Found Performance: “What a Feeling” by Irene Cara

Jennifer Beals, starred in Flashdance

In 1983, I was visiting NYC and wandering around Times Square on a daily basis. That’s when the movie Flashdance” was about to be released. There was a big cinema, with a screen on the edge of the sidewalk, that repeatedly showed previews for the upcoming movie. I saw enough images of Jennifer Beals, bouncing around and breakdancing in her skimpy outfits, to know I had better see the show when it got to Bellingham. Today, the movies’ famous song is probably better remembered than the show itself.

Irene Cara’s vocal performance of “Flashdance…What A Feeling” rose to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in May 1983 and it stayed there for six weeks. Overall, the single spent 14 weeks in the top-ten and that made it the longest enduring top-ten single of 1983. The record was also the #3 most popular single in 1983 and, many years later in 2008, “What a Feeling” ranked at #26 on Billboard’s All Time Top 100.

This was Irene Cara’s only #1 hit, and it went platinum. Other honors the tune earned included both the Oscar and the Golden Globe for Best Original Song and the Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Technically, this video has been color corrected and the audio track and lip sync improved. This performance is from the American syndicated music television program “Solid Gold.” (The video is at ad free Vimeo, so click 2x on the play button – once to go to Vimeo and again to start the video.)

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Author: Steven L. Smith

Presently editor and historical writer with QZVX.COM in Seattle. Former radio broadcaster and radio station owner, 1970-1999. Journalism and speech communications degrees. I enjoy researching articles and online reporting that allows me to meld together words, audio and video. P.S. I appreciate and encourage reader comments and opinions.

2 thoughts on “Found Performance: “What a Feeling” by Irene Cara

  1. Probably hear this at least once a week when scanning the FM dial, but this gives me a new appreciation for the song and Irene Cara. In all these years, I had never seen a video performance of this song, I had no idea what Cara looked like and knew little about her. She co-wrote this song and she is an actress, and then I discover that I watched her on the Electric Company kids show many, many years ago. Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Steven.
    Falling further down that rabbit hole, Denise Nickerson, who also appeared on the Electric Company, was an actress from Dark Shadows, which I never missed in the afternoons after school. Time for me to put away the laptop and stop following these breadcrumbs.
    Irene Cara is married to a stuntman. I bet I have seen a movie he was in. No, I am not going to research that. Enough.

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