"All She Wants To Do Is Dance" as written by and Danny Kortchmar....
They're pickin' up the prisoners
And puttin 'em in a pen
And all she wants to do is dance, dance
Rebels been rebels
Since I don't know when
And all she wants to do is dance

Molotov cocktail, the local drink
And all she wants to do is dance, dance
They mix 'em up right
In the kitchen sink
And all she wants to do is dance

Crazy people walkin' round with blood in their eyes
And all she wants to do is dance, dance, dance
Wild-eyed pistols wavers who ain't afraid to die
And all she wants to do is
And all she wants to do is dance
And make romance
She can't feel the heat
Comin' off the street
She wants to party
She wants to get down
All she wants to do is
All she wants to do is dance

Well the government bugged the men's room
In the local disco lounge
And all she wants to do is dance, dance
To keep the boys from sellin'
All the weapons they could scrounge
And all she wants to do is dance

Yeah, but that don't keep the boys from makin' a buck or two
And all she wants to do is dance, dance
The still can sell the army
All the drugs that they can do
And all she wants to do is
All she wants to do is dance
And make romance

Well we barely make the airport
For the last plane out
As we taxied down the runway
I could hear the people shout
They said, "don't come back here Yankee"
But if I ever do
I'll bring more money
'Cause all she wants to do is dance
And make romance
Never mind the heat
Comin' off the street
She wants to party
She wants to get down
All she wants to do is
All she wants to do is dance
And make romance
All she wants to do is dance


Lyrics submitted by Demau Senae

"All She Wants to Do Is Dance" as written by Danny Kortchmar

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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All She Wants To Do Is Dance song meanings
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22 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentThis is political commentary (like about half of Don Henley's solo work) about Americans being concerned with self-gratification when everything's falling apart. It's both amusing and horrible that people think about it as a fun party song.
    PanteroBlancoon December 24, 2006   Link
  • +2
    MemoryThis song came out when I was about 9 or 10 years old. There are very few songs that have struck me as very danceable/catchy/rock-out and this was one of them. (Others among them for me was Chaka Khan's "I feel for you", Wham!'s "Everything she wants", Pointer Sisters' "Automatic", Def Leppard's "Photograph", Van Halen's "Panama", etc.) When you're a kid you just pay attention to how something makes you feel. In my opinion, this song is pretty darn groovy. Also, I can totally relate to the chorus alone-- take out all the politics it's talking about, and it becomes just a fun song. Pretty much the theme song for my life, sometimes it still holds true, and all I know to do with myself is to "Just Dance" (Lady Gaga). But just for the record, even though I agree with what one person said about how annoying Don Henley could get with his political messages in some of his songs, I can also appreciate the other side of it, that maybe it is a fresh approach to relaying worldly issues... kind of comedy does, like SNL, Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert. It takes the dryness out of the media and can be helpful in understanding it with another part of the brain. Watching or reading the news isn't even necessarily going to get the truth out anyhow, anyway, because it's like Mark Twain once said, "If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're mis-informed." But when one person steps up and relays his own personal account of government actions, or lack thereof, as a witness, especially if it's going to get them in trouble, that's when the real truth comes out. My hat is off to those who risk imprisonment by stepping forward to speak out against heinous acts that affect millions and would otherwise be kept a secret.
    beanbagchairon September 11, 2013   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song has a reference to **she** which can be interpreted as:
    a) american society at large
    b) american GIs in a war zone

    other comments have referenced other areas of conflict
    i believe the primary region referenced by the song is Vietnam

    The reference to prisoners could be POWs on either side
    **last plane out** is a possible reference to the evacuation of saigon as the last helicopter evacuated the US Embassy.

    I think one could arguably make reference to other conflicts, within the lyrics, but the **ground zero reference** would be the Vietnam War. Which suits the formative years of Don Henley.
    patrikstarfishon January 13, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree with PanteroBlanco. "She" is America. There is all of the chaos/violence/political strife going on, and all she/America wants to do is dance/party. It reminds me of the Janis Joplin song, Lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz. My friends all drive Porsches and I must make amends.
    Arcadiandjon January 01, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAnima69316, sorry you don't like social commentary in songs. Whether I agree or not with the message, I think it's great that artists have the ability to combine their medium with something they believe in. That's what art is about. I happen to think Don Henley is a rare genius in the way he can do this in such a subtle way. I have my moods too when I just want to rock out to some good tunes. That's when I usually crank some Motley Crue or something like that.
    canuck115on February 13, 2011   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThe region is Central America – this was written in 1983, when bumper stickers said, "No US war in Central America," seven years before Iraq invaded Kuwait, and the talk of "rebels" and drug deals and American intervention – that's all Central America, or arguably certain locations in South America, but not the Middle East, not Vietnam, not Iran. The use of "Yankee" / "yanqui" is another clue, and the video shows Spanish writing and has Spanish subtitles at the end.

    The lyrics do something interesting – they are all third person until the last stanza, when they become first person. Whoever the singer is, he's a part of all this. "The last plane out" implies a change of government; if he's unwelcome under the new government, then the rebels won, so he must have been on the side of the government or at least antagonized the rebels while playing both sides.

    And what's going on is a game of arms deals, drug deals, and soldiers of fortune. That's all very clear – the topic is not a mystery here.

    Except for the title character – who is "she"? Some people are suggesting a metaphor, but I don't think so. I think she's a literal woman, attractive to the narrator. She frequents the bars and discos where the people arranging the various criminal deals meet. And if he ever finds occasion to go back to this country, he'll expect to have a good time. Could she be a metaphor for the whole corrupt situation? Sure, why not, but sometimes a muchacha is just a muchacha.
    rikdadon May 31, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is me.. lol, I'm just kidding.

    Have you seen Coyote Ugly?
    anna118kon April 15, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis a great song. It's a lot of fun.
    allenegirlon June 02, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is about a country in the middle east being at war or on the brink of war. I think it was Iran.
    SeverdGardenon March 16, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's about the Iran-Contra affair.
    YeahIKnowon March 11, 2006   Link

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