Flashdance... What a Feeling

Album: Flashdance Soundtrack (1983)
Charted: 2 1
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This was the title song to the movie Flashdance, one of the first films not fitting into the "musical" category that was centered around the songs. As more people started watching MTV, it became easier and more acceptable to integrate pop songs into films, which led to movies like Footloose and Dirty Dancing.
  • Irene Cara wrote the lyrics with the songwriter Keith Forsey; Giorgio Moroder composed the music and produced the track. Moroder and Forsey wrote many songs that became hits when they were used in '80s movies: Moroder wrote "Danger Zone" and "Take My Breath Away" for Top Gun, while Forsey wrote "Shakedown" for Beverly Hills Cop II and "Don't You (Forget About Me)" for The Breakfast Club.
  • The word "Flashdance" never appears in the lyric, but the song still relates to the movie, as it's specifically about dancing. Irene Cara was an accomplished dancer who not only sang the title song to Fame, but also starred in the film as an aspiring dancer. Said Cara: "'What a feeling' was a metaphor about a dancer, how she's in control of her body when she dances and how she can be in control of her life."
  • The movie Flashdance was released on April 15, 1983. On May 28, this song hit #1 US, where it stayed for six weeks. On June 25, the soundtrack when to #1 and stayed for two weeks, interrupting the run of Michael Jackson's Thriller, which had been at the top spot for 17 weeks and would return for another 20 (eventually knocked off by the Footloose soundtrack).

    On September 10, another song from Flashdance, Michael Sembello's "Maniac," also went to #1 US.
  • The backing track is powered by a LM-1 drum machine, programmed by Richie Zito, who also played guitar on the track. Producer Giorgio Moroder was an early adopter of the LM-1, which was the first programable unit to use real drum samples instead of synthesized sounds. "Maniac" also used the device.
  • Irene Cara won the 1983 Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female, for her work on this song. She and her co-writers also were awarded the Oscar for Best Original Song, beating out two songs from Yentl, one from Tender Mercies, and another Flashdance tune: "Maniac."
  • The video featured the dance sequence to Flashdance, which was the primary driver of the leg warmers trend of the '80s.
  • According to Giorgio Moroder, he wrote this song with Irena Cara in mind to sing because he loved what she did with the theme song to Fame.
  • The dance scenes in the video (and the movie), were performed by body double Marine Jahan. It was a well kept secret that Jennifer Beals did not dance in the film.
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Comments: 9

  • Barry from Sauquoit, Ny"Flashdance...What A Feeling" by Irene Cara spent six weeks at #1 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart, and it prevented two records from reaching #1,
    "Time (Clock of the Heart)" by Culture Club peaked at #2 for two weeks and Eddy Grant's "Electric Avenue" peaked at #2 for one week at the time "Flashdance' was in the top spot...
    And on July 3rd, 1983 it reached #2 {for 1 week} on the United Kingdom's Singles chart, the week it was at #2, the #1 record for that week was "Baby Jane" by Rod Stewart...
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn April 30th 1983, Irene Cara performed "Flashdance...What A Feeling" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    On March 27th, 1983 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #77; and on May 22nd, 1983 it peaked at #1 (for 6 weeks) and spent 23 weeks on the Top 100 (and for 14 of those 23 weeks it was on the Top 10)...
    After spending 6 weeks at #1 it fell to #3, and spent 4 straight weeks at that position...
    And on June 5th, 1983 it reached #1 (for 3 weeks) on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart...
    Three years earlier in 1980 she had another movie theme song on the Top 10, "Fame", it reached #4 and spent a half-year on the Top 100 (26 weeks)...
    Ms. Cara, born Irene Cara Escalera, celebrated her 55th birthday one month ago on March 18th, 2014.
  • Drew from B'ham, AlDisco was meant to be the most energetic, but Irene Cara, who used 4/4 time & perfected it, seems to be a minority. I suppose most disco drummers tended to be worn thin by energetic music & hadn't quite the energy Irene's drummer had. Stephanie Mills is another one in that awesome minority, along w/ Olivia Newton-John. All I can say about listening to this, & other 4/4 disco, for that matter, is "What a Feeling!"
  • Kent from Toronto, CanadaThe film (and hence indirectly, the song) was inspired by seeing a woman at a Toronto strip club, although the locale was changed in the movie.
  • Michael from San Diego, CaThis high energy tune is one of my favorite "celebration" songs. I like how it starts off slow & emotional, and then the tempo picks up quickly and just gets your heart rate up!
  • Guy from Wellington, New ZealandYeah, it's a fantastic song with its driving beat and Cara's magnificent voice. It's hard to listen to this and not feel incredibly uplifted.
  • Catherine from Glasgow, Englandwow, what a voice this woman has!!
  • Jorge from Mexicali, MexicoOne of my favorite all-time songs, as well as the movie. Jennifer Lopez did a tribute video a while back, recreating the scene with the bucket of water, which was also lampooned in the Simpsons (by groundskeeper Willie in the Mary Poppins parody episode) and Shrek 2 (by Puss in Boots at the end of the movie).
  • Marie from Florida, United StatesI love this song and whenever I hear it I always have a smile on my face. Irene Cara has a brilliant voice and I think this definetly helps make the song so memorable. Its a great song with an upbeat tune and positive lyrics. Its my favourite song and I love the scene in the film when Alex dances for her audition.
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