When a song and a movie changed our culture

 
Last night I was browsing videos on youtube and suddenly I bumped into a jazzy version of Maniac, by Michael Sembello.
 
Maniac is a very simple song: catchy tunes, sharp lyrics.
 
But it had the perfect tone for the perfect moment in an unpretentious chick flick that became an overnight success and a cultural icon of the 80s: Flashdance.
 
Flashdance is a weird mix that somehow worked wonders.
 
It was the first collaboration of Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer. This was their first movie together, and their only chick flick. After Flashdance, they would stick to guy films exclusively.
 
The storyline is awfully simple: Cinderella, but with a few twists, 80s style.
 
This is a young woman who can work on a par with tough guys on a steel plant in a steel town like Philadelphia.
 
Her passion is dancing, so she works at night as a dancer in a men’s bar, both to keep her balance in life and at the bank.
 
She has aspirations to get a formal education in dancing which she can’t afford on her own.
 
Just to keep to story politically correct for the 80s, she is not a stripper.
 
In the movie, the song Maniac appears briefly while she is doing her daily exercises routine, as the background music she chooses to dance to while exercising.
 
This idea of a tough girl, capable of taking care of herself and of dealing with the types of guys she has as coworkers, and at the same time being able to dance with all that fire from within her, really struck me when the movie came out.
 
I don’t have a problem to admit that this movie (come on, a chick flick?), struck me deeply.
 
After the theatrical release of the movie worldwide, the entire world became Flashdance crazy!
 
Fashion, music, movies, MTV, you name it.
 
What Simpson and Bruckheimer learned from Flashdance, they applied it on Top Gun, and so they did it twice!
 
But allow me to get get back to Maniac and Sembello.
 
The original version of the song is here:
 
 
The jazzy version that got me into writing this entry is here:
 
 
If you pay enough attention to the lyrics, you may find many clues to the story that captured my imagination.
 
To make things round, the lyrics are as follows:
 
 
Just a steel town girl on a saturday night, lookin’ for the fight of her life
In the real-time world no one sees her at all, they all say she’s crazy
Locking rhythms to the beat of her heart, changing woman into life
She has danced into the danger zone, when a dancer becomes a dance
It can cut you like a knife, if the gift becomes the fire
On a wire between will and what will be
 
She’s a maniac, maniac on the floor
And she’s dancing like she’s never danced before
She’s a maniac, maniac on the floor
And she’s dancing like she’s never danced before
 
On the ice-build iron sanity is a place most never see
It’s a hard warm place of mystery, touch it, but can’t hold it
You work all your life for that moment in time, it could come or pass you by
It’s a push of the world, but there’s always a chance
If the hunger stays the night
There’s a cold connective heat, struggling, stretching for defeat
Never stopping with her head against the wind
 
She’s a maniac, maniac, I sure know
And she’s dancing like she’s never danced before
She’s a maniac, maniac, I sure know
And she’s dancing like she’s never danced before
 
[Solo]
 
It can cut you like a knife, if the gift becomes the fire
On a wire between will and what will be
She’s a maniac, maniac, I sure know
And she’s dancing like she’s never danced before
 
[repeats out]
 
 
 
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