Monday, August 21, 2017

"Neutron Dance" by The Pointer Sisters

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2138
Date:  11/24/1984
Debut:  73
Peak:  6
Weeks:  23
Genre:  R&B, Dance-Pop, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  By this point in time, The Pointer Sisters' album Break Out was over a year old and had already spawned four charting hits with three of them hitting the Pop Top 10. It seemed like the LP had run its course, but there was one more surprise to be had. This track from the album started to get used behind a scene during the production of the upcoming Eddie Murphy comedy Beverly Hills Cop. The song fit the scene well, but producers were not keen to keep the song in the film and asked producer Richard Perry to supply another. He convinced them that this really was the perfect song and it got into the final cut of the film and on the soundtrack. It would end up being the first single released from the soundtrack and the fifth from Break Out. The single would take a while to get going, but once the movie was a hit, the tune took off. It got to #4 at Dance, #13 R&B, and #23 AC. It would also become the Sisters' seventh and final Top 10 hit at Pop.

ReduxReview:  This is really a kooky song. It borders on the insipid. It's so dorky that it should not have worked at all, but it actually did. There was something about that old R&B/honky tonk bass synth riff, quick step beat, the Sisters' gospel-influenced performance, and pull-yourself-up lyrics that got people dancing. Of course it helped that it was in a memorable scene from a major box office smash. Is it among my favorite Pointer Sisters songs? Not really. However, it is hard not to start jammin' when this comes on.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  This song was written by Allee Willis and Danny Sembello. Originally, it was written for a different film. The two writers were told about a scene in the movie Streets of Fire that took place on a bus, which was headed away from a city that had a nuclear holocaust. Apparently there would be a doo-wop group on board singing, so that image prompted Willis and Sembello to come up with "Neutron Dance." Unfortunately, the song didn't make the film, but it did get the attention of producer Richard Perry and The Pointer Sisters. Initially, Ruth Pointer was reluctant to sing it because it brought to mind things that were prominent in the news at the time like nuclear bombs. However, Willis convinced her to sing it and a hit was born. In an interview, Willis also said that a line in the song was taken from a real-life moment that happened when they were writing the tune. During the songwriting session, Willis happened to look out her front window and noticed a guy trying to break into her car. She ran out the door yelling "someone stole my brand new Chevrolet!" The incident and line seemed to fit the song perfectly, so it got included.


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