Behind the Music 1984: “All She Wants To Do Is Dance”
1984 Recording Studio. A lively scene. Untouched white powder and champagne waits in the center of the room. DON HENLEY, GREG the producer, BRAD the Keyboard Player, FRED the Guitarist, and JIMMY the Gopher listen to the playback of “All She Wants To Do Is Dance.”
GREG cuts the playback.
The studio erupts in celebration. Champagne pops.
That’s a number one.
Straight to number one, Don. Congratulations.
DON lights a joint
It’s real and it’s true music, you know? A real, true thing. That is what Don Henley is about, man. Sincerity.
The studio phone rings. GREG the Producer answers.
Truth is beauty. And beauty is, uhh, Don Fuckin’ Hen–
Hello? …Yeah we just wrapped it…What do you mean we got a problem?…No fuckin way. She told me. She told Mr. Henley that all she wants to do is dance and that’s the end of it…No No No No No! Well, you get her ass in here now!
GREG snaps his fingers. JIMMY the Gopher splits.
It’s alright, baby. Everything is the utmost.
It’s the girl from the song.
I dig her.
I dig her single-minded nature.
Yeah, well. Nicky was out with her. Dancing–
And she whispers to Nicky, “I want to dance. Dancing is all I want to do. I also want to make romance.”
A beat. The room is stunned.
Don picks up the giant bowl of white powder and smashes it against a wall.
BRAD freaks out about the spilt powder.
It’s flour, Brad. Leftover from the first goddamn rewrite with the first girl. All she wanted to do was bake, bake, bake? Turns out, she also wanted to sauté.
BRAD points at the 15 exotic animals that were offscreen.
The girl who said all she wants to do is to finish her Veterinary Degree and apply band-aids to exotic house pets.
Woulda been a killer chorus.
Would have been. But it’s not true. And we only do truth.
Right. You’re goddamn right.
DON paces the room
Do you remember a little ditty by the Eagles called “Take It Easy”?
Everyone is baffled. Nobody has heard of it.
Of course you don’t. And you never will. Glenn Fry never stood on a corner in Winslow, Arizona. Glenn Fry did not have seven women on his mind. He had seventeen women on his mind. And not one of them wanted to own him or stone him. There was a girl, my Lord, that slowed down to take a look at him– from her flatbed Toyota. And that is why “Take It Easy” is a terrible, terrible song that nobody knows.
The musicians nod. They get it.
So what do you want to do, Don?
We are going to get it right.
The Unnamed Girl and Jimmy the Gopher enter the studio. The Unnamed Girl stares at the floor.
The musicians stare at The Unnamed Girl.
She’s not danc–
She’s not dancing, Jimmy.
I got her. She was…she was making romance.
Is this true?
UNNAMED GIRL bursts into tears
It’s true! All I want to do is dance. Dancing is all I want to do, but…
But you also want to make romance. I get it.
I’m Don Henley.
UNNAMED GIRL recovered
What the fuck does make romance mean?
Roll back the master mix. Get me another synth amp and max out the mikes. Let’s make us a number one hit.
The room erupts in joy.
Same scene. The unnamed girl dances. They record the fresh track. Don is singing in the audio booth:
Song: “All she wants to do is. All she wants to do is dance…And make romance.”
Again the room erupts in joy. Champagne pops. BRAD starts cutting lines of flour.
It’s beautiful, Don. Because it’s real and true.
DON lights a joint
Now it is.
Anybody want to party?
That’s flour, chum.
I want to party.
A beat. The room is stunned into silence.
The UNNAMED GIRL realizes her error.
What was that?
I want to party.
They rerecord the song. Don is in the audiobooth. Irritated, he adds:
Song: “She wants to party–”
The room (sort of) erupts in joy.
GREG checks his watch
Good work, fellas. Let’s call it a night then.
I want to get down.
Christ on a cross.
They listen to the new playback. DON sings in the audiobooth, exhausted.
Song: “She wants to party. She wants to get down.
All she wants to do is, all she wants to do is dance.
And make romance.”
Roll “All She Wants To Do Is Dance” over the following:
UNNAMED GIRL is tied to a chair. GREG operates a FORKLIFT holding a huge canvas bag of kittens.
Do you want to be covered in adorable, cute, fluffy kittens?
DON emerges from a cloud of smoke. He rolls out an unearthly cabinet. He opens the cabinet to reveal GIZMO the Mogwai. (It is 1984.)
Do you want to play with this Mogwai? Maybe feed it after midnight?
Song rolls over MONTAGE OF ABSURD TEMPTATIONS:
- The guys jump on rolls of BUBBLE WRAP. They offer her a sheet. She shakes her head NO.
- The guys smash a bunch of pinatas. They offer her a bat. She shakes her head NO.
- The guys painstakingly assemble a Ship-In-A-Bottle. She shakes her head NO.
- The guys joyfully check out books from the library. They offer her a library card. She shakes her head NO.
- The guys get heart transplants. The surgeon offers her a fresh heart. She shakes her head NO.
- The guys huff glue with Adolph Hitler, Ayatollah Khomeini, and John McEnroe. They ask her to join the circle. She REALLY shakes her head NO.
HARRISON FORD emerges from the smoke. Hold for applause.
Do you want a lapdance from this man?
No. No. No. All I want to do is dance. All I want to do is dance, make romance, party, and get down. And that’s it.
The musicians breathe a sigh of relief. HARRISON FORD unties the UNNAMED GIRL.
Go on. Get out of here.
UNNAMED GIRL splits. HARRISON FORD nods, splits. The musicians relax. The phone rings. GREG answers.
I gotta hand it to ya, Don. Magical. Hello? What about the girl from “Boys of Summer”? No. No No No. Don’t give me that shit. Her brown skin was shining in the sun? She said it was overalls and a stovepipe hat, goddammit, and that’s how we recorded it…What the fuck are Wayfarers?
DON hurls a bowl of M&Ms against the wall.