Deep Dive: Orleans, LET THERE BE MUSIC

Friday, July 19, 2019

44 years ago today, the band Orleans released the second single from their third album, a song which subsequently became not just the band’s first top-40 hit but, in fact, their first top-10 hit, too.

The first single from LET THERE BE MUSIC was the album’s title track, and it was a minor hit, cracking the Billboard Hot 100 but stalling at #55. Now, the second single, that’s another story...

“Dance With Me” was the work of John Hall and Johanna Hall. She was a former journalist who’d followed her muse to become a lyricist, he was the guitarist and vocalist for Orleans, and at the time they were married and penning pop songs together. The specific origins of this track were discussed in 2016 by Seth Rudetsky, who interviewed Johanna on SiriusXM and then subsequently wrote about them in his Playbill column, “Onstage and Backstage.”

“One day, [John] played a melody for Johanna. Johanna had a feeling of what the song title should be, but John rejected it as too simple. Then they were driving one day and she thought of the lyrics ‘Pick the beat up and kick your feet up’ and finally he agreed to let her write the song with the title she wanted: ‘Dance with Me’!”

The decision paid off, of course, as “Dance with Me” climbed all the way to #6 on the Billboard Hot 100, and – by coincidence – it hit the same high on the Adult Contemporary chart. And in case you’re wondering, John and Johanna were also the songwriters of Orleans’ other top-10 hit, “Still the One.” Sadly, their marriage failed to stand the test of time – they divorced in the ‘80s – but at least they got two top-10 hits out of it