This will bring to an end So Much Great Music’s celebration of National Dance Week – which, since I wasn’t sure exactly when that was, turned into two weeks anyway – and our tribute to some professional caliber dancers, but mostly just regular folks doing some regular-looking dancing (as you’ll see below, anybody can do that). And the whole thing was “sponsored” by my good friend Jody Hirsch, the dancing queen of Westchester County, NY, and her amazing studio for kids of literally all ages, the Hudson Dance & Tumble Center.
Alright, here’s our last dance number.
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The Black Keys are a blues-infused garage rock duo out of Akron, OH whose factory of riffs have made them an arena rock institution. But back in 2011 with the release of their album El Camino they were looking for something to seal their break from indie band doldrums, and they had big plans for this song.
A big budget, 40-person cast, scripted video was planned and filmed. But when it was finished the band rejected it. “A couple of weeks after we shot it they sent us the edit and it was awful,” said guitarist Dan Auerbach. “We sent it back. They sent us another edit and it was still terrible. That’s when we said ‘What about that one guy, who had that one dance scene’? And that’s the video – the most expensive single shot ever recorded.”
That one shot was of part-time actor, part-time security guard Derrick Tuggle, whose solitary dancing and lip-synching of the lyrics was done in a single take in front of the Pepper Tree Motel in North Hollywood. Tuggle had originally been cast as an extra who would be handed a set of keys to the band’s motel room, but while on set his improvised moves drew the attention of the director. “He sort of noticed me dancing, and asked me “Can you perform?” said Tuttle. “I said, I can dance. Anybody can dance.”
“It was a complete accident,” drummer Patrick Carney explained. “We scrapped the whole thing, except for the footage of Derrick Tuggle dancing. He had an hour to listen to the song, and he memorized all the lyrics and came up with the dance on his own. And if we didn’t have that footage, we would not have a video for the song.”
That video now has around 140 million views on YouTube. And ‘Lonely Boy’ became The Black Keys’ biggest ever hit to-date. Apparently a lot of people can relate to Derrick Tuggle’s simple sentiment: anybody can dance.
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Full SMGM Dance Week(s) in review:
- Jon Batiste “Freedom”
- Fatboy Slim “Weapon Of Choice”
- Low Cut Connie “Shake It Little Tina”
- The Lone Bellow “Time’s Always Leaving”
- Dancing Days Are Here Again Playlist
- Janelle Monae “Tightrope”
- The White Buffalo “Modern Times”
- OK Go “Here It Goes Again”
- Dancing Days Are Here Again (Again) Playlist
- Black Keys “Lonely Boy”
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