Do You Want to Dance

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"Do You Want to Dance"
Bobby Freeman Do You Want To Dance.jpg
Single by Bobby Freeman
B-side"Big Fat Woman"
Released1958 (1958)
Format7-inch single
GenreRock and roll
Songwriter(s)Bobby Freeman
Bobby Freeman singles chronology
"Do You Want to Dance"
"Betty Lou Got a New Pair of Shoes"

"Do You Want to Dance" is a song written by American singer Bobby Freeman and recorded by him in 1958. It reached number No. 5 on the United States Billboard Top 100 Sides pop chart and No. 2 on the Billboard R&B chart.[1][2][3] Cliff Richard and the Shadows' version of the song reached No. 2 in the United Kingdom in 1962, despite being a B-side. The Beach Boys' version reached No. 12 as "Do You Wanna Dance?" in the United States in 1965, and a 1972 cover by Bette Midler ("Do You Want to Dance?") reached No. 17.

A different song called "Do You Wanna Dance?" was a UK hit for Barry Blue in 1973.

Bobby Freeman version[edit]

San Francisco-born teenager Bobby Freeman had been a member of doo-wop groups the Romancers and the Vocaleers. When asked by a local DJ if he had written any songs, he wrote several and recorded them as solo demos. These included "Do You Want to Dance", which was heard by a visiting record label executive, Mortimer Palitz of Jubilee Records. He signed Freeman to the label, and had the original recording overdubbed in New York by session musicians including guitarist Billy Mure. Released on the Jubilee subsidiary label Josie, "Do You Want to Dance" quickly rose to number 5 on the pop chart and number 2 on the R&B chart in early 1958, when Freeman was still only 17.[4][5] Contrary to some reports, Jerry Garcia did not play on the record.[5]

The song was included in Robert Christgau's "Basic Record Library" of 1950s and 1960s recordings, published in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981).[6]

Cliff Richard and the Shadows version[edit]

"Do You Want to Dance"
Do you want to dance - Im looking out the window.jpg
Cover of the Danish edition
Single by Cliff Richard and the Shadows
A-side"I'm Lookin' Out the Window"
ReleasedMay 1962 (1962-05)[7]
Format7-inch single
RecordedDecember 19, 1961
StudioEMI, London
Songwriter(s)Bobby Freeman
Producer(s)Norrie Paramor
Cliff Richard and the Shadows singles chronology
"The Young Ones"
"I'm Lookin' Out the Window" / "Do You Want to Dance"
"It'll Be Me"

The Cliff Richard and the Shadows version[8] also known as "Do You Wanna Dance" was released in the United Kingdom as the B-side of "I'm Lookin' Out the Window" in May 1962. However, like seven other Cliff Richard singles released between 1959 and 1963, the B-side received a good amount of airplay and made the New Musical Express UK singles chart in its own right. On this occasion, it became Richard's second highest charting B-side (after "Bachelor Boy"), making it to number 10 (while "I'm Lookin' Out the Window" reached number 2). The single reached number 2 in the other UK singles charts, listing both tracks.[9]

"Do You Want to Dance" went on to become the more successful charting track from the single in some countries, reaching number 1 in the Netherlands, Australia (based on the Sydney chart of the time, because an Australian nationwide chart had not yet started) and Flemish Belgium.[10][11][12] The single went on to sell over 1 million copies worldwide.[13]

"Do You Want to Dance" was included on the EP Cliff’s Hits, released November 1962, and first appeared on LP with Richard's first compilation album Cliff's Hit Album, released July 1963. A live version appeared on Richard's double album Japan Tour 74 issued in 1975.


"Do You Want to Dance" was recorded on December 19, 1961 at EMI's Abbey Road Studios. The session, engineered by Malcolm Addy and produced by EMI's A&R man Norrie Paramor, featured new drummer Brian Bennett and Jet Harris on bass, soon to leave the Shadows in 1962.[14]


Chart entries as "Do You Want to Dance" or "Do You Want to Dance"/"I'm Looking Out the Window":

Chart (1962) Peak
UK (New Musical Express Chart)[9] 10
Australia (Kent Music Report)[15]
(retrospectively calculated chart position)
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[16] 4
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[17] 1
Spain (Promusicae)[18] 15

Chart entries as "I'm Looking Out the Window"/"Do You Want to Dance":

Chart (1962) Peak
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[19] 2
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[20] 18
Ireland (IRMA)[21] 2
Norway (VG-lista)[22] 2
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[23] 3

The Beach Boys version[edit]

"Do You Wanna Dance?"
Beach Boys - Do You Wanna Dance?.jpg
Single by The Beach Boys
from the album The Beach Boys Today!
B-side"Please Let Me Wonder"
ReleasedFebruary 15, 1965
Format7-inch single
RecordedJanuary 11, 1965
StudioGold Star, Hollywood, California
GenreRock and roll
Songwriter(s)Bobby Freeman
Producer(s)Brian Wilson
The Beach Boys singles chronology
"The Man with All the Toys"
"Do You Wanna Dance?"
"Help Me, Rhonda"
Audio sample
"Do You Wanna Dance?"

The Beach Boys' version of "Do You Wanna Dance?" was a single released through Capitol Records on February 15, 1965. It peaked at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was the highest charting Beach Boys song to feature Dennis Wilson on lead vocals. According to the contemporary United Press International (UPI) chart published by newspapers across the United States it was number eight in April 1965. It did best in regional playlists in the Twin Cities, Baltimore and San Jose, where it was number two; Dallas, Seattle and San Diego to number three; Portland to number four; and Chicago, Washington DC, Phoenix, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Hartford, Tulsa and Lincoln, number five. The B-side was "Please Let Me Wonder". The song was also released on the 1965 album The Beach Boys Today!.


"Do You Wanna Dance?" was recorded on January 11, 1965 at Gold Star Studios and was produced, arranged and conducted by Brian Wilson. Take 3 of the song was used as the master. The song was first released in 1965 in mono on the band's album Today! with a stereo remix of the song being released in 2012 on the stereo remaster of that same album.[24]


Sourced from Musician's Union AFM contract sheets and surviving session audio, documented by Craig Slowinski.[25]

The Beach Boys
Additional musicians and production staff

Live version[edit]

A live version from March 1965 was released in 2015 for the archival Live in Chicago 1965.[citation needed]


Chart (1965) Peak
Canadian RPM Singles Chart[26] 17
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[27] 12

Bette Midler version[edit]

"Do You Want to Dance?"
Bette Midler Do You Want to Dance single cover.jpg
Single by Bette Midler
from the album The Divine Miss M
GenrePop rock, vocal
Songwriter(s)Bobby Freeman
Bette Midler singles chronology
"Do You Want to Dance?"
"Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy"

Bette Midler included the song—with the original title restored, "Do You Want to Dance"—on her 1972 debut album The Divine Miss M. In contrast to the Bobby Freeman, Cliff Richard, and Beach Boys versions, which are uptempo rock and roll songs, Midler slowed the tempo of the song down to a sultry-sounding ballad. Midler's version was her first single release, reaching #17 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in early 1973 and the top 10 of the Go-Set National Charts in Australia during April 1973.

In 1985, Ula Hedwig, a Bette Midler-soundalike and former backup singer, sang the song emulating Bette Midler's version for a Mercury Sable television commercial. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that using this sound-alike version in a TV commercial violated Midler's right of publicity. Midler v. Ford Motor Co., 849 F.2d 460 (9th Cir. 1988). Midler had sued Ula and the Mercury Sable people for infringing on her trademark, and won her case by issuing a permanent injunction that prohibited all TV stations from further airing the commercial.


Chart (1972) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[28] 10
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[29] 18
Canada Adult Contemporary (RPM)[30] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[31] 17
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[32] 8

Other versions[edit]

  • 1982 - Bruce Springsteen played his version live on August 7, 1982, with the Beaver Brown Band
  • 1982 – Jan & Dean recorded and released the song on their album One Summer Night/Live.
  • 1983 – Neil Young covered the song live with his rockabilly band The Shocking Pinks, with one of the performances appearing on Solo Trans film.
  • 1985 – Dave Edmunds on the soundtrack Porky's Revenge!
  • 1987 – Barbie and the Rockers in the "Rockin' Back to Earth" special (where they are erroneously referred to as "Barbie and the Sensations" in the special's title), a sequel to their previous special, "Out of this World".
  • 1988 – David Lindley and El Rayo-X on their album Very Greasy
2000s (decade)

In popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ Bobby Freeman at AllMusic. Retrieved 24-05-2014.
  2. ^ Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 9 June 1958. p. 29. ISSN 0006-2510.
  3. ^ Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 30 June 1958. p. 45. ISSN 0006-2510.
  4. ^ Dik de Heer, "Bobby Freeman biography", Black Cat Rockabilly, 2013. Retrieved 31 January 2017
  5. ^ a b Jeff Tamarkin, "‘Do You Wanna Dance’ Singer Bobby Freeman Dies", Retrieved 1 February 2017
  6. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "A Basic Record Library: The Fifties and Sixties". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 0899190251. Retrieved March 16, 2019 – via
  7. ^ "The OFFICIAL Cliff Richard website: Discography - Singles". Retrieved 2014-02-09.
  8. ^ Cliff Richard and the Shadows: Do You Want to Dance at Discogs
  9. ^ a b Read, Mike; Goodall, Nigel; Lewry, Peter (1993). The Complete Chronicle Cliff Richard (doc)|format= requires |url= (help). Hamlyn, London. p. 303. ISBN 0-600-57897-6.
  10. ^ Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 28 July 1962. p. 16. ISSN 0006-2510.
  11. ^ Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 11 August 1962. p. 34. ISSN 0006-2510.
  12. ^ Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 18 August 1962. p. 22. ISSN 0006-2510.
  13. ^ Lewry, Peter; Goodall, Nigel (1996). The Ultimate Cliff (doc)|format= requires |url= (help) (1996 Updated ed.). Simon and Schuster Ltd, London. p. 206. ISBN 0-684-81696-2.
  14. ^ Lewry, Peter; Goodall, Nigel (1991). Cliff Richard The Complete Recording Sessions 1958-1990. London: Blandford. p. 40. ISBN 0-7137-2242-8.
  15. ^ Kent, David (2005). Australian Chart Book 1940–1969 (doc)|format= requires |url= (help). Australian Chart Book Pty Ltd, Turramurra, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-44439-5.
  16. ^ " – Cliff Richard – Do You Wanna Dance" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  17. ^ " – Cliff Richard – Do You Wanna Dance" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  18. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 1979). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  19. ^ "Cliff Richard: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  20. ^ Lassila, Juha (1990). Mitä Suomi soittaa?: Hittilistat 1954-87 (in Finnish). Jyväskylän yliopisto. ISBN 95-168-0321-0.
  21. ^ "Chart Track: Week 20, 1962". Irish Singles Chart.
  22. ^ " – Cliff Richard – I'm Lookin' Out The Window". VG-lista.
  23. ^ Johansson, Carl-Owe (1980). Rock Around the Clock - Saturday Night Fever 1955-1978 (doc)|format= requires |url= (help). Vara, Sweden: Dominique muzic-club.
  24. ^ Doe, Andrew G. (2012). "MONOSTEREO". Retrieved October 26, 2012.
  25. ^ Slowinski, Craig (2007). "The Beach Boys - The Beach Boys Today!" (PDF). Retrieved October 27, 2012.
  26. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Archived from the original on 2016-09-13. Retrieved 2016-08-29.
  27. ^ "The Beach Boys awards on Allmusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  28. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  29. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 5309." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  30. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 4879." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  31. ^ "Bette Midler Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  32. ^ "Bette Midler Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  33. ^ "Do You Wanna Dance". Retrieved 2014-02-09.

External links[edit]