Great Moments In Pop – The 80s Part 16.

Although I am not hugely interested in the history of the American singles chart, I have sometimes wondered if there were any groups in the 80s that could be considered to be the American equivalent of The Belle Stars or Bananarama. And that reminds me, Bananarama formed in 1979, but didn’t release their first single until 1981. We can only imagine what a single released by them in ’79 or ’80 would’ve sounded like.

When I was having a look online recently though, I did manage to come across a group that could fit the description I was aiming for, which was pleasing. Pulsallama were a female punk group from New York that formed in the early-80s. By the time their first single was released, they were a septet (just like The Belle Stars were), although they had previously been a dectet, and at one point they were said to have had as many as 13 members (I don’t even think there’s a word for that).

They were rather anarchic, and their gigs in various nightclubs were somewhat shambolic. They played a lot of percussion instruments, along with anything they could get their hands on that made a loud noise. They also wore bright clothes and had outrageous hairstyles. The song by them that caught my attention was “The Devil Lives In My Husband’s Body” from 1982. I just thought that it was all really rather bizarre. It Is a sort-of comedy song where a story was told. Someone is making growling noises in the house, but there isn’t a dog…

Well I presume that this was being played for laughs. So I decided to find out more about them. It turns out that “The Devil Lives In My Husband’s Body” was released as a single in the UK in July 1982. They were also interviewed on American TV and John Peel played this on his BBC Radio 1 show. And in Smash Hits, “Ungawa Part II (Way Out Guiana)” was reviewed (although I thought that this was the B-side?). This seemed to be well received, and described as “their music is rough and ready and rubs like sandpaper” and “great fun”. Cowabunga!

This wasn’t a hit though. Their second and final single in the UK “Oui Oui (A Canadian In Paris)” was released in March 1983, and this was also reviewed in Smash Hits, where it was compared to The Belle Stars, along with Record Mirror, where it was, er, compared to The Belle Stars. This wasn’t a hit either, and then, after about three years together, Pulsallama split. I’m particularly amused that they ever existed at all though.

A very belated album consisting of some songs that were recorded in 1983 was released in 2020. It seems that they still have a cult following with the small amount of people who were lucky enough to see them perform live. Were they ever an influence on early Bananarama? I wouldn’t know for sure. That would be great though. I presume that they have never got back together because they all wouldn’t be able to fit on stage at the same time.


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