It’s Sunday, November 6th, two days away from what should be a historic Presidential election here in America on Tuesday, November 8th, and tonight, on my little 20-year-old 80s radio program, STUCK IN THE 80s (on WMPG community radio in Portland, Maine), I’ll be presenting a show about the only politics I can get behind – THE POLITICS OF DANCING: PRE-ELECTION DANCE FAVORITES.
The inspiration for tonight’s radio show is “The Politics Of Dancing,” a longtime Dance favorite of mine by the U.K. New Wave / Synthpop band, Re-Flex. The band was formed by vocalist / lead guitarist John Baxter and keyboardist Paul Fishman in the early 80s, and at one time, housed two future members of Level 42 – drummer Phil Gould and singer / bassist Mark King.
“The Politics Of Dancing” is the title track of the band’s 1983 album, and in the four years Re-Flex was active (1981-1985), THE POLITICS OF DANCING was the only album they released in the 80s. A second album, HUMANICATION, was scheduled for release in 1985, but was pulled by Capitol Records’ parent company, EMI, because they thought the album would be thought of as too political here in the U.S.; it was finally issued as part of 6-album box set in 2010 encompassing the band’s entire work, including THE POLITICS OF DANCING, HUMANICATION and three other unreleased albums.
Released in early 1983, “The Politics Of Dancing” took awhile to find its feet (pun intended) here in America, and debuted on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 at No. 89 on the last Saturday in November 1983. It slowly danced its way up the chart, reaching the Top 40 in the second half of February 1984, spending a week at No. 24 on St. Patrick’s Day 1984 and a total of 21 weeks on the chart, which wasn’t too bad for a song that didn’t even reach the Top 20 (by comparison, Culture Club’s big No. 1 hit, “Karma Chameleon” – which left the chart two weeks after Re-Flex – was on the Hot 100 for 22 weeks). On the BILLBOARD Dance chart, “The Politics Of Dancing” fared better, reaching No. 8.
In all, six songs from THE POLITICS OF DANCING were released (follow-up single “Hurt” stopped at No. 82 on the Hot 100), but it was the title track that danced its way into the hearts and legs of folks around the globe. It reached No. 11 in Australia, No. 12 in New Zealand, No. 19 in South Africa, and the Top 30 in the U.K., Canada, Germany and Switzerland.
I wish I could tell you how the U.S. (and subsequently, the world) is going to be after Tuesday, but for now and always, I can take comfort in the politics that really matter to me – “The Politics Of Dancing.”
(“The politics of dancing / The politics of ooo feeling good / The politics of moving / Is this message understood?…”)