“Cruel Summer” by Bananarama (1984)

As I type this, we’re about 3 days away from the beginning of actual summer in New York City, and we’re coming off the first weekend where it felt like summer. Kids were playing in the street, folks were headed off to the beach en masse, the air in NYC was thick with humidity and all of the smells that are associated with the Big Apple. In other words, the perfect time to cue up the first big American hit by British trio Bananarama.

Aside from being a hit during one of the best years for music ever, “Cruel Summer” gets points for its use in one of the cultural touchstone movies for kids growing up in the ‘80s, “The Karate Kid”. Remember the days when you could use a song in a movie and it didn’t seem like a crass promotional ploy? Remember the days when you could have a girl group and they didn’t all sound like they were going to develop throat problems by the time they were thirty? Remember gang vocals? How about remembering a time that was innocent enough that you could film a video in broad daylight in NYC? “Cruel Summer”’s a helluva nostalgia trip, but it’s also (still) a great record.

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