The Safety Dance
|"The Safety Dance"|
|Single by Men Without Hats|
|from the album Rhythm of Youth|
|Released||January 14, 1983 (Canada)
March 16, 1983 (U.S.)
August 22, 1983 (UK)
|Genre||New wave, synthpop|
|Length||4:36 (album version)
2:47 (single version)
|Men Without Hats singles chronology|
"The Safety Dance" is a song written and recorded by Canadian new wave band Men Without Hats; and to date, it remains their biggest hit. It was initially released in Canada in January 1983 as the second single from the band's first full-length album, Rhythm of Youth. The song was written by Ivan Doroschuk after he had been kicked out of a club for pogoing. The song entered the Canadian top 50 in February 1983, peaking at #11 on May 14. In the meantime, "The Safety Dance" was released in the US on March 16, but did not enter the US charts for a few months. When it finally did, the record became a bigger hit than it had been in Canada, peaking at #3 in September 1983. It also reached number one on Cash Box, as well as number one on the Billboard Dance Chart. "The Safety Dance" similarly found success in other parts of the world, entering the UK charts in August and peaking at #6 in early November, and entering the New Zealand charts in November, eventually peaking at #2 in early 1984.
Meaning of the song
The writer/performer, Ivan Doroschuk, has explained that "The Safety Dance" is a protest against bouncers stopping dancers pogoing to 1980s New Wave music in clubs when disco was dying and New Wave was up and coming. New Wave dancing, especially pogoing, was different from disco dancing, because it was done individually instead of with partners and involved holding the torso rigid and thrashing about. To uninformed bystanders this could look dangerous, especially if pogoers accidentally bounced into one another (the more deliberately violent evolution of pogoing is slam dancing). The bouncers did not like pogoing so they would tell pogoers to stop or be kicked out of the club. Thus, the song is a protest and a call for freedom of expression. Other lyrics in the song include references to the way pogoing looked to bouncers, especially "And you can act real rude and totally removed/And I can act like an imbecile".
Doroschuk responded to two common interpretations of the song. Firstly, he notes it is not a call for safe sex. Doroschuk says that is reading too much into the lyrics. Secondly, he explained that it is not an anti-nuclear protest song per se despite the nuclear imagery at the end of the video. Doroschuk stated that "it wasn't a question of just being anti-nuclear, it was a question of being anti-establishment.
The music video for the song, directed by Tim Pope, is notable for its English folk revival imagery, notably Morris men, Mummers, Punch and Judy and a Maypole. It was filmed in the village of West Kington, near Chippenham, in southwest England. Ivan Doroschuk is the only member of the band to actually perform in the video. Doroschuk, and others in the video, can be seen repeatedly forming an "S" sign by jerking both arms into a stiff pose, one arm in an upward curve and the other in a downward curve, apparently referring to the first letter in 'safety'. The Morris Dance side in the video was Chippenham Town Morris from Wiltshire, performing Monkton Park. The dwarf actor is Mike Edmonds; his T-shirt in the video shows the "Rhythm of Youth" album cover.
After many years of speculation about the identity of the female dancer in the video, on 25 February 2013 the band's official Facebook page revealed her to be Louise Court, who went on to become a journalist and is now the UK editor of Cosmopolitan.
||This section needs additional citations for verification. (February 2013)|
|Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)||7|
|Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)||10|
|Canada Top Singles (RPM)||11|
|Germany (Media Control AG)||2|
|Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)||29|
|New Zealand (RIANZ)||2|
|South African Chart||1|
|Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)||4|
|UK Singles (The Official Charts Company)||6|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||3|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play||1|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks||21|
- Sperounes, Sandra (2011-05-12). "Good dance tunes don't die". edmontonjournal.com. Retrieved 12 May 2011.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications)
- "Safety Dance". Lyrics on Demand. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
- "True Spin interview".
- "You Can Dance If You Want To". April 25, 2010. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
- "Facebook posting from band revealing identity of female dancer". February 25, 2013. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
- "Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance – Austriancharts.at" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Hung Medien.
- "Ultratop.be – Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Ultratop & Hung Medien / hitparade.ch.
- "The safety dance in Canadian Singles Chart". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
- "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche – musicline.de" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
- "Irish Singles Chart – Search for song". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
- "Nederlandse Top 40 – Men Without Hats search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Stichting Nederlandse Top 40.
- "Charts.org.nz – Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance". Top 40 Singles. Hung Medien.
- "Norwegiancharts.com – Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance". VG-lista. Hung Medien.
- John Samson. "The safety dance in South African Chart". Retrieved 2 June 2013.
- "Swedishcharts.com – Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance". Singles Top 60. Hung Medien.
- "Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance – swisscharts.com". Swiss Singles Chart. Hung Medien.
- UK Singles Chart Chartstats.com (Retrieved 7 April 2008)
- "Rhythm of Youth awards on Allmusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
- Men Without Hats – Official Site
- Ivan Doroschuk explains meaning behind song
- Website of dancers who appear in the video
- Full lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics
"Flashdance... What a Feeling" by Irene Cara
|Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single
July 2, 1983
"(Keep Feeling) Fascination" by The Human League
"Puttin' on the Ritz" by Taco
|Cash Box Top 100 singles
October 1, 1983
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