Dance Naked

Album: Dance Naked (1994)
Charted: 41
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Songfacts®:

  • John Mellencamp made some lusty songs in his career, notably his 1982 hit "Hurts So Good." "Dance Naked" is another.

    The song finds him trying to get a girl not just naked, but dancing. It's a soft sell, as he puts her at ease by telling her he won't touch her, and she doesn't have to act naughty. At the time, Mellencamp was married to the model Elaine Irwin.
  • Dance Naked is the title track to Mellencamp's 13th album, recorded with a very back-to-basics approach at his studio in Indiana. His previous album, Human Wheels, was more complex, with songs that carried a lot more lyrical weight than "Dance Naked." That album didn't meet Mellencamp's sales expectations, which he blamed on a lack of promotion from his label, Mercury. He was determined to lighten the load on his next one, and he did.
  • The big hit from the album was a cover of Van Morrison's "Wild Night," where he teamed with Meshell Ndegeocello. "Dance Naked" was the next single; it got a smattering of airplay and topped out at #41 in the US.

    During the tour to promote the album, Mellencamp had a heart attack, but didn't know it until a doctor broke the news - he thought he was just under the weather. He made a strong recovery, taking up a workout routine and returning with another album, Mr. Happy Go Lucky, in 1996. He did not, however, quit smoking.
  • The black-and-white video finds Mellencamp singing in front of a movie screen where a glamorous, Audrey Hepburn-like actress steals the scene. By this time, Mellencamp was well out of the MTV demographic but his videos did well on VH1.

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