The ‘80s: ‘Footloose’

FootlooseIn 1984, Paramount Pictures released the feature film Footloose, starring Lori Singer, Dianne West, John Lithgow and Kevin Bacon.  The film was loosely based on true events from a small town in Oklahoma, where dancing and, Kenny Loggins_Footloosesubsequently, rock music, had been banned for decades until challenged by local teenagers.

Bacon stars as Ren McCormack and, as it turns out, he was not the first choice for the lead; Tom Cruise was slated for the lead but couldn’t play the role because he was already filming the movie All The Right Moves.  Actor Rob Lowe was also considered for the lead after several auditions but ended up tearing ligaments in his knee, which prevented him from being able to perform the dance routines in the film. Despite mixed reviews, the film wound up grossing approximately $80 million at the box office, well over its original budget of $8.2 million.

The Footloose soundtrack became a number one hit on the Billboard Album chart and includes several classics for fans of ‘80s music. A new line up of the group Shalamar contributed a hit to the soundtrack with the tune “Dancing In The Sheets,” and the ballad “Almost Paradise…Love Theme from Footloose,” performed by Loverboy’s Mike Reno and Heart‘s Ann Wilson, hit the Top Ten on the pop chart and went to #1 on the adult contemporary chart. The film’s title track, performed and co-written by singer Kenny Loggins, spent three weeks at the top of the pop chart. The second number one Deniece Williams_Lets Hear It For the Boyhit, Deniece Williams’ “Let’s Hear It For The Boy,”topped not only the pop chart, but also the dance and R&B chart. Fun Fact: To avoid a crowd gathering around him urging him to repeat the dance scene from the movie, when Kevin Bacon attends a wedding, he slips the DJ twenty bucks to not play “Footloose.”Both “Footloose”and “Let’s Hear It For The Boy”received Academy Award nominations for Best Original Song, but lost to Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called To Say I Love You.”

—Montrose Cunningham

Montrose Cunningham is a Dallas, Texas-based, independent funk/rock/soul artist and devoted music aficionado, with a Master of Science degree in Marketing. When he isn’t digging through the crates–digital and analog–he’s jamming with his band or hanging with his daughters, sometimes at the same time. Purchase his release Inertia at, follow him on Twitter @MontroseC and check out his blog, Daddy Rock Star.

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