Shakespear’s Sister promised they would “Stay” but soon they were “(You’re) History”, and now they’re back! Yay!
A learned person once declared you can take a girl out of Bananarama, but you can’t take the Bananarama out of a girl! Wise words. Well, at the beginning of 1988, the unthinkable happened. Siobhan Fahey left the group with whom she had had so much success throughout the 1980’s and off into the dark unknown. It wasn’t for long. Later that year she met with American singer Marcella Levy (born in 1952) and began writing songs together.
Originally conceived as a solo project, Fahey adapted the name from The Smiths 1985 chart hit “Shakespeare’s Sister” and began working with producer Richard Feldman, who introduced her to Levy. Levy had recorded a couple of solo albums without much success and Fahey suggested that to distance herself from that part of her career she should adopt a different name, so having been born in Detroit, Michigan, Levy became ‘Marcella Detroit’. Their debut single, “Break My Heart”, was released towards the end of 1988 but, surprisingly for Fahey considering how well she was known, it bombed, failing to chart anywhere at all.
With writing and recording for their debut album taking up most of the first half of 1989, it was in July that a second single was issued, “You’re History” and this time things were very different. The single took off and made it to No.7 in the UK as well as reaching the top twenty across most of Europe and Australia. The album, “Sacred Heart” followed in August and would make the UK top ten gaining a Gold certification for sales of over 100,000 copies.
Two further singles were released in late 1989 and early 1990, “Run Silent” (UK No.54) and “Dirty Mind” (UK No.71). To further the promotion of the album, the title track was used in the hit British comedy film ‘Nuns On The Run’. Videos for all the singles were directed by Sophie Muller (a name that often crops up in Where Are They Now? features!).
The ‘girls’ spent the second half of 1990 and into 1991 writing and recording their follow up album, with the first single “Goodbye Cruel World” being released in October 1991 which only made it as far as No.59 in the UK and nowhere else. A second single came in January 1992, the haunting epic “Stay” but any fears this would go the same way were soon forgotten when it perched itself at the top of the UK singles chart and ‘stayed’ there for eight weeks!
It was the first time in the UK that Fahey had achieved a chart topping single and “Stay” would go on to sell over 600,000 copies there, becoming the fourth biggest hit of the year. It would achieve a top ten placing throughout most of the rest of the world too, peaking at No.4 in America and selling over half a million copies there. Their second album, “Hormonally Yours” was released the following month and would become a huge success, being certified double Platinum in the UK for sales of over 600,000 copies again and break the US album chart, albeit at No.56.
“I Don’t Care” was released in the Spring of 1992 and attained a UK chart high of No.7 and No.55 in the US. “Goodbye Cruel World” was re-released as the next single, this time reaching No.32 in the UK and was followed by “Hello (Turn Your Radio On)” in late 1992, reaching No.14 in the UK.
Sadly personal differences and infighting towards the end of 1992 would ring an end to Shakespear’s Sister, just as the duo were on top of the music world, and at the Ivor Novello Awards in early 1993, Detroit was ‘dismissed’ from the band. She would go on to have a hit album of her own in 1994 with “Jewel” that featured the singles “I Believe” and “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing” with Elton John. Siobhan Fahey kept the name of Shakespear’s Sister alive with three further albums, “#3” in 1996, “Songs From The Red Room” in 2004 and “Cosmic Dancer” in 2011.
But in 2017, after twenty nine years, Siobhan Fahey reunited with her Bananarama chums for a world tour to the delight of the their fans. With sellout shows in the UK, America and Australia, together with an expanded re-release of their hugely successful 1988 “Greatest Hits Collection“, the spotlight was once again on Fahey and in 2019 she announced that both she and Detroit had patched up their differences and had reformed Shakespear’s Sister as it once was! A new single “All The Queen’s Horses” is to be released together with a new hits album and a tour later this year. Welcome back girls!
“Singles Party” is out on 19th July, you can pre-order your copy by clicking here.
Shakespear’s Sister are touring the UK in October and November, for dates and to book tickets, click here.