After a series of songs that have concentrated on THE HEAVY 80s (or songs from the 80s that addressed heavy subjects), I thought I would switch gears and write a post about one of my all-time favorite songs (and hopefully one of yours), “Dance Hall Days” by London-based New Wavers Wang Chung.
Wang Chung (which means “yellow bell” in Chinese) went through a couple of bands and several band members before Huang Chung in 1980 – singer / guitarist Jack Hues (real name Jeremy Ryder), bassist Nick Feldman and drummer Darren Costin – became Wang Chung in 1983.
NERDY FUN FACT: Though the main reason the band changed their name from Huang Chung to Wang Chung was to make the pronunciation of their name easier for English-speaking folks, another big reason they changed their band name was because people kept calling them “Hung Chung.”
Wang Chung became just the second U.K. band to be signed by the (then) three-year-old Geffen Records (Rock supergroup Asia was the first). The signing on Geffen proved to be a huge deal for the band, as their POINTS ON THE CURVE album (released in the U.K. in July 1983 and here in the U.S. in January 1984) was well-received on both sides of the Atlantic.
From POINTS ON THE CURVE, the album’s first single, “Don’t Let Go,” squeaked onto the Top 40 of the BILLBOARD Hot 100, spending a couple of weeks at No. 38 in March 1984. The second single from the album released here in the U.S., “Dance Hall Days,” fared much better, dancing its way to No. 16 in early July 1984. It spent 22 weeks on the Hot 100 and ranked at No. 74 for all of 1984.
In the early days of commercially-available 12” singles (around 1983 / 1984), some labels (especially those on Warner labels like Sire and Geffen), featured double-sided 12” singles. Wang Chung had a couple of these from POINTS ON THE CURVE, including extended dance mixes of “Don’t Let Go” and “Dance Hall Days” on the same 12” single. That single spent a week at No. 1 on BILLBOARD’s Dance chart in June 1984.
Around the globe, “Dance Hall Days” danced into the hearts (and dance clubs) of many countries, reaching the Top 10 in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Holland, Italy, New Zealand, Sweden and Switzerland.
I’ve loved this song (and have loved dancing to this song) for many years, and the 12” remix is on a list I compiled years ago of 12” singles I couldn’t live without. The next time you make it to your favorite retro dance hall, request this song, take your baby by the hand and make it a “dance hall day.”