The Bananarama’s “Cruel Summer” was an immediate success when it was released in the UK, reaching No. 8 on the UK Singles Chart, and the group performed the song live on the BBC’s Top of the Pops in July 1983. 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 U.S.).
The group did not allow the song to be included on the film’s soundtrack album, but it still reached No. 9 in the U.S., their first top ten hit there. 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’s biggest chart success was in South Africa, where it peaked at No. 3.
The song has since been revived in various forms. It has 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 reached Gold in the US).
Blestenation sampled and remixed the song to make their own, also named “Cruel Summer” but with radically altered lyrics and structure; there are two edits of this song, one of which appeared on the 2002 Blue Crush soundtrack.
Since its success, the group have recorded another three versions of the song. “Cruel Summer ’89” was released in 1989, and given a new jack swing makeover, featuring Dallin and Woodward’s vocals as a duo for the first time.
It reached number 19 on 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. They released another updated version in 2009, as a B-side of their single “Love Comes“.
The song was also featured as the theme tune of the first series of Trouble‘s reality show of the same name, where a group of young adults was sent off to a holiday camp, only to be tortured and humiliated in an attempt to win a large sum of money. Wiki