Dancing in the Street Introduction
The only problem is that, when this song was released and became popular, dancing wasn't what people were doing in the street. They were rioting.
Racial tension in cities like Detroit was reaching a breaking point in the late 1960s. Martha and the Vandellas found that, because they were African-American, their hit single was construed by many as a call to action instead of a call to have a good time.
Keep reading to find out what the story of this happy song can tell us about Motown Records, race riots, and the United States in the 1960s.
About the Song
|Artist||Martha and the Vandellas||Musician(s)||Martha Reeves (lead vocals), Betty Kelly (backup vocals), Rosalind Ashford (backup vocals), The Funk Brothers (instruments)|
|Year||1964 (single), 1965 (album)|
|Writer(s)||William "Mickey" Stevenson, Marvin Gaye, Ivy Jo Hunter|
|Producer(s)||William "Mickey" Stevenson|
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For the record label, though, "Dancing in the Streets" was just another example of Motown's signature sound—another successful attempt to package and deliver music by African Americans to a larger mass market, using Henry Ford's assembly lines as inspiration for the production process.
However you choose to look at it, you can't deny that "Dancing in the Street" has stuck around for a long time, and shows no signs of disappearing from pop culture anytime soon. Even just as a party song, we have to admit it's a pretty catchy one, and a worthy representative of Motown's important legacy.
On the Charts"Dancing in the Street" reached #2 on the US Billboard Pop Singles chart, and #28 on the British charts.
The song was re-released in Britain in 1969, and peaked at #4 on the charts there.
Rolling Stone placed the song at #40 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.