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The Pointer Sisters “Neutron Dance” from Beverly Hills Cop
Neutron Dance was written by Allee Willis and Danny Sembello and was was released by the Pointer Sisters on their 1983 album Break Out. The song was written in hopes that it would be included in the Streets of Fire soundtrack in 1984. Fortunately for everyone involved, it was not included in that film.
Instead the song would explode in popularity when it was included on the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack.
Its road to Beverly Hills Cop had two detours. The first one came from one of the Pointer Sisters. Ruth Pointer who does lead vocals on the song, loved the arrangement of the song, but disliked the use of the word Neutron because of its violent connotations )with the Neutron Bomb being in the news at the time). Fortunately Willis convinced her to look past the lyric and just sing the song.
The next hurdle came from the producers. The song was energetic and fun. So it made for a great addition to the rough cut of a chase scene in Beverly Hills Cop. Producers of the film thought of it as a great placeholder, but they kept assuming that the song would be replaced.
They even asked the producer of the song Richard Perry to come up with something similar, but different. Fortunately for the Pointer Sisters and the world, Perry believe strong in Neutron Dance and would not deliver and alternative.
The song was released as a single on Break Out in anticipation of its inclusion on the sound, but it wasn’t until the film was released and the music video started entering heavy rotation on Mtv, that the song took off.
The video stars the Pointer Sisters as movie theater ushers, and Bronson Pinchot as their boss;. The movie has a “meta” theme to it, with the film being shown in the theater being Beverly Hills Cop. This allowed them to promote the film by showing clips during the video.
By March of 1985, the song peaked at number six on the US Billboard Hot 100. Break Out, propelled to new heights by the popularity of the Neutron Dance would prove to be a high water mark in the Pointer Sisters popularity. The album would sell over three million copies in the US and won the group two Grammy Awards and two American Music Awards.