The three founding members of Bananarama spent many cruel summers apart since Sibohan Fahey left the group in 1988. But after almost 30 years, the ladies have reunited to hit the road together for the first time.
“It just seemed like such a tragedy that we hadn’t done it when we shared sort of the prime years,” Keren Woodward tells PEOPLE of never getting to tour with Fahey. “This is just a proper celebration of that period.”
Woodward, 56, and fellow Bananarama cofounder Sara Dallin went on to release numerous albums and tour together, joined by Jacquie O’Sullivan from 1988–91. Meanwhile, Fahey moved to Los Angeles and formed the pop-rock duo Shakespears Sister. But the original trio never lost touch.
“The last few years when we managed to get together for evenings and dinners and stuff, we just had such a laugh,” Woodward says. “Once we got together, it was so obvious that it was going to work.”
Though Bananarama isn’t working on new music just yet, they’ve begun rehearsals for their Original Line Up tour that kicks off its U.K. dates in November. They’ll also come to the U.S. for four shows in February.
“It’s kind of like we’ve never been apart,” Woodward gushes. “We’re having moments and we’re virtually in tears of the emotion of it all. I’m hoping that we don’t cry on stage!”
She also recalls an instance that had the British threesome quite emotional decades ago: “The first time I got recognized in the Sates, it was by Mike Tyson. He sang ‘Cruel Summer’ at us as we were walking out of the hotel to go to the beach. We’d gotten used to it over in Europe, but to actually be recognized over the pond was quite exiting for us.We totally ran down the road and started screaming.”
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Once named the most successful girl group of all time in the Guinness Book of Records, Bananarama has come a long way since their days of pilfering toilet paper from studios. “When we first were working, we had no money. We were all sharing this ghastly flat and we had nothing,” Woodward explains. “I didn’t think of it as stealing, just take bits home from the studio that we needed.”
Still, Woodward looks back on the early era fondly.
“You come back together and realize how amazing it all was,” she says. “We’re reliving that now. I’m just so glad were doing this.”
Bananarama’s U.K. tour starts Nov. 9 in Belfast, with the North American dates beginning Feb. 20 in L.A.