Van Halen Dance The Night Away | The Hollywood Redux Podcast | Episode 205
Fall festivities abound in the latest installment of The Hollywood Redux podcast, as the gang gears up to attend the final stop on Van Halen’s 2015 World Tour at the world famous Hollywood Bowl. PLUS a recap of Beyond Fest’s Evil Dead event featuring special panel guests (and legends) Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell, and moderated by Shaun of the Dead director, Edgar Wright.
About Van Halen’s Dance the Night Away
“Dance the Night Away” was Van Halen’s first top 20 U.S. hit, peaking at #15, and the second song from their 1979 album Van Halen II. While the rest of the songs from this album had existed in various forms since their days doing demos and playing clubs, this song was possibly the only song written during the recording sessions for the album. The band members conceived the song during the recording sessions while they were standing in a circle humming to each other. It was inspired by Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way”. Eddie Van Halen purposely left a guitar solo out of the final version of the song, replacing it instead with a riff of tap harmonics. David Lee Roth originally wanted to call the song “Dance Lolita Dance”, but Eddie Van Halen convinced him that “Dance the Night Away” was more suitable and the chorus was changed to reflect that.
Roth claimed, during a 2006 performance in San Diego, California, that he wrote this song in tribute to an intoxicated woman who was having sex in the back of a truck and ran with her pants on backwards while escaping police officers into the bar where the fledgling band was playing. This was also mentioned at a 2006 performance in Detroit, Michigan.
The song appears in the films Private Parts, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, the science fiction film Mission to Mars, the Academy Award-winning 2012 film Argo, and in the closing credits of That’s My Boy. It was covered in 2010 by Pat Monahan on Santana’s album Guitar Heaven: The Greatest Guitar Classics of All Time. In 2015, the song was covered and performed by Vocal Adrenaline, on the premiere episode, “Loser Like Me”, of the sixth season of Glee.
The song was not performed live during the Sammy Hagar era, but did get played during the Van Halen III Tour in 1998. It has been played live on every tour since the 2007 reunion with Roth, and a live version is included on the album Tokyo Dome Live in Concert.