Sound and Vision - Dance

On this week's Sound and Vision, I chose songs related to theme of "dance."

A lot of tunes and rhythms make you wanna get out of your seat and move your body around in unusual ways. It’s one of those things that seems so strange, yet primeval at the same time. 

According to a book called Survival Dance: How Humans Waltzed Through the Ice Age, evidence of dance has been uncovered in the drawings of the Bhimbetka caves of Northern India that date back 9,000 years or so. I have a feeling that dance might be as old as language-as natural to us humans, despite skill-level, as almost any activity. Further evidence of primitive dance can be seen in the art of Egyptian tombs from about 3,300B.C.

Fast forward over 5,000 years and you arrive at the 1950’s, when radio and television brought dance crazes to the masses. These dances were born of many different influences, from ballroom dances such as “the foxtrot” to bop dancing from bebop jazz music.

Dance crazes in America hit their peak in popularity in the 50’s and 60’s, but they still thrive. For example, In recent years we've had “The Whip and Nae Nae,” and “The Dougie.” There are also some from my adolescence, such as “the Macarena” and “the Tootsie Roll.” Even Korea had it’s own dance craze in recent years with "Gangnam Style."

Some of the more famous dance crazes from the heyday include: the twist, the mash potato, the dog, the Watusi, the chicken and the shake.

“Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.”― Voltaire "Liberty of the Press,"


1. Archie Bell and the Drells - The Tighten Up

—Archie Bell recorded this song shortly before being drafted and serving in the Vietnam War. During his service the record went gold, selling over a million copies

2. The Ramones - Blitzkrieg Bop

—Blitzkrieg, meaning, “lightning war” in German, is a military tactic designed to create disorganization among enemy forces through the use of mobile forces and locally concentrated firepower.

— Bop was a popular form of Swing dancing during the 1950's as well as done as a solo dance (especially when the melody divorced itself from traditional dance rhythms).

3. Miriam Makeba - Pata Pata

-Pata Pata is a dance that originated in Johannesburg South Africa but spread throughout the world when Makeba made it a hit. 

—Nelson Mandela said this about Makeba: "her music inspired a powerful sense of hope in all of us."

4. Sweet Cherry Orchestra and Fred Werner - the Rich Man’s Frug

—The Frug was a dance craze from the 60's.

5. Tom Waits - Russian Dance

—The only percussion in the arrangement includes 5 people playing “boots” according to the album credits.

-"Davai yestshio! Davai yestshio! Odeen, dva, tree, hceteeri,"are the only lyrics and in Russian, but translated to English means:

"Come on, once again/One, Two, Three, Four"

6. Simon Joyner - the Lousy Dance

7. Little Eva - Loco Motion

—“The Loco-Motion" was written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King and performed by Eva “Narcissus” Boyd. Yes, her middle name is Narcissus.

- Boyd worked as a maid and earned extra money as a babysitter for famed songwriters Carole King and Gerry Goffin.

8. Jimmy McCracklin - The Walk

In this tune, McCracklin muses that you may not be able some of these other dances, but you can definitely do the walk. Now that's my kind of dance! 

Honorable Mentions:

Rufus Thomas - The Dog

Velvet Illusion - Mini Shimmy

Chubby Checker - The Watusi

Chubby Checker - The Twist

The Hollies - Do You Love Me

James Brown - Popcorn

Neil Young - Old Country Waltz

Captain Beefheart - Dropout Boogie

Grateful Dead - New Speedway Boogie

The Hustle - Lambchop

Led Zeppelin - the Crunge

Los Del Rio - The Macarena

69 Boyz - Tootsie Roll

Junior Walker and his All-Stars - Shotgun

Rufus Thomas - The Dog

Marvin Gaye - The Hitch Hike