Released: January 31, 1984
Peak: 110 US, 7 UK, 19 CN, 2 AU
Sales (in millions): 9.0 US, -- UK, 16.9 world (includes US and UK)
Genre: pop rock
Song Title (PERFORMER) (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.
Total Running Time: 36:25
4.204 out of 5.00 (average of 10 ratings)
Quotable: “A light, entertaining listen. Sometimes, that can be better than something substantial” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide
Awards: (Click on award to learn more).
About the Album:
“Footloose was a throwback to ‘50s rock & roll movies, with a silly plot about a town where it was illegal to dance.” AMG When outsider Ren (Bacon) comes to town, he’s stunned by the antiquated no-dancing-allowed law and becomes a rebel with a cause. His effort to fight the system puts him at odds with the town council and local preacher (John Lithgow).
Surprisingly, it was based on real events in the present day. 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
The idea to turn it into a movie came from Dean Pitchford, a songwriter who worked on Fame with Michael Gore in 1980. As the lyricist for the title song, Pitchford won an Academy Award for the title song, a top-five hit for Irene Cara. Pitchford, a novice to screenwriting, turned to Craig Brewer to craft Footloose into a movie. It ended up topping the box office for three weeks in early 1984. It went on to rake in $80 million domestically and ranked #6 for the year. BO
The album was one of only five to top the Billboard 200 in 1984, along with Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Prince’s Purple Rain, Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A., and Huey Lewis & the News’ Sports. It went on to be one of the top-ten best-selling soundtracks of all time. MF “It’s easy to see why – the album delivers its mainstream pop, anthemic rock, and light dance-pop with style and an abundance of hooks.” AMG
The toe-tapping, call-to-dance title cut ousted Van Halen’s “Jump” (also propelled by a can’t-sit-still manic energy) from the top of the Billboard Hot 100 the week of March 31. It ended up ranked #4 for the year. BB It was the biggest hit of Loggins’ career, but it wasn’t his first trip to the top 10. He’d reached #4 with the 1972 Loggins & Messina song “Your Mama Don’t Dance” and hit #5 in 1978 with “Whenever I Call You Friend,” a duet with Stevie Nicks. In 1980, Loggins proved his hit-making talents could translate to the movies when “I’m Alright,” from Caddyshack, got to #7.
The “frothy, charming Let’s Hear It for the Boy” AMG was released as the next single and also found itself reaching the pole position on the Billboard pop charts. Like Loggins, Deniece Williams had previously reached the top-10 previously. “It’s Gonna Take a Miracle” peaked at #10 in 1982.
The album generated a third top-10 hit with “the excellent power ballad Almost Paradise.” AMG Once again, the song was given a huge bump because of the proven hit-makers on vocals. Mike Reno had racked up five top-40 hits as the lead singer of Loverboy while Ann Wilson had reached the top-40 nine times with Heart, including the top 10 hits “Magic Man” and “Tell It Like It Is.”
While some soundtracks were cobbled together from leftovers by big-name artists alongside a few songs written with the movie in mind, Footloose broke the mold. It did still follow the template of lining up as many A-listers as possible, but the songs bore the distinction of all being co-written by Pitchford. By the time Footlose completed its chart dominance, seven of its nine songs had charted with six of them reaching the top 40.
“The sound and production of Footloose has dated badly – there is a reliance on synthesizers and drum machines that instantly announces that the record was made in 1984 – but that isn’t necessarily a weakness. Not only does it function as a time capsule of a certain moment in pop music history, but many of the songs are catchy enough to transcend their production. There’s nothing of substance on the Footloose soundtrack, but it’s a light, entertaining listen. Sometimes, that can be better than something substantial.” AMG
Notes: An expanded edition of the soundtrack added Quiet Riot’s “Bang Your Head (Metal Health),” John Cougar “Hurts So Good,” and Foreigner “Waiting for a Girl Like You,” all of which were hits prior to the soundtrack. The expanded version also includes another version of “Dancing in the Sheets.”
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First posted 12/25/2008; last updated 1/25/2022.