Covid Island Discs

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Day 482: Safety Dance, Men Without Hats

So during the long journey that was Covid Island Discs I explored different musical themes. One of these themes were strange songs of the 1980s. This song, which was released in 1982, certainly should have made my list as its lyrics are pretty bizarre. The song was inspired by an 80s dance movement which some coined crash dancing which, if you follow the link in this post, evolved from a video game called Crash Bandicoot that was a video game created for Sony to compete against Nintendo’s Mario and Sega’s Sonic hedgehog.

Yet the creators of Crash Bandicoot inadvertently spawned a type of dance move which mimicked the Bandicoot’s move of pelvic thrusts and spinning rapidly with arms outstretched to hit those who were in your reach. Now until I did some reading around the history of this song, I thought the song was a protest against this type of dancing (hence the title safety dance) but in fact I was wrong. The origin of the song is a protest against bouncers who threw out the lead singer Ivan Doroschuk because he was doing a form of crash dancing known as pogoing.

Anyway, my brother was always very bemused by this song and thought it was the epitome of pop music’s collapse in the 1980s (if only he could see what was coming in the teens of the 21st century). He particularly found the lyric: “you can dance, you can dance, everybody look at your hands” as highly amusing as in his mind it kind of captured the type of folk that would like this song: a little Neanderthal-like as they obediently look at their hands on the dance floor in amazement as a response to the song’s command. Still it is a great one hit wonder in my view and well worth adding to my Covid Island Discs collection.

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