COVER vs ORIGINAL: ‘Cruel Summer’

The song “Cruel Summer” was originally recorded by Bananarama.

by Christopher Smith

“Cruel Summer” was written and recorded by British girl trio Bananarama in 1983 with producers Steve Jolley and Tony Swain. The song was the first taster of their second, self-titled studio album, released the following year. It peaked at No.8 in the UK, becoming their fifth top ten hit there as well as charting all over Europe. After its inclusion on the film ‘The Karate Kid’, the song gave the girls their first US top ten hit, when it reached No.9 in 1984.

Bananarama re-recorded the song in 1989, now devoid of Siobhan Fahey but with new girl Jacqui O’Sullivan making the numbers up. “Cruel Summer ’89” was given a ‘new jack swing’ makeover following the enormous success of their 1988 “Greatest Hits Collection” album and again found chart success, this time peaking at No.19 in the UK, No.24 in Germany and No.2 in Finland.

The Swedish group Ace Of Base recorded “Cruel Summer” for their 1998 album “Flowers” and released it as the second single. This version was a huge hit all over the world, making the top ten in America, where it sold over half a million copies, as well as virtually every country in Europe. In the UK, the song equaled Bananarama’s original, peaking at No.8, fifteen years on from Sara, Keren and Siobhan’s first outing with it!

But which is best? BANANARAMA’s original, their own remake or ACE OF BASE’s cover?

Take a look at some of the other posts in this series and don’t forget to follow the playlist.

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