Single Of The Week 24/02/99

Single Of The Week is where I review a single I'm particularly enamoured of at the moment. It might be a brand spanking new release, or a classic from decades past that I just feel like going on about.

The Wild Life

One of my pet hates is when a band puts out a greatest hits album and doesn't include songs which are not available on their normal albums, such as soundtrack cuts, duets or attempts to work with particular producers that bombed before a whole album could be finished. (And don't even get me started on the George Michael/'Bad Boys' saga.) For dedicated fans -- and I'm nothing if not one of those -- these are practically the only way in which we can obtain these rarities, especially on the all-important CD format.

On the other hand, it's hard to sustain this argument when the song in question didn't actually make a chart impression, and the band is already overstocked with charting songs. Such is the case with 'The Wild Life', a little-known Bananarama single from 1984.

The song served as the title track for the movie of the same name, which is often described as a sequel-of-sorts to Fast Times At Ridgemont High. The girls put it together at very short notice; working with their then-current producers, Swain & Jolley, the entire thing was put together in less than a day. Despite (or perhaps because of) this rush, the track turned out pretty well, and was released as a single. A video was even put together, and can be found as a bonus track on the first Nanas video collection, And That's Not All . . . (Hanging Round His Neck Was A Big Black Ball).

Although Bananarama scored major hits in this period of their career with 'Robert De Niro's Waiting' and 'Cruel Summer', their singles were proving to be a bit hit-or-miss chartwise, and 'The Wild Life' was destined to join 'Hotline To Heaven', 'Rough Justice' and 'State I'm In' (also the B-side of this single) as minor hits not deemed worthy of 1988's The Greatest Hits Collection. The best we can now hope for is that eventually Liberation will, in their wisdom, decide to do a Bananarama box set, and fill it out with the many unavailable B-sides, as well as long-lost, CD-unavailable singles such as these. Bananarama are often depicted these days as the ultimate singles band, and however unfair a judgement that may be, it doesn't give their old label much excuse, now does it?

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