Writer(s): Kenny Loggins, Dean Pitchford (see lyrics here)
Released: January 11, 1984
First Charted: January 28, 1984
Peak: 13 US, 13 CB, 13 RR, 2 AR, 6 UK, 11 CN, 13 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)
Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 1.0 UK, 2.0 world (includes US + UK)
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 1.0 radio, 44.8 video, -- streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
1984 was a good year for movie songs. Prince hit #1 with “When Doves Cry” and “Let’s Go Crazy,” Phil Collins with “Against All Odds,” Ray Parker Jr. with “Ghostbusters,” and Stevie Wonder “I Just Called to Say I Love You.” The latter three, along with with Deniece Williams’ “Let’s Hear It for the Boy” and Kenny Loggins title song from Footloose, were nominated for Oscars for Best Song. It was the first time all five nominees had hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. FB
Dean Pitchford, the screenwriter for Footloose, was a co-writer on the title song, as he had been on 1980’s “Fame,” an Oscar-winning song from the movie of the same name. He had also worked with Loggins before on his 1982 top-20 hit “Don’t Fight It” and knew he wanted him on “Footloose.” He told Dick Clark, “It felt to me like he was the voice of the country.” FB Loggins also had experience with a hit song (“I’m Alright”) from a hit movie (Caddyshack).
Pitchford had never penned a screenplay, but was inspired by a real-life event. In 1981, the high school junior class in the Oklahoma town of Elmore City petitioned to overturn an 1898 law outlawing dancing so they could hold a prom. Reverend F.R. Johnson, from the nearby town of Hennepin, declared,“No good has ever come from a dance... When boys and girls hold each other they get sexually aroused.” 405
Pitchford said Loggins “persevered with me through script after script after script…He was very much around when the whole thing was coming together.” FB The pair wrote the song over four days while Loggins was suffering a rib injury and Pitchford from strep throat. They knew they had a hit when they saw audiences at Loggins’ concerts respond to the song before the movie had even been released. FB
Pitchford co-wrote all the songs on the soundtrack – six of which charted. In addition to the #1 hits “Footloose” and “Let’s Hear It for the Boy,” the soundtrack churned out top-40 hits with another Kenny Loggins’ song (“I’m Free”) as well as tunes by Shalamar (“Dancing in the Sheets”), Mike Reno and Ann Wilson (“Almost Paradise”), and Bonnie Tyler (“Holding Out for a Hero”).
In the context of the movie, the music serves as a clarion call for the youthful spirit to kick back against the stodgy powers-that-be who would dare to squelch that need to groove, clothed or otherwise. However, the lyrics and mood of the song “Footloose” don’t sound the alarm to unite in extending middle fingers to some oppressive authority. They don’t incite rebellion or have any political motivation. The song is simply about having a good time and partying the night away. It comes down to Kevin Bacon’s character Ren’s immortal words at the closing of Footloose: “Let’s dance!”
First posted 1/28/2021; last updated 1/24/2022.