Song /Love In The First Degree
Bananarama / Love In The First Degree
"Love in the First Degree" is a song written and recorded by English girl group Bananarama. It is included on their fourth studio album Wow! and was released in 1987 as its second single except in the U.S., where it was released in 1988 as the album's third single (following "I Can't Help It"). The track was co-written and produced by the Stock Aitken Waterman (SAW) trio.
The song is an uptempo pop tune similar to many hits produced by SAW during this time period. The surreal lyrics, composed by Siobhan Fahey and built upon by SAW and Bananarama members Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward, describes a dream in which they find themselves being tried in court for love.
"Love in the First Degree" is Bananarama's biggest-selling single in their native UK. It holds a three-way tie for their highest UK singles chart placing (number three). The single also became a top-ten success in Australia and earned a top-twenty placing in New Zealand. In the United States the song just missed the top-forty, but was a top-ten club hit.
The B-side was Mr. Sleaze in which Bananarama member Sara Dallin not only sang on that track but also played bass guitar like she did on "Love in the First Degree".
As one of their final performances with Fahey, the group performed the song at the 1988 BRIT Awards with a large entourage of male dancers dressed only in black bikini briefs. The song was nominated for best British single at the BRIT Awards, but lost to Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up", also produced by Stock Aitken Waterman.
By the time "Love in the First Degree" was released in the United States, Fahey had already announced her departure from Bananarama.
The record sleeves for "Love in the First Degree" and "I Can't Help It", were switched with each other, for UK, and North American markets.
The music video, directed by Andy Morahan, features the group performing the song in a jail cell, dressed in prison uniforms, as several male dancers perform around them. The imagery plays off of Elvis Presley's 1957 movie Jailhouse Rock. Siobhan was pregnant with her first child at the time of filming. Sections of the video featuring acrobatics used body doubles.
On Bananarama's The Greatest Hits Collection video compilation, the videoclip for Love In The First Degree is intercut with the live performance of the song at the 1988 Brit Awards, which was Siobhan Fahey's last performance with the group before her departure.