Love in the First Degree (Bananarama song)

This article is about the song by Bananarama. For the song by Alabama, see Love in the First Degree (Alabama song).
"Love in the First Degree"
Single by Bananarama
from the album Wow!
B-side Mr. Sleaze
Released 28 September 1987
Format 7" single, 12" single
Recorded October 1986
Genre Dance-pop
Length 3:33
Label London Records
Writer(s) Matt Aitken, Sara Dallin, Siobhan Fahey, Mike Stock, Pete Waterman, Keren Woodward
Producer(s) Stock Aitken Waterman
Bananarama singles chronology
"I Heard a Rumour"
"Love in the First Degree"
"I Can't Help It"

"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. The musical structure could be compared to that of Pachelbel's Canon.

"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.

Music video

The music video, directed by Andy Morahan,[1] 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.

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.

Track listings

7" single NANA14
  1. "Love in the First Degree" (Album Version) 3:33
  2. "Mr. Sleaze" 4:45
UK 12" single NANX 14
  1. "Love in the First Degree" (Jailer's Mix) 6:03
    Available on the CD album "The Greatest Remixes Collection".
  2. "Love in the First Degree" (Escapee Instrumental) 3:33
  3. "Mr. Sleaze" (Single Version) 4:45
2nd 12" single NANXR 14 / German 12" single 887 222-1
  1. "Love in the First Degree" (Eurobeat Style) 7:15
    Available on the CD album "Greatest Hits Collection".
  2. "Mr. Sleaze" (Rare Groove Mix) 6:00
U.S. 12" single
  1. "Love in the First Degree" (Eurobeat Style) 7:15
  2. "Love in the First Degree" (7" Mix) 3:33
  3. "Love in the First Degree" (Jailer's Mix) 6:03
  4. "Ecstacy" (Wild Style) 5:35

Other versions

  1. "Love in the First Degree" (House Mix) 5:45
    Available on the CD single "I Want You Back".




Chart (1987-1988) Peak
Belgian Top 30 (Flanders) 6
UK Singles Chart 3
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 48
U.S. Hot Dance Club Play 10
Australia (Kent Music Report)[2] 5
New Zealand singles 11
Switzerland singles chart 18
Spain singles chart 12
Dutch Singles chart 12

Cover Versions


In 2007, a mash-up of the song with Basement Jaxx's 2005 hit "Oh My Gosh" became popular on the internet.


  1. Garcia, Alex S. " - Bananarama - "Love in the first degree [version 1]"". Music Video DataBase. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  2. Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (Illustrated ed.). Sydney: Australian Chart Book. p. 26. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. N.B. The Kent Report chart was licensed by ARIA between 1983 and 26 June 1988.
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