Neha Patil (Editor)

Cruel Summer (song)

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B-side  "Cairo"
Recorded  April 1983
Length  3:35
Format  7" single, 12" single
Genre  New wave, synthpop
Released  27 June 1983 (UK), 1984 (US)

"Cruel Summer" is a pop song written and originally performed by the English girl group Bananarama. The song was a top ten hit on the UK Singles Chart in 1983, and the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. in 1984.


Bananarama 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!" It was ranked number 44 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the '80s.


"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 on the film's soundtrack album, but regardless it was their first top ten hit (#9) in the US. 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

The music video was shot in New York City in the summer of 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."

After an exhausting morning amidst shooting in the middle of a brutal August heatwave in the city, 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."

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.

In popular culture

The song is well known for being featured in the classic 1984 film The Karate Kid The song is featured in the Knight Rider episode "K.I.T.T vs K.A.R.R."

UK & USA 7" vinyl single

UK: London Records NANA 5 / USA: London Records 810 127-7

  1. "Cruel Summer" (Album Version) 3:35
  2. "Cruel Summer" (Summer Dub) 3:30
UK & USA 12" vinyl single

UK: London Records NANX 5 / USA: London Records 810 291-1

  1. "Cruel Summer" (Extended Version) 4:55
  2. "Cruel Summer" (Summer Dub) 5:15
  3. "Cairo" 3:15

Cruel Summer '89

UK CD single
  1. "Cruel Summer '89" (Swing Beat Version) 3:22
  2. "Venus" (The Greatest Remix Edit) 3:42
  3. "I Heard a Rumour" (Corporation of Bananarama Remix) 5:44
Japanese 3-inch CD single
  1. "Cruel Summer '89" (Swing Beat Dub) 5:20
  2. "I Heard a Rumour" (Corporation of Bananarama Remix) 5:44
  3. "Venus" (The Greatest Remix) 7:57
Other versions
  1. "Cruel Summer" (2001 Version) 4:05
  2. "Cruel Summer" (Digital Mix) 6:03
  3. "Cruel Summer '09"



  • Sara Dallin – Vocals
  • Keren Woodward – Vocals
  • Siobhan Fahey – Vocals
  • Ace of Base version

    In 1998, the Swedish pop group Ace of Base recorded the song at the request of their German and American record labels PolyGram and Arista Records. It 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. A different "dancier" version of the song (known as the Big Bonus mix on the album), produced by Stephen Hague, Jonas "Joker" Berggren, Ulf "Buddha" Ekberg, and Johnny Jam & Delgado, was released on mainland Europe and in the United Kingdom. The original album version, produced by Cutfather & Joe, was released in North America.

    "Cruel Summer" reached number 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and was certified gold. In the United Kingdom, the song reached number eight on the UK Singles Chart, matching the peak of the original Bananarama version. It also became Ace of Base' fifth and final top 10 single in the UK.

    Music video

    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.

    1. "Cruel Summer" (normal version) – 4:05
    2. "Cruel Summer" (Cutfather & Joe edit) – 3:33
    1. "Cruel Summer" (normal version) – 4:05
    2. "Cruel Summer" (Cutfather & Joe mix) – 3:33
    3. "Cruel Summer" (Hartmann & Langhoff radio edit) – 3:23
    4. "Cruel Summer" (Hartmann & Langhoff club) – 7:45
    5. "Into the Night of Blue" (bonus track)" – 4:11
    1. "Cruel Summer" (KLM club mix) – 10:27
    2. "Cruel Summer" (Hani Num club mix) – 8:13
    3. "Cruel Summer" (Soul Poets House Bust) – 3:40
    4. "Cruel Summer" (Hartmann & Langhoff club) – 7:45
    UK CD 1
    1. Cutfather and Joe Mix
    2. Big Bonus Mix
    3. Hartmann and Langhoff Short Mix
    4. Hartmann and Langhoff Club Mix
    UK CD 2
    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

    Ace of Base and Alliage version

    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.

    Rico Bernasconi vs Ace of Base version

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

    Track list

    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)


    Cruel Summer (song) Wikipedia