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Bananarama - Love In The First Degree (1987)

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  • 80's Score80's Score 80's score: 1.91
  • Find this song on: Music Stack

"Love in the First Degree" is a song by English girl group Bananarama from their fourth studio album, Wow! (1987). It was ...

"Love in the First Degree" is a song by English girl group Bananarama from their fourth studio album, Wow! (1987). It was released on 28 September 1987 as the album's second single, except in the United States, where it was released in 1988 as the third single (following "I Can't Help It"). The track was co-written and produced by the Stock Aitken Waterman (SAW) trio.

The song is an uptempo pop tune similar to many hits produced by SAW during this time period. The surreal lyrics, composed by Siobhan Fahey and built upon by SAW and Bananarama members Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward, describes a dream in which they find themselves being tried in court for love. The musical structure could be compared to that of Pachelbel's Canon. The B-side was "Mr. Sleaze" in which Bananarama member Sara Dallin not only sang on that track but also played bass guitar, as she did on "Love in the First Degree".

"Love in the First Degree" peaked at number three on the UK Singles Chart, tying with "Robert De Niro's Waiting..." (1984) and "Help!" (1989) as Bananarama's highest-charting single in the United Kingdom to date. The single also charted within the top 10 in Australia, Belgium, Ireland, Norway and South Africa, and the top 20 in Finland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. In the United States, the song reached number 48 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 10 on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart.

As one of their final performances with Fahey, the group performed the song at the 1988 Brit Awards with a large entourage of male dancers dressed only in black bikini briefs. The song was nominated for British Single of the Year at that year's Brit Awards, but lost to Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up", also produced by Stock Aitken Waterman.

By the time "Love in the First Degree" was released in the United States, Fahey had already announced her departure from Bananarama.

The record sleeves for "Love in the First Degree" and "I Can't Help It", were switched with each other, for UK, and North American markets.

The song was featured in episode 3 of the 2019 comedy-drama TV series Back to Life, where it is sung in a recording by some teenage girls.

Music video

The music video for "Love in the First Degree", directed by Andy Morahan, features the group performing the song in a jail cell, dressed in prison uniforms, as several male dancers perform around them. The imagery plays off of Elvis Presley's 1957 film Jailhouse Rock. Fahey was pregnant with her first child at the time of filming. Sections of the video featuring acrobatics used body doubles.

On Bananarama's The Greatest Hits Collection video compilation, the music video for "Love in the First Degree" is intercut with the live performance of the song at the 1988 Brit Awards, which was Fahey's last performance with the group before her departure.

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