On this day in music history: May 28, 1983 - “Flashdance… What A Feeling” by Irene Cara hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 6 weeks, also topping the Club Play chart for 3 weeks on June 11, 1983, and peaking at #2 on the R&B singles chart on June 4, 1983.
Written by Giorgio Moroder, Keith Forsey and Irene Cara, it is the biggest hit for the Bronx, NY singer, songwriter and actress. Having worked professionally as a singer and actress from the age of three, Irene Cara performs on Broadway, on the PBS series “The Electric Company”, as well as appearing in the film “Sparkle” and the mini series “Roots: The Next Generation”, before her big breakthrough comes in the Alan Parker directed film “Fame” in 1980. In 1982, Cara is asked to sing the theme song for a low budget film being produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer called “Flashdance”. She works with producer and songwriters Giorgio Moroder and Keith Forsey, best known for their work with Donna Summer. Also the films score composer, Moroder has written an instrumental that he has in mind to be used as the theme. While driving the recording studio, Cara and Forsey pass ideas back and forth about what the songs lyrical concept should be. Irene comes up with an idea expressing the feeling that comes over you while dancing, and Keith counters that by blurting out the lines “what a feeling” and “dancing for my life”, both of which become essential hooks to the song. By the time they reach the studio, the lyrics are completed, and Cara records her lead vocal. Released as the first single from the “Flashdance” soundtrack in late March of 1983, it quickly becomes a smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #77 on April 2, 1983, it climbs to the top of the chart eight weeks later. Like the film itself, “Flashdance… What A Feeling” becomes a pop cultural phenomenon, and an anthem to those striving to make their dreams come true. The song wins Irene Cara a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female in 1984, as well as winning a Golden Globe and the Academy Award for Best Original Song for Moroder, Forsey, and Cara. “Flashdance… What A Feeling” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.