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SoundTRAX: Irene Cara from "Flashdance"

The cover of the "Flashdance" movie soundtrack features star Jennifer Beals seated and wearing red shoes and iconic off-the-shoulder sweatshirt.
Paramount Pictures

SoundTRAX is a dive into notable music from iconic films and TV shows every Monday-Thursday at 8:10.

This Saturday will mark the— YIKES— 40th anniversary of the release of Flashdance.

I actually checked the date twice and it is somehow true.

So let's break out the off-the-shoulder sweatshirts and celebrate, shall we?

It was a little movie with very little chance of box office success, much less becoming a cultural phenomenon. In fact, the executives at Paramount Pictures had so little confidence in the project they sold 25% of the rights away before the film was even released. Oops.

And other than a bit part in one movie, Jennifer Beals had virtually no real film experience. But she beat out the likes of Demi Moore to claim the lead role of Alex, who was a welder by day, dancer by night.

Yet Flashdance shocked everyone by earning over $200 million worldwide.

Even with the lightweight script. Even though a body double did all of Beals' dancing. It was a smash.

And that was due in no small part to the music— with a substantial assist from videos at the height of MTV's influence.

Legendary producer Giorgio Moroder provided the film score, but Music Supervisor Phil Ramone assembled the likes of Donna Summer, Kim Carnes and Laura Branigan, along with lesser-known artists like Karen Kamon, Cycle V and Helen St. John for the soundtrack.

But that soundtrack didn't go six-times platinum because of any of those tracks.

That was the result of two mega-hits: "Maniac" by Michael Sembello and, of course, the title track performed by Irene Cara.

The latter would stay on the Hot 100 chart for 25 weeks, with 14 of those weeks being in the Top 10.

So in honor of Flashdance's 40th anniversary this week, today's SoundTRAX is Irene Cara with "Flashdance... What a Feeling."

Mel is the WFPK morning host. Email Mel at mfisher@lpm.org.

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