She's Only Happy When She's Dancin'
Recording Artist: Bryan Adams
Writers: Jim Vallance
Bryan Adams
Date Written: Summer-Fall 1983 / Vancouver Canada, Amsterdam Holland, Gothenburg Sweden
Albums: Reckless (A&M Records, 1984)
Live Live Live (A&M Records, 1988)
Reckless - 30th Anniversary Edition (November 2014)
Audio:
  Bryan Adams: rhythm guitar, vocal
Jim Vallance: percussion
Keith Scott: rhythm guitar, lead guitar
Tommy Mandel: keyboards
Dave Taylor: bass
Mickey Curry: drums
Handclaps: Jody Perpick, Bryan Adams, Keith Scott, Chris Ainscough
Backing vocals: Bryan Adams, Keith Scott, Lou Gramm
 
Arranged by Jim Vallance and Bryan Adams. Produced by Bob Clearmountain and Bryan Adams. Associate producer, Jim Vallance. Recorded by Bob Clearmountain, March/April 1984, at Little Mountain Sound, Vancouver. Mixed by Bob Clearmountain, September 1984, at the Power Station, New York.
Comments:
Paul McCartney's first post-Beatle solo release was a vinyl 45RPM single titled "Another Day". Released in 1970, it's one of Paul's lesser-known songs, but it's superb and worth a listen if you can find it. McCartney's lyric creates a "mini-movie", complete with a fictional female character who lives alone in an apartment, "til the man of her dreams comes to break the spell". 

In a 1970 interview with Rolling Stone magazine, John Lennon said he "didn't really enjoy writing third-person songs about people who lived in concrete flats", an obvious "dig" at Paul's new single.

Here's an excerpt from Paul's lyric for "Another Day" ...

"Another Day"
Every day she takes a morning bath
She wets her hair,
Wraps a towel around her
As she's heading for the bedroom chair
It's just another day
Bryan and I created a similar fictional female character for "She's Only Happy When She's Dancin'":

Monday mornin', it's time to get up
Two cups of coffee and she runs for the bus
Looks in the window and fixes her hair
Nobody notices
And nobody cares

However, unlike Paul's dower spinster, we wanted "our girl" to have at least a little bit of fun. So, every Friday our girl goes dancing. It's the one thing she looks forward to. It's the only thing that makes her happy.
 
 
Whenever Bryan was away touring I would fill the time by writing with other artists (Glass Tiger, Aerosmith, etc). In the autumn of 1983, as Bryan was about to embark on a six-week tour of Europe, he began insisting I go along with him, so we could spend every spare minute writing songs.

I know how hectic tours can be, and I told Bryan it would be a waste of time ... I predicted very little writing would actually get done. But Bryan said there'd be ample opportunity to work on music and lyrics as we travelled from town to town on the tour bus. 

I agreed to tag along.

On September 11, 1983 I flew from Vancouver to London to begin a journey that would include Frankfurt, Hamburg, Dortmund, Amsterdam, Paris, Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Gothenburg, London, Manchester and Sheffield.

As I mentioned, most of the travel took place on a tour bus, usually departing after the show (midnight) and arriving in the next city the following morning. But somehow the wrong bus had been rented. Instead of a "sleeper" with bunk-beds, it was a bus with regular, non-reclining seats. We had to sleep sitting up, which resulted in little sleep at all. The bus was also freezing cold, and everyone took turns having the "flu".

As I predicted, Bryan's itinerary was extremely full, with a rigorous schedule of radio station visits and press interviews in each city. During the thirty-one days I stayed with the tour, Bryan and I had only two brief opportunities to write (once in an Amsterdam hotel room, and once backstage before a concert in Sweden -- about 30 minutes each time). 

On the positive side, we did manage to complete one or two lines of lyric for "She's Only Happy When She's Dancin'".  I also had the opportunity to witness an amazing audience reaction during a concert in Sheffield, England.  The room (the size of a school gymnasium) was so hot and humid that condensation was literally raining from the ceiling.  Towards the end of the concert the crowd spontaneously broke into a soccer anthem, the highest compliment a European audience can pay a performer.  I believe it's the first time that had happened for Bryan, and I know the Sheffield concert remains a highlight of his early career.
 
I didn't have much to do each day -- I was "excess baggage" on the tour -- but I did manage to get out and see the sites when time permitted, like the Rijksmusiet in Amsterdam and the amazing Viking Ship Museum (Vikingskiphuset) in Oslo.

I recall one particularly humorous incident in Frankfurt, Germany. The band were doing their afternoon sound check, and I was standing near the mixing console at the back of the theatre. Bryan's tour manager, Brian Hall (known as "Hallsey") came over and asked me if I was busy. I replied that I wasn't.

"Great", he said, pointing to an enormous, bulging bag. "There's a coin laundry just down the road. Would you mind doing the crew's washing".

I politely declined.
 
 
For me, the best part of the European tour was getting to know Bryan's band members a little better:  Dave Taylor, John Hannah, Keith Scott and Bryan's other road manager Graeme Ladgen.  All terrific guys, and I have very fond memories of spending time with them on that tour.
Lyrics: Monday mornin' - it's time to get up
Two cups of coffee and she runs for the bus
Looks in the window and fixes her hair
Nobody notices and nobody cares

She admits it ain't no kinda life
Workin' 9 to 5 you know...

She's only happy when she's dancin'
There ain't no place she'd rather be
When she's dancin'
Just her heart and her soul and her fantasies

When Friday evenin' finally rolls around
She grabs a taxi and she heads uptown
Goes to a place they call "The Ball And Chain"
Nothin' matters until Monday so she goes insane

Well it's a bitch tryin' to make ends meet
But that's the way the story goes

She's only happy when she's dancin'
There ain't nothin' makes her feel so free
When she's dancin'
The girl's outrageous and it's plain to see

Solo

She ain't got much but she's got independence
Ya - she's doin' alright
His eyes are on her as the evenin's endin'
But she ain't goin' for no mystery
Because nobody rides for free