In case you haven’t noticed, an “extremely dangerous” heatwave has descended upon New York City. If you’re having trouble dealing with these record-breaking temperatures, London pop trio Bananarama has some tips in their epic music video for “Cruel Summer,” shot in Brooklyn in July and August of 1983: Dance down the street in overalls and combat boots and pretend you’re in The Dukes of Hazzard and throw bananas at the cops who start chasing you, and your cruel summer will turn into a hit song!
The video was shot in DUMBO, and what’s now Pier 1 of Brooklyn Bridge Park, the ice cream lighthouse, and the still-intact auto body shop all make appearances. “[It] played on the darker side (of summer songs): it looked at the oppressive heat, the misery of wanting to be with someone as the summer ticked by,” singer Sarah Dalin told The Guardian in 2009. “We’ve all been there!”
“[It] was just an excuse to get us to the fabled city of New York for the first time,” singer Siobhan Fahey told Rob Tannenbaum of the video in I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution. “It was August, over one hundred degrees. Our HQ was a tavern under the Brooklyn Bridge, which had a ladies’ room with a chipped mirror where we had to do our makeup.”
After a tiring morning, Bananarama met some local dockworkers back at the tavern, who shared some cocaine with them, which the band members claimed they’d never tried. “That was our lunch,” Fahey said. “When you watch that video, we look really tired and miserable in the scenes we shot before lunch, and then the after-lunch shots are all euphoric and manic.” In part thanks to those dock workers, “Cruel Summer” became a top ten hit in Britain and the US, and later was part of the soundtrack for 1984 film The Karate Kid. Ace of Base covered it in 1998.
Here, Bananarama demonstrates the right way to deal with a heatwave.
Follow Carey Dunne on Twitter @CareyDunne