This is my only escape from it all :: Throwback Thursday

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Robert De Niro’s Waiting… :: Bananarama
from the album, Bananarama (1984)
Throwback Thursday

“Don’t try to change me,
you’re wasting your time. 
Now I’ve got something much better in mind.”

talking italianA Little History:

Robert De Niro’s Waiting… is a song written and recorded by UK girl group Bananarama. It was the second single released from their self-titled second album in 1984.


The single is one of the group’s strongest performing releases, peaking at # 3 in the UK singles chart. It made a brief appearance on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, peaking at # 95.


An extended version of the song was available on the 12″ single. The B-side of both 7″ and 12″ singles was a song called Push! Also included on the 12″ single, was an unlisted track; a different version Link from Bananarama.


Bananarama re-recorded Robert De Niro’s Waiting… with Latin instrumentation on their 2001 album Exotica.


The music video (see above) was directed by Duncan Gibbins and shows Bananarama walking around dark streets, possibly followed by mafia-style clothed men. When it gets to the bridge part of the song, Bananarama member Sarah Dallin is shown running along, looking behind her as if being followed.


As the video winds down, Sarah and the other two members of Bananarama, Siobhan Fahey and Keren Woodward, are back in their apartment, when the door bell rings. Keren answers the door, only to be confronted by the man who might have been chasing them, armed with a Mafia-style violin case. As she looks nervously at him, the case falls open to reveal a sign saying “Pizza Delivery,” along with three pizzas.

Both the man and Keren start laughing, and the video ends with Bananarama in their apartment eating the pizza and laughing.


The song itself was much more somber when it started, as it originally told the story of a girl who gets raped and uses her Robert De Niro fantasy as an escape. They toned it down to make the song more palatable, as it would become the first single from the album, and it would need to get airplay.


The reason De Niro is “talking Italian” has been credited to Steve Jolley, who wrote and produced the song with his partner Tony Swain, who thought that Italian was a more romantic language, and that De Niro speaking it would make him more appealing to the girl. The girls in Bananarama collaborated with Jolley and Swain in writing the song, and they have been quoted as “hating the line”. They let it stand in an effort to minimize arguements — as they had been battling over wanting to do something different, with Jolley and Swain pushing for them to stick with their hit formula.


A Little Memory:

Girl groups in the 80’s were a definite musical obsession of mine. My bedroom walls were filled with posters, pin-ups, magazine pages, and album covers that celebrated my obsessions with girl groups, New Wave bands (especially Duran Duran), and some random cinematic crushes. The girl groups, especially Bananarama, were not only music favorites of mine, but go-to fashion inspirations. Bananarama exuded Pop, Punk, Ska and New Wave with a look that was also unique to them, or at least unique to where they are from. For an adolescent girl growing up in conservative Orange County, and dealing with the restrictions of parochial school, they were unique and rebellious and wonderful.
I had that purple lipstick, and wore my hair like Siobhan Fahey, and spun their first two albums constantly.
A few years later, my last year in High School, my love for 80’s girl groups came back hard and strong. My friends and I embraced the songs, singing into hair brushes, throwing improv concerts for each other in our living rooms and bedrooms, dyeing each other’s hair, recording karaoke-style on double-cassette players our voices singing songs like Robert De Niro’s Waiting, and we tried on their styles again, and what we perceived as their rebellious natures. Madonna and Kim Wilde were added to the bunch, as were The Bangles, Blondie and Siouxsie Sioux.
Bananarama was still one of our top favorites, and we fell back in love with this song.

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