Which Version Of ‘Dancing In The Street’ Is The Best? [POLL]
Summer's here and the time is right for voting on the best cover version of 'Dancing In The Street'.
If you were to put together the essential collection of summer songs for your next backyard party, there's a real good chance 'Dancing In The Street' will be one of those songs. But which version will you include?
The history of 'Dancing In The Street' goes all the way back to the summer of 1964 when Martha and the Vendallas went all the way to #2 on the charts with the original version (see video above).
Written by William "Mickey" Stevenson, Ivy Jo Hunter and Marvin Gaye, the idea for dancing came to Stevenson from watching people on the streets of Detroit cool off in water from opened fire hydrants.
Since then several artists would go on to record their own version of the song, some even achieving chart success of their own. Here are five different versions:
1) THE MAMAS & THE PAPAS (1966)
In 1966 the Mamas & the Papas recorded their version of the song. The song's ending features singers Cass Wilson and Denny Doherty having a dialogue listing the cities in both the United States, as well as Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, where Denny was from, before the song's fade. At the Monterrey Pop Festival of 1967, the Mamas and the Paps ended with 'Dancing in the Street'. It was the last time the group performed live in concert.
2) BLACK OAK ARKANSAS (1974)
With an album title like "Street Party" it seemed only fitting that Black Oak Arkansas would include a cover of this song and they did. Singer Jim Dandy is one of the more underrated singers from the 70s. Just ask David Lee Roth who took a huge chunk of his stage act and look from Dandy. This a great boogie-rock version which runs at only 2:34 making it the shortest cover recording of the song.
3) THE GRATEFUL DEAD (1977)
The Grateful Dead started performing 'Dancing In The Street' as far back as 1966. They eventually recorded a studio version for their 1977 album "Terrapin Station." The band's live version included an improvisational jam that gave it a whole new vibe. Bassist Phil Lesh has said 'Dancing In The Street' is the first song the band stretched out in the live setting from a short pop song into drawn out jam piece, a practice that would become a Grateful Dead signature.
4) VAN HALEN (1982)
Van Halen's "Diver Down" album is known for being heavy on cover songs. What's interesting about this cover, however, is that Edward Van Halen didn't want it to be one. The opening instrumental done on Edward's guitar was intended to be for an original track. David Lee Roth and producer Ted Templeman had other ideas in mind, however. This version was a crossover hit for the band as it reached the top 40 on Billboard.
5) DAVID BOWIE & MICK JAGGER (1985)
A third hit version of this song was recorded by Mick Jagger and David Bowie in 1985 for Live Aid and it was done in quick time. In June, Bowie was recording a song for the Absolute Beginners soundtrack at Abbey Road Studios. Jagger arranged to fly in to record the track there. A rough mix was completed in just four hours, then the two went straight out to London to film the video, which was completed in just 13 hours. The result was a top ten single in the US and a number one single in the UK.
Now it's time to vote: