Saturday, 4 October 2014

Bananarama/Lananeeneenoonoo 'Help!'

Chart Peak: 3
YouTube (Warning: contains shirtless Roland Rivron)
'Help!' was originally No.1 for the Beatles in Augst 1965 when Bananarama/Lananeeneenoonoo were only very little girls... This new version raced to No. 12 after only one week of release in mid-February 1989.
Possibly the most difficult-to-spell artist credit in the entire history of the Now albums, and the second track in a row with an exclamation mark in the title. It is of course also the second Sixties cover out of four tracks so far - as Mick Fleetwood mentioned at the Brits, that era was very prominent in the culture at the time.

This was the third official Comic Relief single, though the first released to coincide with an actual Red Nose Day event (a couple of weeks early in fact, but it was in the chart at the right time). Like the previous efforts by Cliff Richard and the Young Ones and Mel And Kim, it takes the form of a parody cover version that teams a game-for-a-laugh pop star and comedians; in this case French & Saunders and Kathy Burke reprise their parody of "The Bananas" which they debuted on their Christmas Special a few weeks earlier, bringing in the real group to play along. I presume it's only coincidence that Burke, a guest star rather than a regular member of the duo, gets to shadow the least-remembered Nana, Jacquie O'Sullivan.

Apart from a somewhat half-hearted Stock/Aitken/Waterman production, this track shares its main flaw with many of the early Comic Relief tracks - it's really more a soundtrack to a sketch than a record in its own right. It's quite funny to watch them lark about in the video, impersonating the original group and also impersonating the skiing scenes from the original Beatles movie (which are actually associated with 'Ticket To Ride' but close enough) - alas it loses too much in sound only. It's not got enough jokes to be consistently funny but there are too many for it to work as a straight cover version. Obviously, full credit to everyone for agreeing to do it, but it doesn't sound so good these days.

It does mean, though, that both Jennifer Saunders and Kathy Burke can claim to have appeared on more Now albums than Whitney Houston or the Manic Street Preachers. I don't know if they ever have claimed that, but I would.

Bananarama also appear on: Now 3, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15
Available on: 30 Years Of Bananarama (The Very Best Of) (Deluxe) [+video]

1 comment:

  1. Saunders can also be heard on Now 28 and Burke on Now 45 ;-)