Cruel Summer (song)

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"Cruel Summer"
Single by Bananarama
from the album Bananarama
B-side "Cairo"
Released 27 June 1983 (UK), 1984 (US)
Format 7" single, 12" single
Recorded August 1982
Genre Pop, new wave
Length 3:35
Label London Records
Writer(s) Sara Dallin
Siobhan Fahey
Keren Woodward
Steve Jolley
Tony Swain
Producer(s) Tony Swain, Steve Jolley
Bananarama singles chronology
"Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye"
"Cruel Summer"
"Robert De Niro's Waiting..."


"Cruel Summer '89"

"Megarama '89"
Alternative cover
"Cruel Summer '89" cover
Music sample

"Cruel Summer" is a pop song written and originally performed by Bananarama that was a top ten hit in Britain in 1983. Singer Sara Dallin said the song "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. We've all been there!"[1]


"Cruel Summer" was not an immediate international success when it was released. Although it hit #8 on the UK Chart, its international popularity soared after its inclusion in the 1984 feature film The Karate Kid; this was a year after the song's original release (the song was released in 1984 in the US). The group did not allow the song to be included in the film's soundtrack, but regardless it was their first top ten hit (#9) in the USA. When Bananarama were still struggling to make money in their early years, they even performed the song at a beauty contest in Hawaii.

The song has since been revived in various forms. It appeared in several television commercials, and was covered by other acts, such as Ace of Base, who scored an international hit with it (their version even reached gold in the US), and Blestenation on the Blue Crush soundtrack. In 2003, Swedish electronica female artist Sophie Rimheden sampled the beat and bassline from the song on the track "In Your Mind" of the album HiFi. In 2011, Athens, Ohio-based rock band Downplay covered the song on their album "Beyond the Machine."

Since its success, the group have recorded another three versions of the song. "Cruel Summer '89" was recorded with new member Jacquie O'Sullivan in 1989, and given a new jack swing make-over. It reached number nineteen in the UK singles chart in June. This version was not included on any Bananarama album until 2005's Really Saying Something: The Platinum Collection.

Another version of the song was recorded and featured on their 2001 album Exotica. This version featured Latin instrumentation and additional lyrics, but it was not released as a single. In 2009 they released another updated version as a B-side to their single "Love Comes".

The song was also featured as the theme tune to the first series of Trouble's reality show of the same name, where a group of young adults were sent off to a holiday camp, only to be tortured and humiliated in an attempt to win a large sum of money.

Music video[edit]

The music video was shot in New York City in June 1983 and features a take on the American TV show The Dukes of Hazzard, with a bumbling cop duo who chase the girls as they make their escape in a truck (at one point, Bananarama members throw bananas at a trailing police cruiser).

"[It] was just an excuse to get us to the fabled city of New York for the first time," says Siobhan Fahey. She recalls the shoot as a difficult experience. "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."[2]

After an exhausting morning, the band returned to the tavern for lunch. They made the acquaintance of some of the local dockworkers, who upon learning of their situation shared vials of cocaine with them. "That was our lunch" said Fahey, who had never tried the drug before. "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."[2]

The music video for the 1989 remix was a compilation of different shots from Bananarama's earlier videoclips. Notably missing are clips from the original 1983 video. Fahey is only featured in a pair of frames. Bananarama were unable to record a proper video for the song due to being in the middle of a world tour at the time of release.

Track listing[edit]

UK 7" vinyl
  1. "Cruel Summer" (Album Version) 3:35
  2. "Cruel Summer" (Summer Dub) 3:32
UK & US 12" vinyl
  1. "Cruel Summer" (Extended Version) 4:55
  2. "Cruel Summer" (Summer Dub) 5:15
  3. "Cairo" 3:15

Cruel Summer '89[edit]

UK CD single
  1. "Cruel Summer '89" (Swing Beat Version) 3:22
    Also available from CD the albums The Works, Now That's What I Call Music 15 and Really Saying Something: The Platinum Collection.
    Remixed by Freddy Bastone
  2. "Venus" (The Greatest Remix Edit) 3:42
    Remixed by Phil Harding & Ian Curnow
  3. "I Heard a Rumour" (Corporation Of Bananarama Remix) 5:44
    Remixed by Freddy Bastone
Japanese 3-inch CD single
  1. "Cruel Summer '89" (Swing Beat Dub) 5:20
    Also available from the CD albums The Greatest Remixes Collection and The Very Best of Bananarama.
    Remixed by Freddy Bastone
  2. "I Heard a Rumour" (Corporation Of Bananarama Remix) 5:44
    Remixed by Freddy Bastone
  3. "Venus" (The Greatest Remix) 7:57
    Remixed by Phil Harding and Ian Curnow
Other versions
  1. "Cruel Summer" (2001 Version) 4:05
    Taken from the album Exotica
  2. "Cruel Summer" (Digital Mix) 6:03
    Taken from the album The Twelve Inches of Bananarama
  3. "Cruel Summer '09"
    B-Side of "Love Comes" single



Chart performance[edit]

Original version[edit]

Ace of Base version[edit]

"Cruel Summer"
Single by Ace of Base
from the album Flowers/Cruel Summer
Released July 7, 1998
Genre Pop, eurodance, dance-pop
Length 3:33
Label Arista
Certification Gold (USA)
Ace of Base singles chronology
"Life Is a Flower"
"Cruel Summer"
"Travel to Romantis"
Music video
"Cruel Summer" (Ace of Base version) on YouTube

In 1998, the Swedish group Ace of Base recorded the song at the request of their British record label London Records (who also had released the original version). Produced by Cutfather & Joe, the song was released as the second single from their third album Flowers and as the lead single from the American version of the album titled Cruel Summer. It reached number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified gold. It also reached number eight in the United Kingdom, matching the peak of the original Bananarama version.

A different "dancier" version of the song (big bonus mix) was released on mainland Europe and in the United Kingdom.

Music video[edit]

A music videos was filmed and directed by Nigel Dick. There are three versions of the video:

  • "Cruel Summer"
  • "Cruel Summer" (Big Bonus Mix)
  • "Cruel Summer" (Frenglish version featuring Alliage)

The original video and the video using the Big Bonus Mix contain identical and similar footage, whereas the Frenglish version contains completely new footage.

Track listings[edit]

  1. Cutfather and Joe Mix
  2. Big Bonus Mix
  3. Hartmann and Langhoff Short Mix
  4. Hartmann and Langhoff Club Mix
  1. "Cruel Summer" (Cutfather and Joe Mix)
  2. "Don't Turn Around" (The 7" Aswad Mix)
  3. "Beautiful Life" (Single Version)
US Maxi CD
  1. Album Version a.k.a. Cutfather and Joe Mix
  2. Hani Radio Mix a.k.a. Blazin' Rhythm Remix
  3. KLM Radio Mix
  4. Hani Num Club Mix
  5. KLM Club Mix
US Promo 12" Vinyl
  1. KLM Dub 1
  2. KLM Beats
  3. Hani Dub
  4. KLM Short Dub

Chart performance[edit]

Ace of Base & Alliage version[edit]

"Cruel Summer"
Single by Ace of Base & Alliage
Genre Pop, house
Alliage singles chronology
"Je sais
"Cruel Summer"
"Je l'aime à mourir"
Ace of Base singles chronology
"Cruel Summer"
Music video
"Cruel Summer" (Ace of Base / Alliage version) on YouTube

Ace of Base united with the French boy band Alliage and re-recorded as a duet in a release designed specifically for the French markets. It is bilingual in English and French with added lyrics to the original. Ace of Base also performed the song live on French television joined by Alliage.

The joint version peaked at #24 in SNEP, the official French Singles Chart.

Chart Peak
France (SNEP)[28] 24

Rico Bernasconi vs Ace of Base version[edit]

"Cruel Summer"
Single by Rico Bernasconi vs Ace of Base
Genre House, progressive house, electronic dance
Rico Bernasconi singles chronology
"Cruel Summer"
Music video
"Cruel Summer" (Rico Bernasconi vs Ace of Base version) on YouTube

Rico Bernasconi released a remix EP with 8 remix versions of Ace of Base version of "Cruel Summer" which peaked at #69 in Germany.[29]

Track list[edit]

  1. "Cruel Summer (Screen Mix)" (3:19)
  2. "Cruel Summer (Tom Pulse Sunshine Radio Mix)" (3:00)
  3. "Cruel Summer (Original Club Mix)" (6:21)
  4. "Cruel Summer (Tom Pulse Sunshine Club Mix)" (5:24)
  5. "Cruel Summer (Max Farenthide Remix)" (5:48)
  6. "Cruel Summer (DJ Tom Cut Remix)" (5:26)
  7. "Cruel Summer (DJ Tomekk vs. Anady Club Remix)" (6:10)
  8. "Cruel Summer (Chris Galmon vs. Christopher GrEy Club Mix)" (6:13)


  1. ^ Rogers, Jude (22 July 2009). "What makes a great summer pop hit?". The Guardian. 
  2. ^ a b Marks, Craig; Tannenbaum, Rob (2011). I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution. New York, NY: Dutton. p. 271. ISBN 978-0-525-95230-5. 
  3. ^ " – Bananarama – Cruel Summer" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  4. ^ "Cruel summer in Canadian Top Singles Chart". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  5. ^ "Cruel summer in French Chart" (in French). Dominic DURAND / InfoDisc. 24 June 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013.  You have to use the index at the top of the page and search "Bananarama"
  6. ^ "Bananarama – Cruel Summer". GfK Entertainment.
  7. ^ a b "Cruel summer and Cruel summer '89 in Irish Chart". IRMA. Retrieved 24 June 2013.  Only results when searching "Cruel summer"
  8. ^ " – Bananarama – Cruel Summer" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  9. ^ " – Bananarama – Cruel Summer". Top 40 Singles.
  10. ^ John Samson. "Cruel summer in South African Chart". Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  11. ^ a b "Bananarama". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c "Bananarama awards on Allmusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  13. ^ Whitburn, Joel. Top Adult Contemporary 1961-2001. Record Research Inc., 2002. Entry "Bananarama", p. 28.
  14. ^ "Cruel summer '89 in German Chart". Media control. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  15. ^ "Bananarama – Cruel Summer '89 –". Swiss Singles Chart.
  16. ^ "Ace Of Base – Cruel Summer –" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  17. ^ " – Ace Of Base – Cruel Summer" (in Dutch). Ultratip.
  18. ^ " – Ace Of Base – Cruel Summer" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  19. ^ "Ace Of Base – Cruel Summer". GfK Entertainment.
  20. ^ " – Ace Of Base – Cruel Summer" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  21. ^ " – Ace Of Base – Cruel Summer". Top 40 Singles.
  22. ^ " – Ace Of Base – Cruel Summer". Singles Top 60.
  23. ^ "Ace Of Base – Cruel Summer –". Swiss Singles Chart.
  24. ^ "1998 Top 40 Official UK Singles Archive - 10th October 1998". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  25. ^ a b c d e f g "Ace of Base awards on Allmusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  26. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1998". Retrieved 2010-08-28. 
  27. ^ RIAA Gold & Platinum Searchable Database - Ace of Base Singles, accessed 2009-07-10
  28. ^ Hung Medien. "Cruel summer in French Chart". Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  29. ^ "Cruel summer in German Chart". Media control. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 

External links[edit]