Check out these rehearsal outtakes from the Boss’s most iconic music video.
Over the course of Bruce Springsteen’s long and illustrious career he has never had a No. 1 hit song. The closest he ever came was in 1984 with “Dancing in the Dark,” which spent four weeks in the No. 2 spot. The song was the first single from “Born in the USA” and helped make that record the best selling album in Springsteen’s career.
But what most people remember about Springsteen’s most popular mainstream hit is the iconic music video. The video was directed by Brian De Palma, who was fresh off of “Scarface,” and featured a 20 year-old complete unknown by the name of Courtney Cox.
The actual video was filmed during a live show in Minnesota, where Cox was “unexpectedly” brought on stage to dance the end of the song with Springsteen himself. However a recently discovered video of a rehearsal shows a much more embarrassing version of New Jersey’s favorite son.
During the 12-minute rehearsal video we see a suspendered and sweatbanded Springsteen practicing his limited variety of dance moves for “Dancing” three times over. Unfortunately most of those moves seem to be borrowed from Richard Simmons. A one point his arms are flailing so rapidly he appears to be treading water or giving low-fives to the air.
Springsteen also seems to have taken a shine to Elvis’s knee action, the John Travolta “point” from “Saturday Night Fever” and some ’80s version of the snapping from “The West Side Story.“ Oh, and I almost forgot the inexplicable use of the invisible lasso. It almost looks like a Springsteen impersonator’s “American Idol” tape.
The only thing that saves the Bruce in the video is Clarence “Big Man” Clemens suddenly appearing from the darkness to lay down another awesome sax solo.
However I’m totally willing to give Springsteen a pass on his goofy white man dance, because frankly he can do no wrong in my book. Plus this rehearsal is actually a better representation of the song than the famous music video—this is Bruce Springsteen dancing in the dark when no one is watching and where no one can see.
And now that this video has surfaced 27 years later, I’m sure Springsteen chuckled in embarrassment, knowing that not even the Boss was immune to the ’80s.