It's great to have seen all the tributes to Garry that citizens of Boomtown have posted over the last few days - both on this site and the other Rats' social media pages. You've all shown how greatly he will be missed, but also what a warm and loving bunch of people Boomtown Rats fans are. Please continue to share photos and memories of him with us all.
I want to continue to celebrate Garry's massive contribution to the band by reflecting on the music of The Boomtown Rats and today's focus is on Banana Republic.
14th November 1980 was the date when Banana Republic was released in the UK. I think it’s fair to say that The Boomtown Rats never strayed far from controversy, so it may be difficult to claim this as their most controversial song – but it is certainly up there.
I drafted a piece on this single for its anniversary last year – you’ll be able to find it if you search CoB for “Banana Republic” – but I didn’t want to miss the anniversary of its release completely.
As I mentioned last year, the song was a big international hit and except for Japan (see below) and the red artwork used in the unusual (and very rare) Bolivian release (see last year’s post), the various releases around the world all tended to use the same picture sleeve artwork. This is the German version – though you’d be hard pressed to know it.
There were a series of re-issues in Germany called ‘Legendary Oldies’ and Banana Republic appeared with I Don’t Like Mondays. If you’re a collector, copies of this are quite difficult to find.
Just as in the UK, where Banana Republic was the last single to be released on the Ensign label, in Ireland it was the last on the Mulligan label before switching to WEA – though given the controversy associated with the song, I’m surprised it was released in Ireland at all!
As with all The Rat’s singles, they did things a bit differently in Japan, with this unique artwork.
Although never issued with picture sleeves, the song was also released in places as unlikely as South Africa and Rhodesia – as Zimbabwe was called back then.
But as I touched on in my post last year, it wasn’t released in the US or Scandinavia – with ‘Up All Night’ released instead.
I even managed to find a copy of an acetate for the UK release (copies come up for sale every now and then). Acetates are used early in the production process and only a few copies are made of each record. I love the smell of acetate discs!!
Banana Republic - one of The Rats’ biggest hits, with a truly global reach….....what a great record.