Dancing in the Dark (Bruce Springsteen song)

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"Dancing in the Dark"
Single by Bruce Springsteen
from the album Born in the U.S.A.
B-side "Pink Cadillac"
Released May 3, 1984
Recorded March 1984
Length 3:59
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen singles chronology
"Fade Away" (US) (1980)
"Open All Night" (UK) (1982)
"Dancing in the Dark"
"Cover Me"
Born in the U.S.A. track listing

"Dancing in the Dark" is a song written and performed by American rock singer Bruce Springsteen. With added uptempo synthesizer riffs and some syncopation to his sound for the first time, the song spent four weeks at number two on the Billboard Hot 100[1] and eventually sold over one million singles in the U.S. alone. As the first single released from his 1984 album, Born in the U.S.A., it became his biggest hit and propelled the album to become the best-selling one of his career.


The song is written in the key of B major with a tempo of 149 beats per minute[2] in common time. Springsteen's vocals span from G4 to G5.[3]


In a first-for-Springsteen effort to gain dance and club play for his music, Arthur Baker[4] created the 12-inch "Blaster Mix" of "Dancing in the Dark", wherein he reworked the album version. The remix was released on July 2, 1984. The result generated a lot of media buzz for Springsteen, as well as actual club play; the remix went to #7 on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart,[5] and had the most sales of any 12-inch single in the United States in 1984.[4]

Live performance history[edit]

On the 2009 Working on a Dream Tour, the song appeared intermittently during the encores. However, Springsteen for the first time played a number of music festivals during the routing, and "Dancing in the Dark" closed all of them: Pinkpop Festival, Bonnaroo Music Festival, Glastonbury Festival, and Hard Rock Calling. When played live in recent years, the song features a harder, guitar-driven sound, with the distinctive synthesizer riff being supplied by Soozie Tyrell's violin.[citation needed]

During the 2012 tour the song again became a regular at live shows with audience members selected to dance not just with Bruce, but with other band members too, especially new band member Jake Clemons. Springsteen family members appeared on stage for this song on occasion, with mother Adele doing the 'Courteney Cox' dance at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia at the start of the tour,[6] and daughter Jessica dancing on stage with Bruce in Paris on 5 July.[7]

Track listings[edit]

7": Columbia / 38-04463[edit]

  1. "Dancing in the Dark" - 3:59
  2. "Pink Cadillac" - 3:33

12": Columbia / 44-05028[edit]

  1. "Dancing in the Dark" (Blaster Mix) - 6:09
  2. "Dancing in the Dark" (Radio) - 4:50
  3. "Dancing in the Dark" (Dub) - 5:30

12": Epic / TA4436[edit]

  1. "Dancing in the Dark" (Extended Remix) - 6:09
  2. "Pink Cadillac" - 3:33

Music video[edit]

Directed by Brian De Palma, the video was shot at the Saint Paul Civic Center in Saint Paul, Minnesota on 28 and 29 June 1984. The first night was a pure video shot, the second was on the opening date of the Born in the U.S.A. Tour. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performed the song twice during that show to allow Brian De Palma to get all the footage he needed. The video is a straight performance video, with Springsteen not playing a guitar, allowing him to invite a young woman from the audience, performed by Courteney Cox, to dance along with him on the stage at the end.[8] In September 1985, the video won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Stage Performance.[9]

Chart success[edit]

Released as a single prior to the album's release, the song spent four weeks at #2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart (his highest charting song to date) in June–July 1984 (it was kept off the #1 spot by Duran Duran's "The Reflex" and that year's song of the summer, Prince's "When Doves Cry").[10] It did reach #1 on the Cash Box Top 100 Singles chart.[11] It was also the first of a record-tying seven top 10 hit singles to be released from Born in the U.S.A. "Dancing in the Dark" also held the #1 spot for six weeks on Billboard's Top Tracks chart.[12] In the US it also reached #1 on the Radio & Records CHR/Pop Airplay Chart on June 29, 1984 staying in that position for one week and remaining on the chart for twelve weeks.[13][13]

In the UK, "Dancing in the Dark" originally reached number 28 in the UK Singles Chart when released in May 1984.[14] However, the song re-entered the chart in January 1985 and subsequently reached number 4,[15] becoming the 29th best-selling single of the year.[16]

The recording also won Springsteen his first Grammy Award, picking up the prize for Best Rock Vocal Performance in 1985.[17] In the 1984 Rolling Stone readers poll, "Dancing in the Dark" was voted "Single of the Year".[18] The track has since gone on to earn further recognition and is as such listed one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.[19]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Chart succession[edit]

Preceded by
"The Reflex" by Duran Duran
Canadian CHUM Chart number-one single
30 June 1984 - 21 July 1984 (4 weeks)
Succeeded by
"When Doves Cry" by Prince
Cash Box Top 100 number-one single
30 June 1984 – 7 July 1984 (2 weeks)
Preceded by
"Magic" by The Cars
Billboard Top Tracks number-one single
9 June 1984 – 14 July 1984 (6 weeks)
Succeeded by
"No Way Out" by Jefferson Starship
Preceded by
"19" by Paul Hardcastle
Ultratop 50 Flanders number-one single
6 July 1985– 3 August 1985 (5 weeks)
Succeeded by
"I'm On Fire" by Bruce Springsteen
VRT Top 30 Flanders number-one single
6 July 1985 (1 week)
27 July 1985 - 3 August 1985 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"A View to a Kill" by Duran Duran
Succeeded by
"Tarzan Boy" by Baltimora
Preceded by
"Don't You (Forget About Me)" by Simple Minds
Dutch Top 40 number-one single
22 June 1985 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"19" by Paul Hardcastle

See also[edit]

Cover versions[edit]


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  6. ^ Hollywood Reporter, 30 March 2012
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  10. ^ Marsh, Glory Days, p. 219.
  11. ^ a b CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending JUNE 30, 1984 at the Wayback Machine (archived 30 September 2012[Date mismatch]). Cash Box magazine.
  12. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), p. 593.
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  14. ^ a b "Archive Chart: 1984-06-02" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  15. ^ a b "Archive Chart: 1985-02-16" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
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  18. ^ "Readers' Poll" Rolling Stone February 28, 1985: 26
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  22. ^ CHART NUMBER 1436 – Saturday, July 07, 1984 at the Wayback Machine (archived 7 November 2006). CHUM.
  23. ^ Nyman, Jake (2005). Suomi soi 4: Suuri suomalainen listakirja (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 951-31-2503-3. 
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  27. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Bruce Springsteen – Dancing in the Dark". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  28. ^ "Topp 20 Single uke 24, 1984 – VG-lista. Offisielle hitlister fra og med 1958" (in Norwegian). VG-lista. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  29. ^ "South African Rock Lists Website SA Charts 1965 – 1989 Acts S". The South African Rock Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2 September 2016. 
  30. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Bruce Springsteen – Dancing in the Dark". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  31. ^ "Bruce Springsteen – Chart history" Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs for Bruce Springsteen. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  32. ^ "Ultratop.be – Bruce Springsteen – Dancing in the Dark" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  33. ^ "Radio 2 Top 30" (in Dutch). Top 30. Retrieved 2 September 2016. 
  34. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Bruce Springsteen – Dancing in the Dark" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  35. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 25, 1985" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  36. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts - 1980s". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 28 August 2014. Retrieved 2 September 2016. 
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  48. ^ Tully, Gabriela (2015-05-05). "Stream Downtown Boys Full Communism". Stereogum. Retrieved 2015-06-26. 
  49. ^ Strauss, Matthew (9 June 2015). "Hot Chip Cover Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark"". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 27 June 2015. 
  50. ^ "Marit Larsen - Dancing In The Dark (Bruce Springsteen cover)". Retrieved 2016-06-29. 


  • Born in the U.S.A. Tour (tour booklet, 1984), Springsteen chronology.
  • Born in the U.S.A. The World Tour (tour booklet, 1985), Tour chronology.
  • Marsh, Dave. Glory Days: Bruce Springsteen in the 1980s. Pantheon Books, 1987. ISBN 0-394-54668-7.