Whitney Houston Wants To Dance With Somebody

Neon colors, confetti and killer dance moves in this week's Forgotten Videos
  • Whitney Houston in "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)"
July 13, 2011 -- 10:55 am PDT
GRAMMY.com

Welcome to Forgotten Videos. For some, these videos are forgotten, for others just filed away, and for others still, a totally brand-new discovery. Whichever category you fall into, each week we'll feature a video that's possibly been collecting dust when what it really deserves is a fresh look. Or vice-versa…. We're not here to judge, we just want to take you on a little trip down memory lane. Yep, you'll remember when hair was really that big, when drums were that up front in the mix, when video was young(er) and so were you.


Whitney Houston
"I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)"
1987

Whitney Houston long ago earned the indisputable title of Pop Diva, with all the fame, acclaim, travails and record sales such a crown brings. But there was once a simpler, more innocent pre-diva time — before she became Bobby Brown's prerogative and before she announced herself as "Every Woman" — when Houston was simply a fresh-faced ingenue with a heart-melting smile and a killer set of pipes. That time is captured perfectly in the video to her 1987 smash No. 1 hit "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)," which picked up GRAMMY honors for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female.

The tune was the lead single from Houston's second album, Whitney, which made history as the first album by a female artist to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. And though fresh-faced, Houston was no novice, having already racked up three Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hits with "How Will I Know," "Saving All My Love For You" and "Greatest Love of All." Maybe in contrast to the earnest melodramatics of the latter song, Houston just wanted to have fun this time around.

The video opens by asking the greatest of all video questions: What happens when the star steps off the stage? Houston, who is dressed rather conservatively, has just entertained a throng of happy fans, but finds herself feeling lost and melancholy in a black-and-white world. Cue the rhythm track, the neon lights and three-figure confetti budget, and Houston — now with big hair and earrings seemingly made of Jolly Rancher candies — is suddenly full of color and singing her heart out in a garishly overlit '80s fantasy world.

Perhaps what is most striking about the dance-themed video is that while Houston busts a restrained move here and there, most of the motion comes from the frenetic male backup dancers, who seem to be alternately working up a Jr. Varsity gymnastics routine and fighting off seizures. In the end — after the Flashdance homage and after the jarringly primitive animation gags — our girl decides not to retire to her grand hotel, preferring instead to follow the dancing, skipping men into a buzzing club. Which leaves viewers to holler once again: "Nice kick steps fellas, but will somebody please dance with Whitney?"

Do you want to dance with somebody? Got any Forgotten Video recommendations? Leave us a comment.

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