This is one of the more complex and misinterpreted songs of the disco era. Written by Jon Lind and Allee Willis, it was inspired by the movie Looking For Mr. Goodbar
, which stars Diane Keaton as a lost soul who goes to clubs every night to dance away her misery.
In a Songfacts interview with Willis
, she explained: "When I saw Mr. Goodbar
, I got kind of fascinated with people who did go to clubs every night, whose life was kind of falling apart, but they lived for the night life, though it didn't seem to be advancing them as humans in the end. So if you really look at the lyrics of 'Boogie Wonderland,' unlike 'September
,' it's not a happy song at all. It's really about someone on the brink of self destruction who goes to these clubs to try and find more, but is at least aware of the fact that if there's something like true love, that is something that could kind of drag them out of the abyss.
So for instance, the first verse is:Midnight creeps so slowly into hearts of men who need more than they get
Daylight deals a bad hand to a women who's laid too many bets
The mirror looks you in the face and says, 'uh-uh baby, it don't work'
You say your prayers, though you don't care, you dance to shake the hurt
And then on this demo, it went right into the chorus, where with Earth, Wind & Fire it's more of a feel thing, and they do all the verses before they get to the chorus. And then the chorus is:All the love in the world can't be gone
All the need to be loved can't be wrong
All the records are playing
And my heart keeps saying 'Boogie Wonderland'
So 'Boogie Wonderland' for us was this state of mind that you entered when you were around music and when you danced, but hopefully it was an aware enough state of mind that you would want to feel as good during the day as you did at night."