Dancing in the Dark (Bruce Springsteen song)

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"Dancing in the Dark"
Single by Bruce Springsteen
from the album Born in the U.S.A.
B-side"Pink Cadillac"
ReleasedMay 3, 1984
Format7" single, 12" single
RecordedMarch 1984
GenreRock, power pop, synthrock[1][2]
Length3:59
LabelColumbia
Writer(s)Bruce Springsteen
ProducerJon Landau, Chuck Plotkin, Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen singles chronology
"Fade Away" (US) (1980)
"Open All Night" (UK) (1982)
"Dancing in the Dark"
(1984)
"Cover Me"
(1984)
Born in the U.S.A. track listing
 
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"Dancing in the Dark"
Single by Bruce Springsteen
from the album Born in the U.S.A.
B-side"Pink Cadillac"
ReleasedMay 3, 1984
Format7" single, 12" single
RecordedMarch 1984
GenreRock, power pop, synthrock[1][2]
Length3:59
LabelColumbia
Writer(s)Bruce Springsteen
ProducerJon Landau, Chuck Plotkin, Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen singles chronology
"Fade Away" (US) (1980)
"Open All Night" (UK) (1982)
"Dancing in the Dark"
(1984)
"Cover Me"
(1984)
Born in the U.S.A. track listing

"Dancing in the Dark" is a platinum-certified 1984 song, written and performed by American rock singer Bruce Springsteen. It spent four weeks at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and eventually sold over one million singles in the US alone. Adding up-tempo synthesizer riffs and some syncopation to his sound for the first time, it became his biggest hit and, as the first single released from Born in the U.S.A., propelled it to become the best-selling album of Springsteen's career.

History[edit]

"Dancing in the Dark" was the last song written and recorded for Born in the U.S.A. Springsteen's producer and manager Jon Landau liked the album but wanted a sure-fire first single, one that was fresh and directly relevant to Springsteen's current state of mind (because much of Born in the U.S.A. had been written two years earlier). Landau and Springsteen argued and Springsteen later wrote "Dancing in the Dark". His irked mood from the day's argument, combined with the frustrations at trying to complete the album, poured out into the lyrics.[citation needed]

Remixes[edit]

In a first-for-Springsteen effort to gain dance and club play for his music, Arthur Baker[3] created the 12-inch "Blaster Mix" of "Dancing in the Dark", wherein he reworked the album version. The remix was released on July 2, 1984. The result generated a lot of media buzz for Springsteen, as well as actual club play; the remix went to #7 on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart, and had the most sales of any 12-inch single in the United States in 1984.[3]

Live performance history[edit]

"Dancing in the Dark" was a featured song throughout the 1984-1985 Born in the U.S.A. Tour, usually being played as the second song of the second set. Echoing the music video, the song's outro would be extended while Springsteen searched the front rows of the audience for a woman (played in the music video by the twenty-year-old future Friends star Courteney Cox) to pull up onstage and dance with. The dance that Courteney Cox performed during the video later became the inspiration for Carlton Banks' famous dance in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. On SNL in 1995, Cox appeared in a parody of "Dancing in the Dark" with Adam Sandler portraying Springsteen. At random parts of the song, a clip of Clarence Clemons dancing and clapping from the music video was also shown. Being pulled up onto stage became quite the prize for the female faithful, and considerable jostling for position with stage security and each other could take place. Once up, some fans danced well, others wanted hugs more than steps, and some just froze.[citation needed]

During the 1988 Tunnel of Love Express, the song was usually the next-to-last song of the second set, but it was played much the same and the same pull-the-girl-on-stage routine took place. However, by the start of the 1992 "Other Band" Tour, the song was drastically reshaped as a slow, tired harangue on solo electric guitar with no fan and no dancing. This interpretation only lasted a dozen or so performances before it was dropped from the set list.[citation needed]

Though it was his biggest hit, "Dancing in the Dark" gradually disappeared from Springsteen concerts for a decade, until it resurfaced as a regular encores selection shortly after the start of the 2002-2003 Rising Tour. Now presented in a more rock-oriented arrangement, it was warmly received by fans and stayed in the show for the balance of the tour, after which it went back into retirement for Springsteen's subsequent not-rock-band tours.[citation needed]

The song found its revival on Springsteen's Magic Tour in Fall of 2007, where it replaced "Waitin' on a Sunny Day" as the penultimate encore song for the later shows on the tour. The song has been performed 429 times through 2008.[citation needed]

On the 2009 Working on a Dream Tour, the song appeared intermittently during the encores. However, Springsteen for the first time played a number of music festivals during the routing, and "Dancing in the Dark" closed all of them: Pinkpop Festival, Bonnaroo Music Festival, Glastonbury Festival, and Hard Rock Calling. When played live in recent years, the song features a harder, guitar-driven sound, with the distinctive synthesizer riff being supplied by Soozie Tyrell's violin.

During the 2012 tour the song again became a regular at live shows with audience members selected to dance not just with Bruce, but with other band members too, especially new band member Jake Clemons. Springsteen family members appeared on stage for this song on occasion, with mother Adele doing the 'Courteney Cox' dance at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia at the start of the tour,[4] and daughter Jessica dancing on stage with Bruce in Paris on 5 July [5]

Track listings[edit]

7": Columbia / 38-04463[edit]

  1. "Dancing in the Dark" - 3:59
  2. "Pink Cadillac" - 3.33

12": Epic / TA4436[edit]

  1. "Dancing in the Dark" (Extended Remix) - 6:09
  2. "Pink Cadillac" - 3.33

12": Columbia / 44-05028[edit]

  1. "Dancing in the Dark" (Blaster Mix) - 6:09
  2. "Dancing in the Dark" (Radio) - 4:50
  3. "Dancing in the Dark" (Dub) - 5:30

Chart success[edit]

Released as a single prior to the album's release, the song spent four weeks at #2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart (his highest charting song to date) in June–July 1984 (it was kept off the #1 spot by Duran Duran's "The Reflex" and that year's song of the summer, Prince's "When Doves Cry").[6] It did reach #1 on the Cash Box Top 100 Singles chart. It was also the first of a record-tying seven top 10 hit singles to be released from Born in the U.S.A. "Dancing in the Dark" also held the #1 spot for six weeks on Billboard's Top Tracks chart.[7]

Although the song only peaked at #5 in Australia, it remained on the charts for most of 1984 and was that country's highest selling single of the year. It spent a total of 64 weeks in the Top 100.[citation needed]

In the UK, "Dancing in the Dark" originally reached number 28 in the UK Singles Chart when released in May 1984. However, the song was re-released in January 1985 and subsequently reached number 4 in the charts, becoming the 27th best-selling single of the year.

The recording also won Springsteen his first Grammy Award, picking up the prize for Best Rock Vocal Performance in 1985. It also won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Stage Performance. In the 1985 Rolling Stone readers poll, "Dancing in the Dark" was voted "Song of the Year". The track has since gone on to earn further recognition and is as such listed one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.

Chart (1984/85)Peak
position
US Billboard Hot 100[8]2
U.S. Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks1
Belgium (VRT Top 30 Flanders)[9]1
Canada (RPM)3
United Kingdom (The Official Charts Company)4
Ireland (IRMA)2
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[10]11
Dutch Top 401[11]
Belgian Singles Chart1
Australian Singles Chart5
New Zealand Singles Chart2
Norwegian Singles Chart7
Swedish Singles Chart2
Preceded by
"Magic" by The Cars
Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks number-one single
June, 9 – July 21, 1984
Succeeded by
"No Way Out" by Jefferson Starship
Preceded by
"Don't You (Forget About Me)" by Simple Minds
Dutch Top 40 number-one single
June 22, 1985 – June 29, 1985 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"19" by Paul Hardcastle
Preceded by
"19" by Paul Hardcastle
Belgian Singles Chart number one single
July 6, 1985 – July 12, 1985 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"A View to a Kill" by Duran Duran
Preceded by
"19" by Paul Hardcastle
Belgian Singles Chart number one single
July 27, 1985 – August 9, 1985 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Tarzan Boy" by Baltimora

Cover versions[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Popular Music in America: The Beat Goes On - Michael Campbell - Google Books. Books.google.co.uk. 2011-12-15. Retrieved 2012-11-09. 
  2. ^ iTunes Review - itunes.apple.com "the ultra-modern synth-rock of "Dancing in the Dark"
  3. ^ a b Bruce Springsteen: Two Hearts : The Definitive Biography, 1972-2003, Dave Marsh, Psychology Press, 2004, p.491
  4. ^ Hollywood Reporter, 30 March 2012
  5. ^ http://brucebase.wikispaces.com/2012#050712
  6. ^ Marsh, Glory Days, p. 219.
  7. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 593.
  8. ^ "Bruce Springsteen Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for Bruce Springsteen.
  9. ^ Belgian peak
  10. ^ Nyman, Jake (2005). Suomi soi 4: Suuri suomalainen listakirja (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 951-31-2503-3. 
  11. ^ "De Nederlandse Top 40, week 25, 1985". Retrieved 2008-03-01. 
  12. ^ "Video Gallery | Late Night | All Videos : Newest | NBC". Latenightwithjimmyfallon.com. Retrieved 2012-11-09. 

References[edit]