Saturday, May 28, 1983

Irene Cara hit #1 with “Flashdance…What a Feelin’”

First posted 11/2/2019.

Flashdance…What a Feelin’

Irene Cara

Writer(s): Irene Cara, Keith Forsey, Giorgio Moroder (see lyrics here)


First Charted: April 2, 1983


Peak: 16 US, 16 CB, 15 RR, 4 AC, 2 RB, 2 UK, 13 CN, 17 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales *: 1.0 US, -- UK, 3.25 world (includes US + UK)


Radio Airplay *: --


Video Airplay *: 84.20


Streaming *: --


* in millions

Review:

Italian composer Giorgio Moroder, dubbed the “Father of Disco,” was a pioneer in electronc dance music. He was best known for his production work with Donna Summer, but also worked with Blondie, David Bowie, Janet Jackson, and others. He also worked on soundtracks, including 1978’s Midnight Express, 1980’s American Gigolo, and 1983’s Flashdance. The latter sold more than 20 million copies worldwide, fueled by Michael Sembello’s “Maniac” and Irene Cara’s “Flashdance…What a Feelin’,” both #1 hits. Moroder wrote the music for the latter with Irene Cara in mind because of what she did with the theme song for Fame. He would later write “Danger Zone” and “Take My Breath Away” for 1986’s Top Gun. SF

The 1980 theme song for the Fame movie had given Cara a #3 hit. Moroder specifically had her in mind for Flashdance because of what she did with that song. However, she was initially reluctant to work with Donna Summer’s producer because, as she expected, critics suggested she sounded like Summer on “What a Feelin’.” BR1 She considered the accusations sexist because, as she said, “There are so many records made by male artists today that sound alike. But nobody makes an issue of that.” BR1

She wrote the lyrics for “What a Feelin’” with Ken Forsey, who later wrote “Don’t You Forget About Me” for The Breakfast Club and “Shakedown” for Beverly Hills Cop II. SF Cara and Forsey wrote the song while driving to a recording session. She suggested the idea of singing about the feeling associated with dancing. Forsey extended the idea to be about “dancing for my life.” As Cara said, the phrase “‘what a feeling’ was a metaphor about a dancer, how she’s in control of her body when she dances and how she can be in control of her life.” BR1

The Flashdance soundtrack knocked Michael Jackson’s Thriller from the top of the album chart for two weeks during Irene Cara’s six-week run at the top with “Flashdance…What a Feelin’.” Thriller would return to the top for 20 more weeks – 37 total – before getting knocked out by another music-themed movie soundtrack – Footloose. “What a Feelin’” earned an Academy Award for Best Original Song and a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.


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