SLS

Song Lyric Sunday – The Pointer Sisters

I always look forward to Sunday when Jim issues his prompt/challenge for the week. This week is no different. This week his instructions are to use the prompts of Cool/Freeze/Heat/Melt as inspiration.


When I read Jim’s topic for the week, my mind went directly to The Pointer Sisters. I was always a big fan of their music and their style. They put on the best concert I ever attended. It was in Anchorage, Alaska. A fairly small venue, but the floor in front of the stage was cleared and everyone was dancing. The music was great and everyone had a great time. I was quite surprised watching a couple of YouTube videos of their performances when glances into the audience showed a quite subdued crowd. That was not my experience at all.

Now you might think I am going to feature their song “Fire”. Wow, it was a great one. Written by Bruce Springsteen, it was their first gold single. It also definitely fits the topic for the week, but no, I am writing about “Neutron Dance”.

”Neutron Dance” was written by Allee Willis and Danny Sembello (younger brother of Michael Sembello who wrote “Maniac” featured in the film “Flashdance”) in 1983. They met for the first time the day they set out to write a song in hopes of it getting selected for use in the movie “Streets of Fire” — a film about a nuclear holocaust. Danny had never had a record produced and Allee was not really interested in songwriting at the time.

The song did not make into “Streets of Fire” but that is just as well. The song was eventually used in the movie “Beverly Hills Cop” and was the song played as the backdrop to a memorable chase scene.

Sadly, Ms. Willis passed away in December of 2019, but not before making a huge impact with songs such as “September” for Earth, Wind and Fire, “I’ll Be There for You” (The Friends’s theme song) for The Rembrandts, and “Stir it Up” for Patti LaBelle (also included on the “Beverly Hills Cop” soundtrack).

In an interview with Songfacts, Allee says the song was about all the things going on in her life at the time.

“It  was all this stuff going on in my life:

I don’t want to take it anymore
I’ll just stay here locked behind the door
Just no time to stop and get away
Because I work so hard to make it every day

Really a lyric about all these things falling apart in your life, and you know what, just get it together and change your life. You know, this is a personal decision here. I used to have a little pink 1962 Corvair, and as we were writing this song, I look out the window, and there’s someone out in front of my house trying to jimmy open the door of the Corvair. So I race out of the studio, and as I’m running out – and I tape everything. Everything. So I have this. You hear me racing out of the room and screaming back at him, “Someone stole my brand new Chevrolet!” and that was that line. And when I saw that movie – I went to a pre-screening of it – it was mind-boggling to me for many, many reasons, but the first one of which, “Neutron Dance,” which is the song that opens the movie, on that line, “someone stole my brand new Chevrolet,” this cigarette truck that Eddie Murphy is locked up in the back of, screaming through the streets of Detroit, slams into this Chevrolet. And “I’m just burning, doing the Neutron Dance,” which to me meant someone could push the button tomorrow and we could all go up in smoke, so make your change now. On that line, a car explodes. I mean, I couldn’t have written a better song for a movie scene if my life depended on it. But where to me the whole Beverly Hills Cop thing and “Neutron Dance” – and I did have one other song in there, “Stir It Up” by Patti LaBelle – gets really good, is that throughout the movie Eddie Murphy wears this T-shirt that says “Mumford” on it. And that was my high school in Detroit.”

In the interview, Allee goes on to explain that this song was released during the Cold War and ended up getting her designated as one of the most dangerous people in the U.S.

“The Russian government named me as one of the most dangerous people living in the United States, because they mis-translated it as “neutron bomb.” The first verse they translated as “a powerful nuclear explosion is approaching, it will annihilate everyone; who cares if you have no car, no job, no money, just dance, dance, dance.” And this was a huge article in Pravda, and I was supposed to be going to Russia with BMI, and I wasn’t let in the country. I mean, it was nuts.”

It is an interesting interview and well worth reading.

Neutron Dance
Lyrics from Lyricstranslate.com

I don’t wanna take it anymore
I’ll just stay here locked behind the door
Just no time to stop and get away
‘Cause I work so hard to make it every day

Whoo-ooh
Whoo-ooh

There’s no money falling from the sky
‘Cause a man took my heart and robbed me blind
Someone stole my brand new Chevrolet
And the rent is due, I got no place to stay

Whoo-ooh
Whoo-ooh

And it’s hard to say
Just how some things never change
And it’s hard to find
Any strength to draw the line
Oh, I’m just burnin’ doin’ the neutron dance
I’m just burnin’ doin’ the neutron dance

Industry don’t pay a price that’s fair
All the common people breathing filthy air (Lord have mercy)
Roof caved in on all the simple dreams
And to get ahead your heart starts pumping schemes

And it’s hard to say
Just how some things never change
And it’s hard to find
Any strength to draw the line
Oh, I’m just burnin’ doin’ the neutron dance (Ah, ah, ah)
I’m just burnin’ doin’ the neutron dance

Whoo-ooh
(Whoo-ooh)
I’m on fire, yeah
I’m on fire, yeah

And it’s hard to say
Just how some things never change
And it’s hard to find
Any strength to draw the line
Oh, I’m just burnin’ doin’ the neutron dance (Ah, ah, ah)
I’m just burnin’ doin’ the neutron dance

I know there’s a pot of gold for me
All I got to do is just believe
Oh, I’m so happy doin’ the neutron dance
And I’m just burnin’ doin’ the neutron dance
I’m so happy doin’ the neutron dance (It’s in my hands)
I’m just burnin’ doin’ the neutron dance (It’s in my feet)
(Well, well, well, well)
Whoo-ooh
Whoo-ooh
I’m so happy doin’ the neutron dance
I’m so happy doin’ the neutron dance
Whoo-ooh
(Whoo-ooh)
Whoo-ooh
(Whoo-ooh)
I’m so happy, I’m just burnin’
(It’s in my hands, it’s in my feet)
I’m so happy, I’m just burnin’
(It’s all over me, I can’t help myself)
I’m so happy, I’m just burnin’
I’m so happy, I’m just burnin’
I’m so happy, I’m just burnin’
I’m so happy, I’m just burnin’

Video depicting The Pointer Sisters as theater usherettes working during the showing of “Beverly Hills Cop”. Excellent marketing!

And once again as performed by The Pointer Sisters.


Why not join in on this Sunday blogging ritual. Pop over to Jim Adams blog to check out the rules and read some of the great musical posts.

21 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday – The Pointer Sisters”

  1. Whoo-ooh doin’ the neutron dance, thanks for sharing this Maggie. It looks like an easy enough dance to do, just bend a bit and shake tour legs, but The Pointer Sisters look really good doing this. That must have been a cool show up in Alaska and I love the story about the Russians.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I didn’t remember the song until I played the video. But your mention of ‘September’ by EWF is a reminder of one of my favourite pop records of all time. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love “Neutron Dance”! I also love the album that it came from (I was just listening to it yesterday, “Automatic” is my favorite song). The Pointer Sisters is such an 80s classic. Did you know Bonnie Pointer just recently died (she was in the group before the 80s though)?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well now I’m out my seat dancing and the kids think I lost my mind. Love this song. I’d forgotten Balki was in the video. The movie was good too. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

I appreciate those who read and I enjoy your thoughtful comments.

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