Monday, May 11, 2020

Musical Monday - Gloria by Laura Branigan

#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: The week of November 27, 1982.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

This song was a huge hit in 1982 - at the time it set a record for a song by a solo female artist. Despite the fact that it was and undeniably successful song on its own, my memory of this song is inextricably intertwined with the 1983 movie Flashdance. The song appears in a relatively short but important scene in which one of the women in the story is performing in a figure skating competition.

The central theme of Flashdance is that the various dancers and staff of the tiny club named Mawby's are all hoping for a big break to change their lives. Jeanie is a waitress at Mawby's who is training to be a figure skater. When she gets her opportunity to compete, she uses Gloria as her backing music and her routine starts well, but then she falls, and with her confidence shaken she falls again and again. She finally gives up, her dream dead. Jeanie is a casualty of the plot, used more or less to show that breaking free of the dive bar all the characters are working at is a difficult endeavor. Later, she despairs after her boyfriend leaves town to try to make it as a stand-up comedian, deciding at that point that her only option is stripping.

I don't know if my memory associating Branigan's song with this subplot from Flashdance is shared by a lot of other people. I kind of suspect that it is, because the figure skating scene sticks out as being fairly notable in the film. In any event, in my mind Gloria and Laura Branigan will always be connected to a woman failing at figure skating followed by her briefly choosing a career as a stripper.

Previous Musical Monday: I Don't Wanna Dance by Eddy Grant
Subsequent Musical Monday: Truly by Lionel Richie

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Up Where We Belong by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Truly by Lionel Richie

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

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