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
Genre Rock
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 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 music video for the song features actress Courteney Cox, who portrays a fan pulled from the audience to dance with Springsteen on stage.


The song is written in the key of B major with a tempo of 149 beats per minute[1] in common time. Springsteen's vocals span from G4 to G5.[2]


In a first-for-Springsteen effort to gain dance and club play for his music, Arthur Baker[3] 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, and had the most sales of any 12-inch single in the United States in 1984.[3]

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,[4] and daughter Jessica dancing on stage with Bruce in Paris on 5 July. [5]

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

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").[6] It did reach #1 on the Cash Box Top 100 Singles chart. 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.[7]

In the UK, "Dancing in the Dark" originally reached number 28 in the UK Singles Chart when released in May 1984. However, the song re-entered the chart in January 1985 and subsequently reached number 4,[8] becoming the 27th best-selling single of the year.[citation needed]

The recording also won Springsteen his first Grammy Award, picking up the prize for Best Rock Vocal Performance in 1985.[9] It also won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Stage Performance.[10] In the 1984 Rolling Stone readers poll, "Dancing in the Dark" was voted "Single of the Year".[11] 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.[12]


Preceded by
"Magic" by The Cars
Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks number-one single
June 9 – July 14, 1984
Succeeded by
"No Way Out" by Jefferson Starship
Preceded by
"Don't You (Forget About Me)" by Simple Minds
Dutch Top 40 number-one single
June 22, 1985 – June 29, 1985 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"19" by Paul Hardcastle
Preceded by
"19" by Paul Hardcastle
Belgian Singles Chart number one single
July 6, 1985 – July 12, 1985 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"A View to a Kill" by Duran Duran
Preceded by
"19" by Paul Hardcastle
Belgian Singles Chart number one single
July 27, 1985 – August 9, 1985 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Tarzan Boy" by Baltimora

Cover versions[edit]


  1. ^ "BPM for 'dancing' by bruce springsteen | songbpm.com". songbpm.com. Retrieved 2016-06-21. 
  2. ^ Springsteen, Bruce. "Bruce Springsteen "Dancing In the Dark" Sheet Music in B Major (transposable) - Download & Print". Musicnotes.com. Retrieved 2016-06-21. 
  3. ^ a b Bruce Springsteen: Two Hearts : The Definitive Biography, 1972-2003, Dave Marsh, Psychology Press, 2004, p.491
  4. ^ Hollywood Reporter, 30 March 2012
  5. ^ "Brucebase - 2012". Brucebase.wikispaces.com. Retrieved 2015-06-26. 
  6. ^ Marsh, Glory Days, p. 219.
  7. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), p. 593.
  8. ^ "Official Charts". www.officialcharts.com. The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved October 15, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Winners". www.grammy.com. The Recording Academy. Retrieved October 15, 2015. 
  10. ^ "MTV Video Music Awards 1985". www.mtv.com. Viacom International Inc. Retrieved October 15, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Readers' Poll" Rolling Stone February 28, 1985: 26
  12. ^ "Experience the Music: One Hit Wonders and the Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll". rockhall.com. he Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc. 
  13. ^ "Bruce Springsteen – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Bruce Springsteen.
  14. ^ "Radio2 top 30: 20 juni 2015 | Radio2". Top30-2.radio2.be. Retrieved 2015-06-26. 
  15. ^ Nyman, Jake (2005). Suomi soi 4: Suuri suomalainen listakirja (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 951-31-2503-3. 
  16. ^ "De Nederlandse Top 40, week 25, 1985". Retrieved 2008-03-01. 
  17. ^ "rocking buddies, dozi, ghapi, Mark Haze, Album Info, Tracks, Lyrics". Markhaze.co.za. Retrieved 2015-06-26. 
  18. ^ Tully, Gabriela (2015-05-05). "Stream Downtown Boys Full Communism". Stereogum. Retrieved 2015-06-26. 
  19. ^ Strauss, Matthew (9 June 2015). "Hot Chip Cover Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark"". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 27 June 2015. 
  20. ^ "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.