Remember that home movie of you at the middle school talent contest? Yeah, it’s kind of like that. Only in this case, the embarrassing footage belongs to the Boss.
Chances are you remember the music video for “Dancing in the Dark” that became a huge hit on MTV. It was the first single from Bruce Springsteen’s monster 1984 LP, Born in the U.S.A. (That’s right, we said “LP”. That shows you how quaint this story is.)
The lip-sunk performance clip had a couple of distinctions: it was directed by filmmaker Brian De Palma and it introduced to an unsuspecting world an ingénue named Courteney Cox. The actress, who would go to fame in the sitcom Friends, played the girl who was “randomly” picked by Springsteen to come up on the stage to dance next to him.
Turns out there was an earlier version of the song (see video below) that never made it on the air. For reasons that should be obvious.
You can see the Boss, wearing a bandana and suspenders over a wife beater doing a lonely, almost spastic dance on a sound stage. It looks like a Rambo Workout tape.
Is it our imagination, or does Bruce glance around at several points as if he’s hoping someone will rescue him? Clarence Clemons does show up eventually and Springsteen almost tries to hide behind the Big Man and his tomato juice suit.
The video has three different takes stitched together, but you’ll get the idea after the first run-through .
As Bruce sings in “Dancing in the Dark”: “There’s a joke here somewhere and it’s on me.”