Dancing in the Street

Album: Diver Down (1982)
Charted: 38
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This was originally recorded by Motown group Martha & the Vandellas in 1965. It was written by Marvin Gaye along with songwriters Ivy Hunter and William Stevenson.
  • Van Halen was looking for a cover song to release as a single following their 1981 Invasion tour to fill the gap before their next album. Eddie Van Halen couldn't come up with a guitar riff for this in time, so they did "Pretty Woman" instead. They recorded "Dancing in the Street" with the album and released it at the same time.
  • This is one of the few songs that Eddie overdubbed his guitar on. Most Van Halen songs at the time were recorded live, with very little overdubbing, but it was the only way Eddie could get the textured sound he wanted.
  • Diver Down contained four other cover songs. The band needed a break from songwriting and chose to fill the album with other people's songs.
  • Eddie played the synthesizer intro at the beginning. The synthesizer became a big part of the Van Halen sound 2 years later on their album 1984.
  • The tour to support the album was called the "Hide Your Sheep Tour."
  • The video for this song was only the second Van Halen made. The first was for "Pretty Woman."
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Comments: 7

  • Jake from Salt Lake, UtDavid Lee Roth Was Believed To Be A Big Jim Dandy Fan From The Band Black Oak Arkansas Which Covered Dancin In The Streets On The Album Street Party In 1974
  • Luke from Manchester, EnglandYes, Mick Jagger and David Bowie covered it in the 80s
  • Kevin from Breda, NetherlandsThe Who also made a Cover on their BBC Sessions album
  • Pudgemuffin from Buffalo, NyThe Mamas And the Papas also did a cover of this song.
  • Ted from Loveland, CoFor the second year in a row, Van Halen was notably absent from the list of nominees for next years Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. (this is the second year they've been eligible)
  • Joel from Montreal, CanadaThe Grateful Dead covered this on the 1977 album Terrapin Station. Excellent album, excellent cover.
  • Tim from Hendersonville, TnMick Jagger and *I think* David Bowie did another cover of this as well. It had more of a horn section in it, but they copied the VH bass line, which was not in the original Martha & the Vandellas version.
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