark Street Keren and I above the old Sex Pistols rehearsal room," as Keren adds "Living in a hovel!"

"We have been back recently when we did the book. We went back and they've listed it now I think and they've actually perspexed the walls with all the drawings on," she explains, "Our names are on the walls from when we lived there along with Johnny Rotten's drawings."

Things developed quickly and 'Cruel Summer' went to number one in the USA after being featured in an iconic film.

"We were fortunate that the song was put in a film called The Karate Kid which was massive out there so that really shot us to fame. I think people would kind of amazed by us because we were a girl band and we looked so... you know... London! All of our mad hair and clothes. It was unusual for out there," Sarah said self-deprecatingly.

The rest is history! During the first lockdown the duo released a book, and in the second lockdown they worked on a new album, intending it to be an EP. Called 'Masquerade', the album is out tomorrow, their 12th studio record.

There have been some big changes over the years, says Sarah: "It's actually more exciting now because we self-released so we actually own the last album, and now this one. All of our previous albums, we don't own the music but these last two we do so that's nice."

They wouldn't change a thing though, says Keren: "It's been the most amazing life. We realised when we did the autobiography, how extraordinary our lives have been because we met when we were about four years old!"

"So to actually work together for 40 years on top of going to school together and having that life - it's been extraordinary."

Out of their incredible career, Sarah says there is one moment where they realised just how big a deal they were: "Realising we were famous was when we were coming down back from a diner in LA and we saw Mike Tyson sitting on the front of his limousine and he was singing 'Cruel Summer' to us. We thought 'how could you possibly know that?!"

"We were staying at the Sunset Marquis, he was outside with Naomi Campbell at the time and just sitting on the bonnet of his limousine... then he saw the three of us walking down the street and started singing. We were in shorts, and like typical Brits had plastic bags with our swimming costumes in."

There was another occasion too: "Michael Caine walked over and said, "Hi, I'm Michael Caine - Like we didn't know - my daughter's a fan. Would you mind signing something for her? And when you realise that famous people know who you are, that's kind of a real tipping point."

Their new album, 'Masquerade', is out tomorrow.

For more great interviews listen to  The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky, weekdays from 6:30am on Virgin Radio, or  catch up on-demand here.