The Safety Dance

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

"The Safety Dance"
The Safety Dance single.jpg
Single by Men Without Hats
from the album Rhythm of Youth
  • "Security" (UK)
  • "Living in China" (US)
  • 2:47 (single/video/original album version)
  • 4:36 ("Extended Dance Mix"/US album version)
Songwriter(s)Ivan Doroschuk
Producer(s)Marc Durand
Men Without Hats singles chronology
"I Like"
"The Safety Dance"
"I Got the Message"
Music video
"The Safety Dance" on YouTube

"The Safety Dance" is a song by Canadian new wave/synth-pop band Men Without Hats, released in Canada in 1982 as the second single from Rhythm of Youth. The song was written by lead singer Ivan Doroschuk after he had been kicked out of a club for pogo dancing.[3]

The song entered the Canadian top 50 in February 1983, peaking at number 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, spending four weeks at its peak position of number 3 in September and October 1983, and staying on the Billboard Hot 100 for 24 weeks.[4] It also reached number 1 on Cash Box, as well as number 1 on the Billboard Dance Chart. "The Safety Dance" found similar success in other parts of the world, entering the UK charts in August and peaking at number 6 in early November, and entering the New Zealand charts in November, eventually peaking at number 2 in early 1984. The song was also a massive success in South Africa, reaching No. 1 on the Springbok charts. The song has been inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.[5]

In 2021, the band released a recording of a new version the song, reimagined as a mid-tempo ballad, under the title "No Friends of Mine".[6] The track will be included on their 2022 EP Again (Part 1).[7]

Meaning of the song[edit]

The writer/lead singer, Ivan Doroschuk, has explained that "The Safety Dance" is a protest against bouncers prohibiting dancers from pogoing to 1980s new wave music in clubs when disco was declining and new wave was coming in. Unlike disco dancing, which is done with partners, new wave dancing is done individually and involves holding the torso rigid while thrashing about; pogoing involves jumping up and down (the more deliberately violent evolution of pogoing is slamdancing). Clubgoers doing the newer pogo dance were perceived as posing a danger to disco dancers on the dance floor, and so club bouncers 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.[8]

In 2003, on an episode of VH1's True Spin, Doroschuk responded to two common interpretations of the song. Firstly, he explained "The Safety Dance" is not a call for safe sex, and that this interpretation is "people reading into it a bit too much". 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."[9]

Music video[edit]

The music video for the song (which uses the shorter single version), directed by Tim Pope,[10] is notable for its British folk revival imagery, featuring Morris dancers, Mummers, Punch and Judy and a maypole. It was filmed in the village of West Kington, in Wiltshire, England.[11] Ivan Doroschuk is the only member of the band actually to 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 dancers seen in the video were the Chippenham Town Morris Men.[12] The dwarf actor is Mike Edmonds,[13] whose T-shirt in the video shows the Rhythm of Youth album cover. The identity of the young blonde-haired woman by the name of Jenny seen dancing in the video remained unknown until 2013, when she was identified as Louise Court,[14] a journalist who was editor-in-chief at Cosmopolitan and became a director at Hearst Magazines UK in 2015.[15]

Chart and certifications[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

In 1984, "Weird Al" Yankovic released a parody of "The Safety Dance" entitled "The Brady Bunch" on his album In 3-D, about the titular TV series.[42]

In 2010, a Lipton iced tea commercial featuring Hugh Jackman included The Feeling's version of the song playing in the background.[43]

The song was featured in the 1996 film Bio-Dome, and a remix of the same song also appeared on its soundtrack.[44]

The song was featured in the Family Guy episode "Ocean's Three and a Half," in which Peter Griffin and Glenn Quagmire were dancing to the song.[45]

The song is performed in "Dream On", a first-season episode of the TV series Glee. In the episode, wheelchair user Artie Abrams (Kevin McHale) fantasizes about being able to dance and leading a flash mob performance of the song in a shopping mall.[46] Ivan Doroschuk credited this version with "reaching a whole other section of people" to appreciate the song.[8]

The song was also featured in the South Park episode "Where My Country Gone?".[47]

In X-Men: Apocalypse, it was featured in a deleted scene.[48][49][50][51]

The song was featured in the opening scene of "Pilot" episode of Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan.[52][53]

Saturday Night Safety Dance is a 1980s-themed program on Sirius XM's 1st Wave channel.[54]

The song was featured in an Alaska Airlines commercial in December 2020 concerning their precautions taken for the COVID-19 pandemic.[55][56]

In 2021 Angel Olsen released a cover of the song from her EP of 1980s covers, Aisles.[57]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Politis, John (1983). "Men Without Hats – Rhythm of Youth". Voice of Youth Advocates: VOYA. Vol. 6. Scarecrow Press. p. 356. The single by Men Without Hats, "The Safety Dance," may be the best new wave dance song since The B-52's "Rock Lobster."
  2. ^ Platts, Robin. "Men Without Hats – Greatest Hats". AllMusic. Retrieved June 18, 2014.
  3. ^ Sperounes, Sandra (May 12, 2011). "Good dance tunes don't die". Edmonton Journal. Archived from the original on August 3, 2011.
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits (8th ed.). Billboard Publications.
  5. ^ Dunlevy, T'Cha (September 1, 2020). "Men Without Hats' Safety Dance, Pop Goes the World enter hall of fame". The Sudbury Star.
  6. ^ Rowley, Glenn (August 25, 2021). "Men Without Hats Reinvent 'Safety Dance' with New Single 'No Friends of Mine'". Consequence. Retrieved May 7, 2022.
  7. ^ "Men Without Hats". Sonic Envy. Retrieved May 7, 2022.
  8. ^ a b Doroschuk, Ivan (November 3, 2012). "You Can Dance If You Want To: A Conversation with Ivan Doroschuk". Confessions of a Pop Culture Addict (Interview). Interviewed by Sam Tweedle. Archived from the original on March 24, 2017. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  9. ^ Karec. "True Meaning of the Safety Dance". Veoh.
  10. ^ Hynes, Jim. "Past Interviews". Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  11. ^ "Safety Dance was filmed in West Kington, Wiltshire, Near Bath, England". Facebook. January 16, 2011. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  12. ^ "Chippenham Town Morris Men Odd Bookings". Retrieved September 13, 2021.
  13. ^ "Mini Jester in "The Safety Dance": 'Memba Him?". TMZ. August 11, 2013. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  14. ^ Wuench, Kevin (January 15, 2015). "Can you name the THIRD biggest hit for Men Without Hats? Here it is". Tampa Bay Times. Archived from the original on December 8, 2015. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  15. ^ Connelly, Tony (July 2, 2015). "Farrah Storr becomes new Cosmopolitan editor as Hearst Magazines UK makes changes to senior editorial team". The Drum. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  16. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – CHART POSITIONS PRE 1989". Hung Medien. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  17. ^ "Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  18. ^ "Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  19. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 6269." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved June 2, 2013.
  20. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Titres par Artiste". InfoDisc (in French). Select "Men Without Hats" from the artist drop-down menu. Retrieved June 21, 2013.
  21. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – The Safety Dance". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  22. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 38, 1983" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  23. ^ "Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  24. ^ "Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  25. ^ "Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance". VG-lista. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  26. ^ "South African Rock Lists Website SA Charts 1969 – 1989 Acts (M)". Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  27. ^ "Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance". Singles Top 100. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  28. ^ "Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  29. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  30. ^ a b c "Rhythm of Youth – Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved June 2, 2013.
  31. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending OCTOBER 1, 1983". Cash Box. Archived from the original on September 13, 2012.
  32. ^ " – Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance". GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  33. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts – 1980s". Hung Medien. Retrieved June 18, 2014.
  34. ^ "The Top Singles of 1983". RPM. Vol. 39, no. 17. Library and Archives Canada. December 24, 1983. Retrieved June 18, 2014.
  35. ^ "Top 20 Hit Singles of 1983". Retrieved June 18, 2014.
  36. ^ "Top 100 Hits for 1983". The Longbored Surfer. Retrieved June 18, 2014.
  37. ^ "The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1983". Cash Box. Archived from the original on September 11, 2012.
  38. ^ "Top 100 Single-Jahrescharts: 1983". (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Archived from the original on May 9, 2015.
  39. ^ "Top 100 Cancon Tracks 1964–1996". RPM. Vol. 63, no. 19. Library and Archives Canada. June 24, 1996. Retrieved June 21, 2013.
  40. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Men Without Hats – Safety Dance". Music Canada.
  41. ^ "British single certifications – Men Without Hats – Safety Dance". British Phonographic Industry.Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Safety Dance in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  42. ^ Schuck, Ray (2012). Do You Believe in Rock and Roll?. McFarland. p. 166. ISBN 9780786471058. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  43. ^ Sweney, Mark (March 18, 2010). "Hugh Jackman steps in for Lipton ads". The Guardian. Retrieved June 18, 2014.
  44. ^ "Small Faces: The soundtrack for the movie..." Los Angeles Times. December 3, 1995. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  45. ^ Dent, Nick (February 4, 2016). "The strange, happy life of the guy who wrote 'Safety Dance'". Time Out Sydney. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  46. ^ "'Glee': 25 Best Performances". Entertainment Weekly. March 18, 2014. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  47. ^ Parker, Ryan (September 24, 2015). "South Park takes on Caitlyn Jenner's Car Crash and Donald Trump". Billboard. Retrieved October 1, 2015.
  48. ^ Diaz, Eric (September 12, 2016). "X-Men: Apocalypse's Deleted Scene Takes a Very '80s Trip to the Mall". Nerdist. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  49. ^ Polo, Susana (September 12, 2016). "Watch the mutant mall montage that didn't make it into X-Men: Apocalypse". Polygon. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  50. ^ Peters, Megan (November 23, 2017). "Original 'Thor' Director Comments on 'Thor: Ragnarok'". ComicBook. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  51. ^ Barsanti, Sam (September 13, 2017). "X-Men: Apocalypse's deleted mall scene is totally tubular". ComicBook. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  52. ^ "Listen to the Men Without Hats song 'Safety Dance' from 'Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan'". Leo Sigh. September 2, 2018. Retrieved October 6, 2018.
  53. ^ Wigler, Josh (August 31, 2018). "'Jack Ryan': How Amazon's Tom Clancy TV Series Came to Life". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 6, 2018.
  54. ^ queenseyes (August 14, 2019). "Saturday Night Safety Dance w/ DJ Bueller of Sirius XM". Buffalo Rising. Retrieved October 12, 2019.
  55. ^ Deerwester, Jayme (December 15, 2020). "Attention, '80s music fans: Alaska Airlines parodies 'Safety Dance' in new video". USA Today. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  56. ^ Rizzo, Cailey (December 14, 2020). "Alaska Airlines Parodies 1980s Song 'Safety Dance' for Hilariously Amazing Music Video". Travel + Leisure. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  57. ^ Minsker, Evan (July 29, 2021). "Angel Olsen Covers Men Without Hats' "Safety Dance": Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved August 22, 2021.

External links[edit]