When I bought this on 19 December 1985, I was feeling really good about being me. I had just turned 16 and I had been out shopping with a good mate so I am supposing that I spent some of my birthday money on it. It was perhaps quite an unusual record for me to buy – but of course Ms Houston did have impeccable soul credentials, seeing that she was Dionne Warwick’s niece. The fact is, I loved the song and as it was that special time of the year just BEFORE Christmas means that it is a special memory for me.
The song entered the UK charts in November 1985 and quickly rose to number one – a position that it held for two weeks from 14 December until it was dislodged by Shakin’ Stevens with his monster hit, Merry Christmas Everyone. Now to my mind, this was the Christmas number one (i.e. it occupied the top spot on 25/12/85), but in actual fact, Shaky is the OFFICIAL number one – hitting the spot on 28 December. Those damn technicalities eh?
There are many different thoughts going through my head as I write about this single. I bought it in May 1987, so I was 17 and at sixth form college, therefore I guess that buying this single was a throwback to being a few years younger. It’s not a serious song in the way that Saving All My Love was. This is proper throwaway pop; fluffy nonsense by any other name. I guess that I’m trying to make a distinction here, between something that was a stellar piece of work and this, a less heavyweight offering. To take the argument further, I suppose that I am trying to justify this 45 its place in amongst the other stuff in my collection and more importantly, to vindicate myself in buying it.
I bought it on 29 May 1987 just after it had entered the UK singles chart at number 10. The following week it was number two before spending a fortnight at number one. It then went on to spend a further 4 weeks in the top ten. I Wanna Dance was the third best selling single in the UK singles chart for 1987. The fat that only Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up and Starship’s Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now sold more copies in the year perhaps serves to illustrate the direction in which the UK singles chart, and perhaps UK pop music, was trending. The final nail in the coffin for any pretensions of coolness for this song was my Dad’s decision to (ask me to) buy the parent album, Whitney, from which the single was taken. Thus the first rule of Pop Music – Don’t Mix The Generations – was flouted.