Place Names in Rock Lyrics: Dancing in the Streets

In this feature, we’ve previously done Sweet Little SixteenNow let’s do Dancing in the Streets. Originally by Martha and the Vandellas in 1965 (and co-written by Marvin Gaye), this song also charted in the 1980s in a version by Van Halen.

I might add this song is a personal favorite of mine.

The difference between the verse and chorus is a little vague in this song, but there are at least “A” and “B” sections, with the lyrics in the “A” sections varying slightly each time to incorporate different place names.

Calling out around the world,
Are you ready for a brand new beat?
Summer’s here and the time is right
For dancing in the street.
They’re dancing in Chicago,
Down in New Orleans,
In New York City.

And the next time it’s this:

It’s an invitation across the nation,
A chance for folks to meet.
There’ll be laughing, singing, and music swinging,
Dancing in the street.
Philadelphia, P.A.
Baltimore and D.C. now.
Can’t forget the Motor City.

And then in the final “A” section the only city names is Los Angeles. So the list for this song is
New Orleans
New York City
Washington, DC
Los Angeles

And after two songs, here’s our master list:

Los Angeles
New Orleans x2
New York City
Philadelphia x2
San Francisco
St. Louis
(heart of) Texas
Washington, DC

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: