Bananarama tell the world how it all began
THEY met at Bromley Heath Infant School when they were just four years old.
Within 20 years Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward were enjoying world-wide fame as founding members of the eighties girl band Bananarama.
Now the duo are about to release their memoirs, looking back on a glittering musical career spanning nearly four decades.
The book, Really Saying Something, is tightly under-wraps until its release date of October 29 but Downend Voice has it on good authority that the first chapter will be devoted to their childhood in the area.
Sara and Keren became international stars in the 1980s, first as a trio with Irish musician Siobhan Fahey, then, for nearly 30 years, as a duo.
Bananarama are one of the biggest-selling female bands of all time, with 28 Top 50 hit singles in the UK and 11 in the USA. They still hold the record for the most singles to chart by a girl group.
After leaving school, Sara and Keren moved from Bristol, seeking the bright lights of London.
Sara studied journalism at the London College of Fashion while Keren worked at the BBC.
They lived in a YWCA before moving into the semi-derelict former Sex Pistols rehearsal room and immersed themselves in Soho's thriving club scene. A year later they teamed up with Siobhan to form Bananarama.
A string of worldwide hits followed, including 'Cruel Summer', 'I Heard a Rumour and 'Venus'.
The women were renowned for their DIY style and their determination to do things on their own terms, which proved a breath of fresh air in a male-dominated industry.
After Siobhan left the group in 1988, Sara and Keren drafted in London-born Jacquie O'Sullivan who departed amicably in 1991. Siobhan returned between 2017 and 2018, with Sara and Keren continuing as a duo to this day.
The book has been described by publisher Hutchinson as “the story of two friends who continue to pursue their dreams their way – and have a great time doing it. It is a celebration of determination and a lifelong friendship, with an unbeatable soundtrack”.
Sara and Keren said: “We’d always steered our careers, written our own songs, made our own decisions. We were passionate, decisive and driven. We weren’t manufactured or moulded by record and management companies.
“As childhood friends, we could never have imagined the extraordinary life we had ahead of us.”
The book talks about playing party games with George Michael, their close friendship with the Prodigy's Keith Flint, hanging out with Andy Warhol in New York in 1989 and a Guinness World Record for the most worldwide chart entries of any all-female group.
As well as the highs, Sara and Keren speak frankly about the flip-side of fame, revealing their personal struggles,the impact motherhood had on their careers and the ageism and sexism they faced as women within the industry.
Really Saying Something by Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward is published by Hutchinson on October 29. Hardback, audiobook and eBook costs £20.
• Did you go to school with Sara and Keren? Do you have any stories to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org