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Springsteen wrote this about his difficulty writing a hit single and his frustration trying to write songs that will please people. Ironically, it was a hit single - the biggest of his career in terms of chart position.
Directed by Brian DePalma, the video was filmed at the St. Paul Civic Center in Minnesota on June 28, 1984. The audience was not real: it was made up of about 200 extras. Courteney Cox got the role of the adoring fan in the front row who gets to dance on stage with Bruce. She landed a role on the sitcom Family Ties soon after.
The video was contrived and certainly did not capture the raw energy of his live shows, but it was Springsteen's first clip to get heavy airplay on MTV, and introduced him to a new, mostly younger audience.
In the 1985 Rolling Stone reader's poll, this was voted Single of the Year
This was the last song written for Born In The U.S.A.
This won Springsteen his first Grammy. In 1985, it got the award for Best Male Vocal.
Springsteen wrote this after his manager, Jon Landau, demanded a hit single from the album. After a brief altercation, he complied and wrote this that same night. Springsteen had over 70 songs written for Born In The U.S.A., but his manager, Jon Landau, wanted a guaranteed hit to ensure superstar status for Springsteen.
Due to its catchy beat, the somewhat depressing lyrics to this song were lost on most listeners. Springsteen's "Born In The U.S.A." had the same thing happen, as the message was lost in the music.
This was the first of 7 top 10 singles on Born In the U.S.A. and the only one released before the album.
In 1985, Tina Turner performed this on her Private Dancer tour. Her version appears on the album Tina Turner - Live in Tokyo. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
A rather intriguing cover of this song was by the group Big Daddy, who hit #21 UK with their version. The concept behind Big Daddy is that a band crash landed on an island while out on tour in the late '50s or early '60s, and when they were rescued in the early '80s, tried to revive their career. Music had changed drastically by then, so they started covering '80s music in the only style they knew how to play. The result is a kind of modern Pat Boone sound.
The original concept for the music video was to have Springsteen literally dancing in the dark - shot against against a black background. Jeff Stein was the director, and Daniel Pearl, famous for his cinematography on "Every Breath You Take
," was the director of photography. Pearl and Springsteen got in a kerfuffle over how he should be shot, with Springsteen wanting a filter and Pearl insisting on hard lighting. Bruce walked out after a few takes, and ended up shooting the video with Brian DePalma. A few years later, despite his efforts to avoid Springsteen, Pearl found himself working on the "Human Touch
" video. Pearl says that Springsteen apologized for the "Dancing In The Dark" debacle and asked to work with him again, as he realized Pearl was right about the lighting.
Al Jourgensen of Ministry
In the name of song explanation, Al talks about scoring heroin for William Burroughs, and that's not even the most shocking story in this one.
Kristian Bush of Sugarland
Kristian talks songwriting technique, like how the chorus should redefine the story, and how to write a song backwards.
Ozzy biting a dove? Alice Cooper causing mayhem with a chicken? Creed so bad they were sued? See if you can spot the real concert mishaps.