“Flashdance… What a Feeling” – why we don’t get tired of listening to it for almost 40 years

Jerry Bruckheimer immediately sensed the song’s potential. On the special collector’s edition DVD of “Flashdance” (2010), he says: “When we heard “What a Feeling” we gasped, “That’s a hit!”. A piece you can’t get out of your head. And it excited us all. We kept playing it over and over again and it never failed us. To this day, I never get tired of this song“.

In 1984, the production won an Oscar for best song for “Flashdance… What a Feeling” by pop singer Irene Cara. She flew out of this world ten days ago.

The second signature song in the film is “Maniac” by Michael Sembello.

“Flashdance didn’t invent the film/music synergy, but it perfected the formula for the MTV generation. After all, MTV wasn’t even two years old when Flashdance premiered in the spring of 1983,” notes ” Billboard”.

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“Footloose,” “Beverly Hills Cop,” “Top Gun,” “Dirty Dancing” and other mega-successful musical movies of the 1980s owe a debt to “Flashdance,” according to Billboard.

The film tells the story of Alex Owens, a young woman who works as a welder and dreams of becoming a ballerina, but must first overcome her fear of auditioning in front of a jury.

Irene Cara’s “Flashdance…What a Feeling” was released in March 1983 to create a sort of musical teaser for the film, which was released on April 15th. The song was perfect for both the film and its time – when pop music created by black artists reached new heights thanks to Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Prince and many other star artists.

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The film debuted at No. 2 at the box office in its first week and spent the next three weeks at No. 1. Cara’s single reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in late May, the soundtrack album topped the Billboard 200 for two weeks, starting at June 25, the soundtrack’s second song, “Maniac,” topped the Hot 100 for two weeks in September. It’s what they call the film/music Grand Slam.

Cara, who died Nov. 25 at age 63, enjoyed success three years earlier when she sang the title track from “Fame,” in which she starred as an actress. This musical smash – “Fame” reached number 4 on the Hot 100 in September 1980. But she didn’t co-write this song, Michael Gore and Dean Pitchford starred, and it won an Oscar for Best Original Song.

Cara co-wrote the lyrics to “Flashdance…What a Feeling”. All this under the expert baton of Giorgio Moroder, called the father of disco. He composed the melody. The instrumental background echoes Moroder’s signature electronic film score.

The tune is a warmer, more triumphant “Midnight Express,” for which Moroder won an Oscar in 1979, or, say, Donna Summer’s 1977 hit “I Feel Love,” which Moroder co-produced with longtime your creative partner is Pete Bellot.

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Cara co-wrote the lyrics with Keith Forsey, Moroder’s frequent session drummer and future star producer, with No. 1 Hot 100 hits for “Simple Minds” and Billy Idol in the late 1980s. Kara’s warm vocals add a longing and humanity that offsets the slight coldness of the synthesizers’ “voice”.

Jerry Bruckheimer, who co-produced Flashdance with his late partner Don Simpson, contacted Moroder in 1982 to see if he would be interested in composing the score for the film. The two previously collaborated on 1980’s “American Gigolo,” which spawned Blondie’s “Call Me,” also a Hot 100 No. 1.

Cara was initially worried about working with Moroder because she did not want to cause comparisons with another singer who actively works with him – Donna Summer.

“Giorgio approached me right after ‘Fame.’” she said in an interview with Billboard, which appeared on March 10, 1984. “On ‘Flashdance,’ we were brought together by Paramount,” she explains.

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Kara and Forsey are shown the final scene of the movie where Alex auditions at the Pittsburgh Dance Academy so they can figure out what the lyrics should be. Both feel that the dancer’s ambition to succeed will work as a metaphor for anyone hoping to achieve a dream.

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“Flashdance…What a Feeling” isn’t the first inspirational and motivational song to hit No. 1, but it’s one of the best. The message: “Take your passion and make it happen” is excellent advice for career and life in general. Also, the line “in a world made of steel, made of stone” is a fitting nod to Jennifer Beals’ character’s day job as a welder.

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Moroder felt that the oft-repeated word “what a feeling” was appropriate for the film’s story, but tried to convince Cara and Forsey to include the film’s title in the text. The word “flashdance” is difficult to rhyme, and there is no way it can be done, but the words “flash” and “dance” appear separately. Only after the song was finished with the title “What a Feeling” did they add the word “Flashdance…” for its promotional value.

Cara says she had a good “feeling” about the song. “When we were recording it, I knew we had something special in the song,” she said in an interview with BBC Radio 2’s Electric Dreams: The Giorgio Moroder Story. “Some things you just feel. You can’t analyze them. That is something spiritual. I knew this song was special.”

Cara is the second artist of color to win the Oscar for best original song, after Isaac Hayes for his 1971 classic “Theme From Shaft,” and the first woman of color to win the award. Her father, Gaspar Cara, is Puerto Rican and a steel mill worker, also a saxophonist. Her mother, Louise Escalera, is Cuban and works as an usher at the cinema. At the age of three, Irene was one of the five finalists for the “Little Miss America” ​​pageant. He began to play the piano by ear, seriously studied music, acting and dancing.

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“It’s very difficult to be a woman in this business,” she says. “They don’t even want to know that you can play an instrument, which I do, or that you can write lyrics. They want you to look pretty and sing, and I don’t want to be just a ‘girly’ singer,” Cara says. .

Whatever career disappointments and obstacles she faces, her talent and charisma will forever remain at their peak. She took the passion out of her soul and brought it to light as music.

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