Like many of Orleans' songs, this was written by their guitarist/vocalist John Hall and his wife/lyricist Johanna. The Halls divorced in 2000, and John was elected to congress in 2006.
In our interview with John Hall
, he told the story of the song: "I started playing it on acoustic guitar and developed it, just jamming by myself in the living room. The whole song - the verses, the bridge, the ending - was all complete coming out of my acoustic guitar. Johanna yelled from the other room, 'That sounds like 'Dance With Me.'' And I went, 'Can't we come up with something a little bit more unusual than that?" And she said, "I don't know, it really sounds like 'Dance With Me.''
She couldn't get past that and I couldn't get past that any further, so I played the instrumental version for Larry Hoppen and he said, 'Boy, you really need to finish that, that sounds like a hit song.'
So coming back from a show in Ithaca, New York, on the western part of the state, through the Woodstock area again, Johanna and I were riding in the car, and suddenly she says, 'Pick the beat up and kick your feet up.' She starts scribbling on another one of those envelopes, and by the time we got home, we had kicked the ideas back and forth and finished the lyric.
So that song took a couple of months from start to finish, but it's sort of organic the way it happened. Sometimes a song will start with a lyric, sometimes it'll start with the music, which it did in that case. And sometimes it's both being written at the same time. There's no wrong way or right way to write a song.