Dance Naked

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Dance Naked
Studio album by John Mellencamp
Released June 21, 1994
Recorded 1994
Genre Rock
Length 29:07
Label Mercury
Producer John Mellencamp, Mike Wanchic
John Mellencamp chronology
Human Wheels
Dance Naked
Mr. Happy Go Lucky
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars link
Entertainment Weekly B link
Robert Christgau (choice cut)[1]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars [1]

Dance Naked is the thirteenth studio album by American singer-songwriter John Mellencamp released in 1994. The album was released in response to the record company's accusations that Mellencamp's previous album, Human Wheels, didn't "fit the format." Mellencamp was irritated with this remark, feeling that none of his albums ever fit the format. As a result, he wrote several purposely radio-friendly songs and recorded them within the span of 14 days at his Belmont Mall recording studio in Belmont, Indiana, intending to show the lack of effort required to produce the type of album they were asking for.

Although Mellencamp claims that Dance Naked was merely an easy output to give the company what it wanted, the album was still well received. The most notable accomplishment was the largely successful single "Wild Night," a cover of the 1971 song by Van Morrison. The song featured Me'shell Ndegeocello on a duet with Mellencamp as well as the prominent bass lead. The single reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and charted at #1 on the Adult Contemporary List for 8 weeks.

The album itself reached #13 on the Billboard 200 and produced several music videos: two versions for "Wild Night," another for the title track "Dance Naked," and two unreleased videos for "L.U.V." and "Another Sunny Day 12/25."

Dance Naked was re-mastered and re-released on July 19, 2005, along with three other Mellencamp albums. The re-mastered edition includes an acoustic version of "Wild Night" as a bonus track.

Spin Magazine named Dance Naked the 20th best album of 1994.[2]


"'Wild Night' has always been one of my favorite songs," Mellencamp told the Boston Globe in 1994.[3] "The ironic thing is that young people think I wrote that song. Think about it. It's 23 years old. Even some of their parents were too young to hear it!" As for Ndegeocello's appearance, Mellencamp said: "I didn't know what I wanted to sing with her, but I just liked her spirit, so I asked her to come in. We don't use guests much. . . . So when Me'Shell showed up, I said, 'Hey, let's cut that old Van Morrison song!'"

"This is as naked a rock record as you're going to hear," Mellencamp told Billboard Magazine's Jim Bessman in an April 23, 1994 story. "All the vocals are first or second takes, and half the songs don't even have bass parts. Others have just one guitar, bass, and drums, which I haven't done since 'American Fool.' 'Hurts So Good' had one guitar, bass, and drums, and I think one tambourine."

Mellencamp says he and his bandmates "looked back at 'Human Wheels' and said, 'How can we make it more empty?' What you get when you do that is the haunting type of feeling that you won't get with lush productions like 'Human Wheels' and 'The Lonesome Jubilee,' which were big-production records."

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by John Mellencamp, except where noted.

  1. "Dance Naked" – 3:00
  2. "Brothers" – 3:14
  3. "When Margaret Comes To Town" – 3:20
  4. "Wild Night" (Van Morrison)– 3:27
  5. "L.U.V." – 3:01
  6. "Another Sunny Day 12/25" (Mellencamp, George M. Green) – 3:02
  7. "Too Much To Think About" – 3:02
  8. "The Big Jack" (Mellencamp, Green) – 3:23
  9. "The Breakout" (Mellencamp, Green) – 3:37
  10. "Wild Night" (acoustic) (2005 re-issue bonus track) - 3:19


  • John Mellencamp - vocal, guitar
  • Kenny Aronoff - drums, percussion
  • Toby Myers - bass
  • Mike Wanchic - guitars, organ, backing vocals
  • Andy York - guitars, organ, bass, percussion
  • Mike "Spud" Dupke - drums and percussion on "L.U.V."
  • Lisa Germano - backing vocals on "L.U.V."
  • Missy - backing vocals on "Dance Naked"
  • Me'shell Ndegeocello - bass and vocals on "Wild Night" and "The Big Jack"
  • Pat Peterson - backing vocals on "L.U.V."
  • Jimmy Ryser - acoustic guitar on "L.U.V."


Album - Billboard (North America)[4]

Year Chart Position
July 9, 1994 The Billboard 200 13

Singles - Billboard (North America)[5]

Year Single Chart Position
1994 "Wild Night" The Billboard Hot 100 3
1994 "Wild Night" Mainstream Rock Tracks 17
1994 "Junior" Mainstream Rock Tracks 35
1994 "Dance Naked" The Billboard Hot 100 41
1994 "Dance Naked" Mainstream Rock Tracks 21


  1. ^ Christgau, Robert. "CG: Artist 2278". Robert Christgau. 
  2. ^ "20 Best Albums of '94". December 1994. 
  3. ^ "For Mellencamp, it's only rock 'n' roll, not math". August 10, 1994. 
  4. ^ - Discography - John Mellencamp - Dance Naked
  5. ^ - Artist Chart History - John Mellencamp