Dirty Dancing: The Dirty and the Dancing

It has been a week of inevitability so of course it is time to talk about “Dirty Dancing” and its soundtrack YES!!!!! A big HELLO to my girlfriends out there…

Any woman over 30..mhhhmm…(I of course only say that to please our target audience, not to disclose any age related secrets) will agree with me when we say this is one of the greatest films and love stories out there and it also has a pretty great soundtrack. I thought I´d classify it by ‘Dancing’ the great one songs and ‘Dirty’ the ones that shouldn’t be in there.

Let´s start with the DANCING:

Otis Redding ~ Love Man

When do we hear this? When a GORGEOUS Patrick Swayze asks Baby (Jennifer Grey) to dance for the first time.

Love man

If you don´t remember/like this moment  or the precise moment when he notices her, stops dancing and calls her to the floor with his index finger, then you should stop reading now. I don’t think you will like this post, or think that we have much in common and you will probably find this post (or perhaps even, this whole blog?) “useless”…and are one of those people that asks “but why write about that?”. For all the rest of you who do: One of the best moments in movie history ever!!!!!

The song is the fourth posthumous single by Otis Redding (September 9, 1941–December 10, 1967).  When this song is playing we are introduced to Johnny Castle (Swayze) and Penny Johnson (Cynthia Rhodes). Baby Houseman (Jennifer Grey) has gone to the “underground” part of the hotel, where the employees hang out and do their dancing.

Stay – Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs

The song is a Doo Wop classic recorded by Maurice Williams. According to my sources (WIKI): “The song was written by Williams in 1953 when he was 15 years old. He had been trying to convince his date not to go home at 10 o’clock as she was supposed to. He lost the argument, but as he was to relate years later, “Like a flood, the words just came to me.””. If this is true I thank the Gods that I didn’t have a boyfriend who could write like that at 15. I would be a mom by now and would probably not have time to write here.

The Ronettes – Be My Baby

“Be my Baby” by The Ronettes was released in August 1963. It was produced by non other than the now infamous Phil Spector (In 2009, Spector was convicted of second-degree murder in the 2003 shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson in his California hone). Spector also co-wrote the song. It is recognized as the perfect embodiment of his ground breaking ‘Wall of Sound’ production technique  – dense, layered, filled with reverberation sounds that came across well on AM radio and jukeboxes.

The Contours – Do You Love Me

We hear this when Johnny is teaching Baby how to dance. The vehicle for their falling in love: the dance lessons. The 1962 single was one of Mowtown´s hits. Written and produced by Motown CEO Berry Gordy Jr. It was performed by The Countours and it was their only Top 40 record. When the song was released again as part of this soundtrach, it again charted on the Top 40. In 1988- two decades later. The song is one of the first ones to play with a false ending at 2:26.

Mickey and Sylvia – Love Is Strange

It was released in 1956. BEST AIR GUITAR EVER???????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is a scene from the movie that cannot be discussed, only observed, so:

I cannot comment on all the songs, so these are some songs I also LOVE!

Solomon Burke ~ Cry To Me – the song they make love too!!!!!!!!!

I also love what she says just before they start kissing:

Baby: Me? I’m scared of everything. I’m scared of what I saw, I’m scared of what I did, of who I am, and most of all I’m scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I’m with you.”


In the Still of the Night-The Five Satins

These Arms of Mine – Otis Redding

Hey! Baby! By Bruce Channel 

Big Girls Don’t Cry – Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons

Some Kind of Wonderful – The Drifters

Now for the “Dirty”

LISA (Baby´s sister)  singing:

Lisa is annoying, naive, and shallow, but by the end of the movie we discover she has a great heart and is also humble, which makes her a “good one” for me.

She will also be remembered for this quote:

Lisa Houseman: I’ve decided to go all the way with Robbie.

Baby: Oh, Lisa, no. Not with someone like him.

Lisa Houseman: Do you think if we came back here for a our tenth anniversary, it would be free?

Baby: It-it’s just wrong this way. It should be with someone – it should be with someone that you sort of love.

Lisa Houseman: Oh, come on. You don’t care about me. You wouldn’t care if I humped the entire army… as long as they were on the right side of the Ho Chi Minh Trail.”

You Don’t Own Me – The Blow Monkeys

Yes – Merry Clayton

Patrick Swayze – She’s Like The Wind

I don´t want to get into the songs. I just think they are flops of the soundtrack and make me skip them. I feel a bit bad about the last one. It was sung by and even co-written by Swayze but I heard it SOOO many times I just cannot listen to it anymore.

Finally, I have come the the “most famous” – or commercially successful song from the soundtrack.

(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life – Bill Medley – Jennifer Warnes

I think it´s “Dancing” because it is the final dance, when Johnny delivers his famous line “Nobody puts Baby in a corner”. Also, when Baby finally trusts him and is able to do “the lift”.


“Dirty” because…let´s face it..it is CHEESY. Also, it is your “standard” wedding song and although the sentiment is great, I think newly weds need to pick more creative songs.

I think both the soundtrack and the movie are unique and fantastic. They both make a statement: the movie is not only about dancing, it is also about getting over social and cultural barriers, about the triumph of optimism and standing up for what you believe in, the movie where we see the perfect ‘Barbie’ lead female actress is obsolete and a regular looking girl can do the job perfectly and allow millions of women out there to feel identified and the soundtrack shows us that even in the eighties,the epitome of ‘light’ culture, you can have a perfect mix of a commercial yet excellent soundtrack.

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