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David Bowie & Mick Jagger - Dancing In The Street (1985)

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  • 80's Score80's Score80's Score 80's score: 2.61
  • Find this song on: Music Stack

"Dancing in the Street" is a song written by Marvin Gaye, William "Mickey" Stevenson and Ivy Jo Hunter. It first became ...

"Dancing in the Street" is a song written by Marvin Gaye, William "Mickey" Stevenson and Ivy Jo Hunter. It first became popular in 1964 when recorded by Martha and the Vandellas whose version reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and peaked at No. 4 in the UK Singles Chart.

David Bowie and Mick Jagger version

A hit cover version of "Dancing in the Street" was recorded by the English rock icons Mick Jagger and David Bowie as a duo in 1985, to raise money for the Live Aid famine relief cause. The original plan was to perform a track together live, with Bowie performing at Wembley Stadium and Jagger at John F. Kennedy Stadium, until it was realized that the satellite link-up would cause a half-second delay that would make this impossible unless either Bowie or Jagger mimed their contribution, something neither artist was willing to do.

In June 1985, Bowie was recording his contributions to the Absolute Beginners soundtrack at Westside Studios with Clive Langer & Alan Winstanley, and so Jagger arranged to fly in to record the track there. A rough mix of the track was completed in just four hours on June 29, 1985. Thirteen hours after the start of recording, the song and video were completed. Jagger arranged for some minor musical overdubs with Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero in New York City.

The single version (Bob Clearmountain mix) is slightly different from the version used on David Bowie's Best of Bowie compilation and others, with the vocals and guitar brought out more and a slightly shorter intro.


The David Bowie and Mick Jagger recording of "Dancing in the Street" was issued as a single on EMI, with all profits going to the charity. The song topped the UK Singles Chart for four weeks, and reached No. 7 in the United States on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Bowie and Jagger would perform the song once more, at the Prince's Trust Concert on June 20, 1986. The song has been featured since on several Bowie compilations. In 1988, US TV network ABC used a sample of this song, to promote their 1988–1989 campaign, but under the name "Something's Happening", which is the second year they used the same name, the first time being for the 1987–1988 campaign.

In 2011 it was voted the eighth-best collaboration of all time in a Rolling Stone readers poll. In a survey conducted by PRS for Music, the song was voted as the top song the British public would play at street parties in celebration of the 2011 Royal Wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William.

"Dancing in the Street" was sixth best selling single of 1985 with 661,000 sold copies in United Kingdom.

Music video

The pair went to Spillers Millennium Mills in London to film a video with director David Mallet. The music video was shown twice at the Live Aid event. It was also shown in movie theaters before showings of Ruthless People, for which Jagger had recorded the theme song.

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