All This Talk of Dancing –

– reminded me of this particular song from my teenage years:

What amazes me about this song is that it has spawned a number of genuinely awful cover versions, which either bury the tune in overwrought goth metal, or try to make a song about nuclear annihilation sound like a fun time at a rave. Kids these days! No respect, yo.

30 thoughts on “All This Talk of Dancing –

  1. I like how the Ultra Flirt version is cobbled together out of all of these stock dance remix bits and then sent to shamble about the countryside.

    Pity there’s no good ballad cover of it, complete with a truck driver’s gear change on the last chorus.

  2. Thanks for posting this. You’ve managed to boot “The Politics of Dancing” from the loop its been running in my head the past couple days. (Which was only in there to begin with because, well, look what’s been on Whatever this week.)

  3. I’m only marginally younger, and I don’t remember this song either. Probably a good thing, since that video would have given my pre-teen self nightmares.

  4. I’m about the same age, and I remember the song, but I’d never seen the video. I had no idea that it was really about nuclear annihilation, but now that I think about it, in the ’80s how could it have been about anything else?

  5. With entertainment like this, and 99 Luftballoons, and The Day After, it’s a miracle my entire generation didn’t commit suicide.

  6. I dunno, I can’t help watching that video and thinking that these people must be either suicidal or idiots, because a nuclear explosion that doesn’t do any more than blow out a few windows is eminently survivable. They didn’t even *try*! I would have taken the whole video more seriously if the aftermath had shown the house knocked down and set on fire, or its location replaced by a smoking lava-filled crater, you know?

    Anyway, I’m with Jim (#6) here, without the video I would have had no idea the song had anything at all to do with nuclear annihilation.

  7. Is that Mitch Ure with hair?

    In the early 80’s Ultravox were on an almost continuous loop on some radio stations, so if you were alive then in the UK you could not have not heard the song.

    Like Jim, I’d never connected he song with Nuclear Annihilation, but he’s right!

    OTOH the song gives me flashbacks to what was a pretty crappy time for me and a lot of people (height of the Thatcherite crackdown) and the music of the time reflected that.

    I’m Not sure how much of the post-punk, new romantic stuff made it over to your side of the pond, but Live Aid was the following year (Ure and Bob Geldorf organised that), so I’d guess a fair amount.

  8. Hey John, have you ever heard Midge’s pre-Ultravox band Rich Kids, featuring original Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock? Their song “Ghosts Of Princes In Towers” is a forgotten classic.

  9. Midge in Ultravox, mid-career. I remember him in Slick, 5 Glasgow lads in baseball uniforms going nowhere but with great haircuts.

    Ah, Vienna.

    How about some Human League next?

  10. I totally owned this Ultravox album. On vinyl. Wonder what happened to it? It’s strange to think I’m facing “it’s the possible end of the world” again. Nuclear annihilation vs. economic annihilation. At least this time ’round we have a shot at saving the planet by using fewer resources up.

  11. I love Ultravox! Found them through Reap The Wild Wind then did that back and forth dance through their catalogue.

    But I hate this song. In fact, my favorite album of theirs is Systems of Romance. Anathema, I know. But there you go.

  12. # tceiseleon 17 Oct 2008 at 12:25 pm
    “I dunno, I can’t help watching that video and thinking that these people must be either suicidal or idiots, because a nuclear explosion that doesn’t do any more than blow out a few windows is eminently survivable. They didn’t even *try*! I would have taken the whole video more seriously if the aftermath had shown the house knocked down and set on fire, or its location replaced by a smoking lava-filled crater, you know?”

    This is called ‘symbolism’, in many forms of art. It’s very artistic, and appreciated by sensitive people.

    It’s also called ‘this is a very low budget 1980’s music video, without 21st century CGI’. If one is cynical.

  13. I heart Ultravox, although one of my favourites is Vienna.

    I also love 99 Luftballoons (mentioned above) in the original German. (My german teachers showed it to us on the order of once a year.) And Forever Young. Yeah, I guess we kids of the 80s had a lot of nuclear war songs.

  14. That’s one of my favorite bands from the time. “Reap the Wild Wind” is okay, but this song is better and “Vienna” better still. I still throw “The Thin Wall” or “Visions in Blue” onto mix CDs for the car, too.

    I loved the guitar work. There was a ton of great guitar around in the early 80’s — Iron Maiden’s first album was released in the same year as Vienna (1980), Rush was getting airtime with “Spirit of Radio”, Triumph released Allied Forces in 1981, Yngwie Malmsteen was a rising force (heh) in Alcatrazz, Metallica’s first album was 1983 — but you didn’t expect great guitar work from a synth-pop band. Nor tough vocals, either, and Midge Ure has an amazing voice. I didn’t mind The Human League, and will confess to owning the album, but they’re just not in the same… well, you know.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane, John.

  15. That’s actually the first song you’ve ever posted that I really, really like. Well, you know, except for the Journey. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard a cover version of that song, and I didn’t click on any of those links, because, well, why ruin a good thing? Eh?

  16. ??
    Did that LP player with auto-closer and vertical mount actually exist. I guess you could lock down a record if you had some sort of grooved or threaded spindle but I have never seen anything like that.

  17. ??
    Did that LP player with auto-closer and vertical mount actually exist. I guess you could lock down a record if you had some sort of grooved or threaded spindle but I have never seen anything like that.

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