SongsTube Michael Sembello

Song IconMichael Sembello "Maniac"

About "Maniac"

"Maniac" is a song from the 1983 film Flashdance that was written by Dennis Matkosky and its performer, Michael Sembello. The original idea for the song came to Matkosky while watching a news report on a serial killer, which inspired gruesome lyrics that he and Sembello expanded upon after finding a 1980 horror film with the same name. When Flashdance director Adrian Lyne grew attached to the demo of the song used during filming, his music supervisor Phil Ramone requested lyrics more appropriate for their story of a dancer and worked with Sembello to produce a new version for the soundtrack. The new recording was used for a scene in which protagonist Alexandra Owens trains rigorously at home.

After the film became a surprise success, a music video was made using scenes from the film and began airing on the cable channel MTV in May 1983, coinciding with the release of the single. The song spent two weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and performed well in several countries. Because its video was shown extensively on MTV and Flashdance became the third highest-grossing film of 1983 in the U.S., Hollywood began to see music videos as a profitable way to market films.

The song thrust Sembello into the spotlight for the first time with personal appearances to promote it and even won Matkosky and him a Grammy for their composition. He included "Maniac" on his debut album but made it clear that he would not be putting out a similar song just to capitalize on its success and that he wanted people to forget his hit record and focus on his latest material. Cover versions of the song cropped up in the UK, however, and one recording of a DJ rapping over a remix spent 10 weeks at number 1 in Ireland in 2000 and became the country's fifth biggest-selling single of all time.

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