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This is what I am. I have periods of enormous self-
I watched my mother waste her life on housework and swore I'd never do that.
I come from the home-
Pop music allows you to be who you are without having to wear a social uniform or to conform, which some people find impossible to do.
I just can't seem to write songs about peace and love. Yeah right, how do you get that?
I've always craved to belong to somewhere, but I never have and never will.
Born Siobhan Maire Fahey in Dublin, Ireland to Helen and Joseph Fahey on the 10th of September. She spent her early childhood in Germany and various parts of England and Scotland coming to rest at the age of 14 in St Albans, Herts where she got into Glam, then Soul, then Punk in fast succession.
At the age of 18 Siobhan turned down a place at Trinity College, Dublin and headed
to London where the music obsessed teenager landed a job as a press-
Keren worked at the BBC in the pensions department and when Sara and Siobhan left
college they got jobs behind the bar at The Marquee spending their evenings-
Finding herself homeless Siobhan moved into the attic Sara and Keren shared above the Sex Pistols rehearsal studio. Their friend, the Pistols drummer, Paul Cook had offered the room to the girls; it had no hot water, no toilet, a leaky roof and rats in the courtyard but it was filled with Sid Vicious's old clothes and the Pistols” musical instruments. Soon Siobhan, Sara and Keren were experimenting in the Pistols” rehearsal studio and Bananarama was born. The girls soon decided to share lead vocals, rehearsing with various musician friends including Pistols” Paul on drums.
Siobhan’s first ever stage appearance had been at The Rainbow in Finsbury Park, North London, doing backing vocals for her friend, Nick Egan’s band, The Tea Set, who were supporting Iggy Pop. The song was a version of "Step On", originally a hit by John Congos, but later to be revived by the Happy Mondays. By now Bananarama were playing live around town, notably supporting The Jam for three nights at the Sobell Centre.
After only a couple of rehearsals, they recorded a rendition of “Aie a Mwana”, an
old favourite of Siobhan’s. An obscure African disco track, it was originally recorded
by French African band Black Blood. Bananarama's version was released on the indie
label Demon in September 1981 where Gary Crowley was now working as a talent scout.
Paul Cook played drums on the track and co-
Bananarama’s first press mention was by Siobhan’s old flatmate Vaughan Toulouse (from Department S) who had friends at both NME and The Face magazines. In a profile called "Portrait of The Artist as a Consumer" Vaughan had named Bananarama as “Tipped For The Top” and in August 1981 the NME had run a small article on the band. “Aie a Mwana” was becoming increasingly popular in the London clubs (charting a respectable #92 in England, and #26 on the Billboard import charts).
In November 1981 another article ran in the new style magazine The Face, coinciding
with the re-
The track was recorded just before Christmas in 1981 alongside the vocals for another
track “The “Funrama” Theme” which was issued on the B-
"It Ain’t What You Do" was originally a big band swing song performed by trumpeter Sy Oliver. The remake by The Fun Boy Three with Bananarama was released on Chrysalis Records in February 1982, peaking at #4 spending 12 weeks in the UK charts, earning a silver disc and ranking 37th top selling single of 1982. Its success in England lead to international releases with Bananarama performing on “Top of the Pops” (!) and making promotional trips in Europe.
Having no experience, no manager, no developed set, and no original songs, they decided
to release another cover, this time an old Motown classic, The Velvelettes' "Really
Saying Something". Once again, they collaborated with The Fun Boy Three who produced
the track. Released in April 1982 as Bananarama & The Fun Boy Three, "Really Saying
Something" sold well. Reinforced with appearances on Top of the Pops, the single
peaked at #5, spent ten weeks in the UK charts, and ranked 57th of the top 100 singles
of 1982. (Its B-
For their next single the girls went to producers Steve Jolley and Tony Swain who
were responsible for Imagination’s hits (and later, Spandau Ballet and Alison Moyet).
"Shy Boy" was released in July 1982 and was another top five hit single, peaking
at #4, spending ten weeks in the charts and ranked #63 of the top selling singles
for the year. Its B-
Bananarama were quickly becoming household names and darlings of the trendy music magazines: their mixture of fashion sensibility, punk connections, and clever selection of songs worked, particularly at a time when the pop charts were dominated by men. The girls were now writing their own material and had begun searching for suitable producers for the debut album.
Their next single "Cheers Then" was released as a Christmas single in December 1982. The single was a departure from Bananarama’s pop sound, being more balladic and peaked at a disappointing #46 after spending six weeks in the UK charts.
Following that they released a cover of Steam’s 1969 classic "Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye)". The track turned out to be another top ten success peaking at #5 in England and the 69th highest selling single for 1983.
The success of another cover hit also marked the beginning of a long period of press
derision towards Bananarama. Slated as talentless bimbos, their hard drinking and
hard partying ways seemed unfathomable to the chauvinistic press and music execs,
they were making things up as they went along, wearing self-
The debut LP, entitled "Deep Sea Skiving" was released hard on the heels of the "Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye)" single. Released in March 1983, singles sales translated into respectable album sales with a chart peak of #7 in the UK. The eleven track album featured a hotchpotch of tracks from different producers: Steve Jolley, Tony Swain (“Shy Boy”, “Boy Trouble”, “Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye)”), Barry Blue (“Doctor Love”, “Young At Heart”, “What A Shambles”, “Cheers Then”, “Hey Young London”, “Wish You Were Here”), Dave Jordan, Fun Boy Three (“Really Saying Something”), and Paul Cook, John Martin (“Aie a Mwana”). Of interest, is the track “Doctor Love” which was written by Paul Weller (The Jam, and later, The Style Council).
The track “Young At Heart”, a co-
The track "Cruel Summer" was released in July 1983, and peaked at #8 in the UK. Bananarama
travelled to New York to make it’s supporting video, which cost all of £10,000. The
success of "Cruel Summer" did eventually translate into their first break-
In 1983, Bananarama made a guest appearance in a Eurythmics video for "Who’s That Girl”. Their next single was "Rough Justice" and Radio One had refused to play "Robert de Nero’s Waiting" until it was a hit. Without the support of radio airtime, the single peaked at #23 in May 1984.
The second album, “Bananarama”, charted #16 in England. The follow-
In 1984 after watching a harrowing documentary on the famine in Ethiopia Bob Geldof decided to put together a record to raise awareness and money for the Ethiopian Famine. In a massive collaborative effort all the well known pop and rock stars of British music spent 24 hours recording "Do They Know It’s Christmas?". Released in November 1984, the single went on to be an international hit, a UK #1 and one of the biggest selling UK singles of all time.
“Venus” was released in May 1986. The video clip was beautifully directed by Peter Care and struck the perfect note with the MTV generation and appealed enormously to a gay audience. In all its camp splendour, “Venus” went on to be an extremely successful international hit reaching #1 in eight countries including the US, and top ten in many others (#8 in UK in May 1986, 72nd top selling single for 1986).
Their first single from the fourth album, "WOW!" was the Bananarama-
The second single from "WOW!" was the very successful "Love In The First Degree";
again accompanied by a fabulous video: a mock of Jailhouse Rock, with the now standard,
three male Bananarama dancers (to “doll” up the set in the same manner that rock
bands used skimpily-
The third single from "WOW!", the raunchy "I Can’t Help It" (December 1987, UK #20),
came with a video clip that needed to be censored before MTV would air it, muscle
marys in a milk-
In early 1988 Siobhan started working with US musician Richard Feldman (who lived
opposite her in LA and had a studio in his garage) and decided to adopt the name
Shakespear's Sister, after a Smith’s song and a feminist essay by Virginia Wolf.
They began to work with backing singer Marcy Levy, who co-
On the set of the first Shakespear’s Sister video, for the debut single "Break My Heart", Siobhan met the director Sophie Muller. Sophie soon became Siobhan’s best friend, muse and confidante. Shakespear’s Sister’s debut album “Sacred Heart” went on to spawn the hit “You’re History” peaking at a respectable #7 in the UK alone.
In 1990 Siobhan asked Marcy to collaborate on the second album with the help of Dave and Alan Moulder. Much of the album was recorded in George Harrison’s home studio and eventually completed by the start of 1991. During the recording Siobhan was pregnant with her second son who was born in December 1990 and named Django. Hence the album title "Hormonally Yours".
The first single, "Goodbye Cruel World" was a minor hit, and was accompanied by a
clever Sophie Muller video that played on elements from the cult movie "Whatever
Happened To Baby Jane?", "Sunset Boulevard" and even "Citizen Kane". The second "Stay"
Subsequent singles releases were also Top 10 hits ("I Don’t Care", "Hello (Turn Your
Radio On)" and a re-
throughout 1992, and sales of the “Hormonally Yours” album narrowly missed the two million units mark.
1993 saw Siobhan beginning work on the third album. Recorded between 1993 and 1996
she went for even more of a glam sound. Several songs were written with Robert Hodgens
The outcome, eventually in 1996, was the release of the single "I Can Drive" (co-
By the middle of 1997, Siobhan had left her record company of nearly 15 years having become disillusioned with the record industry, record companies and the moguls within it. Siobhan’s split with London records coincided with her split with Dave, and with two young sons to care for she would take a break from music making for the next four years.
In 1998 when TV makers Rapido asked her to contribute a track to a special one-
Also in 1998, the fruits of a project that Siobhan had been working on began to surface. "Was It Something That I Said" by "MGA Starring Siobhan Fahey" was issued on a special CD that came with a new magazine, The Passion, run by "Hormonally Yours" band member Carrie Booth. MGA had begun in 1991, when Siobhan teamed up with video director Sophie Muller to write songs to fit around the script of a movie that they would make together. "Was It Something That I Said" was also used as the intro music for a BBC programme "The Fear". The album, “MGA Sessions”, was released exclusively through siobhanfahey.com in 2004.
In 1994, Siobhan had appeared in a film directed by Sophie called "Jiggery Pokery" shown on BBC2. Then, in 1996 she took the lead role in a short Irish film written and directed by Kieren Donnelly for Irish television station RTE. Entitled "Pinned" the film harshly portrayed the gritty drug scene in Ireland and was shown at film festivals in the summer of 1997.
In 2000, Siobhan decided to return to music making writing with Marco Pirroni (of
Adam and the Ants), Gully and Clare Kenny (guitarist and bass player from the "Hormonally
Yours" years) as well as collaborating with Pablo from the Psychonauts and Wildcat
Will from the Sandals, Electric Moccasins Of Doom and Beth Orton’s band. In addition
she also contributed two tracks to a dance album "Electric Stew" and in the same
year she began a brief but celebrated DJ career and was described by Elle Magazine
in 2002 as "the must-
The first single from this album, "Bitter Pill" was mixed by Richard Norris (formerly of The Grid) and his partner in crime Andy Chatterley (AKA The Droyds) and released in September of 2002 on their new label "God Made Me Hardcore". “Bitter Pill” went on to be covered by the Pussycat Dolls on their first album under the guise “Hot Stuff (I Want You Back)” with an altered chorus and the album going on to sell 7 million copies.
Siobhan has also contributed a dark electro cover of Joy Division’s “She’s Lost Control” to the first Agent Provocateur album, “Peepshow” with the infamous video featuring the burlesque performer Dita Von Teese and a certain George W Bush. She has recorded “White Rabbit” for their second album and performed at various Agent Provocateur shows throughout 2008.
In August 2008 Siobhan returned to acting starring as Nina Hamnett in the Chris Ward film ”What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor” which has been shown in various film fests in 2009.
Siobhan spent 2009 largely travelling, coming to rest in LA where she has newly relocated for the time being. Batteries recharged she has scheduled some Shakespears Sister gigs which will take place in Europe in October and November in time for the release of her 4th Shakespears Sister record entitled " Songs from the Red Room", which is out now!
In 2009, Siobhan performed live on stage as Shakespears Sister, at the Underbelly in Hoxton, London. The show proved to be a big success and encouraged the band to take their act on the road for a full UK tour in 2010.
Shakespears Sister kicked off their tour on April 16 2010 in Liverpool, and closed at the Isle Of Wight festival in July. The band were joined by new support vocalist, Katherine Prado, who performed the complex higher pitched vocals original conceived by Marcella Detroit. katherine proved to be a welcome addition to the outfit.
In late 2010, Siobhan began laying down new acoustic flavoured versions of her back catalogue with son, Sam. She has continued to record several new tracks, including a full live album, which will be released as part of a CD/DVD set later in 2011.
Shakespears Sister recently released their own version of the hit ‘Really Saying Something’, to commemorate the 30 years anniversary of Bananarama, which Siobhan co founded in 1981. In late 2011, the Cosmic Dancer album was released, featuring a body of work recorded during the making of Songs From The Red Room, mainly acoustic flavoured with covers of some of Siobhan’s favourite tracks.
Siobhan’s has recently been working with director, Trevor Miller. The collaboration started in 2011, when she penned four new songs in French and English, for Trevor’s film, Riot On Red Church Street, in which Siobhan has a cameo as a backing vocalist. The pair have just started writing a new TV series together about the lives of the members in a girl band, something Siobhan has plenty of experience in. Watch this space!