Second Spin: DeBarge, "Dance All Night" (Special 12" Mix)

Second Spin: DeBarge, "Dance All Night" (Special 12” Mix)

Artist: DeBarge

Album: "Dance All Night" (Special 12” Mix)

From: Vintage Vinyl’s 99 cent bin.

Year: 1987

Label: Striped Horse Records

What it sounds like: Michael Jackson covering Huey Lewis and the News. In other words, the song being played during the prom scene in every John Hughes movie.

Best Track: “Dance All Night (Dance Mix).” So, this album is a single, with five remixes: radio, dance, club, dub and an instrumental track. Of the four alternate takes, I preferred the dance mix. This is definitely what they were bumpin’ in the club back in the day—totally empty, catchy, lyrics about dancing, “I take her by the hand, I lead her to the floor, with the music in my head we’re on a ro-o-o-oll,” a methodical bass drum and snapping snare, and, like every other song from the late ‘80s, a lot of keyboard love going on. If I wasn’t at the listening station at Vintage Vinyl, I totally would have busted a move.

Worst Track: “Dance All Night (Dub Mix)” While the “Club Mix” was the most ridiculous because of its bass and cowbell solos (yup, you read that right), the “Dub Mix” was a total letdown because it wasn’t dub at all—no reggae sound and no accented drum and bass. The only real difference I noticed between this and the “Radio Mix” was that they shouted “Oh baby!” a bunch of times at the end. Plus, since this was the fourth time in a row I’d heard the song things were getting to be a little Abu Ghraib.

Who you can thank for the amazing cover art: Unfortunately, the hair stylist was straight-up robbed of a credit on the album liner. It’s hard to pick a favorite coif out of these four, but I think the mullet on the bottom left is the champion.

Interesting Facts: Via Wikipedia: “Dance All Night” is the single from DeBarge’s 1987 album Bad Boys; it peaked at number 33 on the R&B charts. By this point, the line-up had changed to James, Randy, Mark, and Bobby DeBarge. Bobby left the band Switch to join the group after the founding members Bunny and El DeBarge quit to pursue solo careers. They are actually all related, and DeBarge is in fact their real last name. Prior to the Bad Boys album, DeBarge had a number of hits for Motown, making them one of the few successful ‘80’s Motown acts (my personal favorite of these is “Rhythm of the Night,” which was featured on the soundtrack for the epically brilliant film Barry Gordy’s The Last Dragon.)

Bad Boys was the group’s last album—shortly after its release, Bobby and Chico were arrested for drug trafficking and sentenced to six years. James, pimp that he was, married Janet Jackson. Nowadays everyone from Rich Boy to Ashanti samples DeBarge’s early work.

I can’t find a video for “Dance All Night” so here’s this instead:

-Keegan Hamilton

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