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Terence Trent D’Arby – Dance little sister

Giving up is the easy thing to do
Time is on your side
Would you just watch the clock and let it tick for you
(You've got to) Dance Little Sister
#TTD #TerenceTrentDArby #DanceLittleSister

In the 80s, we surely saw many artists who were truly brilliant, really exceptional. Many were also underrated at the time, and only as the years went by did we understand how ahead of their time they truly were. Yet, some of them left an indelible mark even if they were never able to replicate a certain level of success.

One of the most brilliant and also the most underrated was undoubtedly Terence Trent D’Arby. In the summer of 1987 his legendary LP (do you still remember this word?) with a very complicated title, Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D’Arby, had catapulted him to the top of the charts throughout Europe, thanks also to his first singles and videos such as If You Let Me Stay and Wishing Well. Terence immediately showed considerable artistic and vocal skills and also a strong stage presence, and his records sold a lot.

In October 1987, the third single by this exuberant character was released, with its video. Dance Little Sister was not only an irresistible rock ballad, but also a video that showed us Terence’s skills as a dancer, and in fact between the song and the video I would say that there are various quotes or homages to artists who most likely inspired the good Terence. In fact, both Terence and his producer Martyn Ware (founder and member of The Human League together with Ian Marsh and Phil Oakey, and then of Heaven 17 together with Glenn Gregory) were very scrupulous people, and I cannot think that the quotes contained in this unleashed song were random.

First of all, the title was already familiar, perhaps not to teenagers, but certainly to their parents, because Rolling Stones had recorded their Dance Little Sister in 1974. In that song Mick was probably inspired by a holiday in the Caribbean with his wife Bianca, while Terence Trent D’Arby’s story is different, but let’s say that he surely had already known and heard this title, considering that he had moved to the United Kingdom many years before.

Terence certainly has a soul and gospel background, and you can clearly hear it in some lesser-known songs from his great debut album, such as in the vocal-only song As Yet Untitled, or in If You All Get to Heaven. In Dance Little Sister, however, there is also a clear reference to the funky music of James Brown, with an explicit quote: in fact in the song Terence repeats some verses taken from Sex Machine.

And there’s certainly no shortage of inspiration coming from Prince’s music, in all this funkiness. And, don’t you have the feeling of having already seen the movements, the dance steps? Well, Terence had his own style, but certainly the influence of early Michael Jackson is quite evident in those movements.

The video shows a performance by Terence and his support musicians, and they are the same musicians who, in a similar setting, had also accompanied him in the two previous videos, of which Dance Little Sister is therefore a sort of ideal continuation. Starting from Wishing Well, then, the continuation is also visual, because some scenes of the video show Terence Trent D’Arby living scenes of a family life, and in these scenes TTD’s partner is played by the model Kelly Brennan, who will also appear in Sign Your Name, the third video of the trilogy with Kelly.

In short, Dance Little Sister was probably the most important success of Terence Trent D’Arby’s career; the list of countries where this song entered the top ten is very long, and the impact of this song on Terence’s career is certainly evident. Terence Trent D’Arby years later revolutionized his life and identity, changing his name to Sananda Francesco Maitreya and settling in Milan with a very stable family bond, but although his style changed greatly with maturity, he absolutely did not deny that music and that album that gave him so much popularity.

In the 80s, Terence himself had said that “The Hardline” would be the best debut album of the entire 80s. Today, not only does Sananda agree with him, but we Dinosaurs can add that it was definitely one of the best albums of the 80s.

Terence Trent D’Arby on Wikipedia

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