” Safety Dance ” is by Men Without Hats, the Canadian new wave group. The song was written by lead singer Ivan Doroschuk. Production for the song was by Marc Durand. Marc founded Alert Music with Tom Berry in 1984 and is now a journalist covering the music scene in Quebec for cashboxcanada.ca.
The song was released in 1983 by record labels GMC and Virgin and taken as the second single from their debut album, Rhythm of Youth.
The group released ” I Got The Message ” as their first single in Canada, but it wasn’t a hit when their second single was released that also failed to make an impact on the chart.
Men Without Hats went back into the studio to work on new material; it was then they made a 12-inch dance remix of ” Safety Dance ” as that single format was becoming popular at the time.
Ivan told Timout.com ” So we did this remix, sent it off, and that’s when everything hit the fan. It went to the top of the Billboard charts. We were in the studio halfway through the second record, and we had to get back on a bus and go tour America for a year. It was totally fun times. ”
” Safety Dance ” is a protest song about not being allowed to pogo in clubs during the eighties. Pogoing is a dance where the dances keep their bodies rigid while jumping up and down, like a pogo stick. A dancer would then jump on the dance floor bumping into people. Bouncers in the clubs didn’t take this kind of dance and would ban anyone from the club.
A more aggressive form of pogoing is called Slamdancing; this is where a dancer would deliberately bump into others, often ending in fighting on the dancefloor.
Ivan Doroschuk saw the banning of the dance as suppressing freedom of expression and so wrote ” Safety Dance “.
Some people thought the song was about the call for safe sex; others interpreted the lyrics to mean anti-nuclear. Although there is a reference to the nuclear war in the video, Ivan said ” it wasn’t a question of just being anti-nuclear, it was a question of being anti-establishment. ”
The accompanying video was directed by Tim Pope. Tim is a London-based director of music videos and feature films. He has a reputation for using English folk imagery like Morris dancers, Mummers, Punch and Judy and a Maypoles in his videos.
He has worked with artists including The Cure, Neil Young, The The, David Bowie and Siouxsie and the Banshees.
The video was filmed on location during the summer of 1982 in the English village of West Kington; the village is situated in a steeply wooded valley in the county of Wiltshire.
Lead singer Ivan Doroschuk was the only member of the group to appear in the video. He can be seen with others dancing through the village make an ” S ” shape with his arms; This is a reference to the first letter of the title of the song.
Also appearing in the video were the Chippenham Town Morris Men who danced called Monkton Park, they formed in 1978 after a chance meeting in a pub. They have performed internationally and throughout Europe and are still going strong today.
The dwarf actor is Mike Edmonds; Mike has appeared in many films including Flash Gordon and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. He played the role of Og in the Terry Gilliam film Time Bandits and performed as the Ewok Logray in the Return of The Jedi.
It wasn’t until 2013 that the identity of the blonde woman featured dancing became known. She was identified as Louise Court, who now is a director at Hearst Magazines UK.
” Safety Dance ” was a commercial success for the group. In the United States, the song reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent a total of twenty-four weeks on the chart there.
In the United Kingdom, it entered the UK Singles Chart on the 27th of August 1983 and reached a peak of number six. The single spent four weeks in the Top Ten and a total of sixteen weeks on the UK chart.
BillBoard Highest Chart Position: 3
UK Highest Chart Position: 6
Other Countries Highest Chart Positions: Australia (Kent Music Report) 5, Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40) 7, Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders) 10, Belgium (VRT Top 30 Flanders) 12, Canada (CHUM) 12, Canada Top Singles (RPM) 11, France (IFOP) 64, Germany (Official German Charts) 2, Ireland (IRMA) 3, Netherlands (Dutch Top 40) 29, Netherlands (Single Top 100) 23, New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ) 2, Norway (VG-lista) 3, South Africa (Springbok Radio) 1, Sweden (Sverigetopplistan) 3, Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade) 4
Official Website: Safetydance.com
FaceBook Page: Facebook.com/menwithouthats
Wikipedia Page: Wikipedia.org/MenWithoutHatsGroups men without hatsmen without hats safety dancesafety dance