Originally recorded as part of the Live Aid charity movement, the original plan for Mick Jagger and David Bowie’s “Dancing In The Street” was to perform a track together live, with Bowie performing at Wembley Stadium and Jagger at John F. Kennedy Stadium, until it was realized that the satellite link-up would cause a half-second delay that would make this impossible unless either Bowie or Jagger mimed their contribution, something neither artist was willing to do. In 1968, Jagger and Keith Richards had already “borrowed” a line from the song in “Street Fighting Man” – “Cause summer’s here and the time is right for fighting in the street, boy.”
In June 1985, Bowie was recording his contributions to the Absolute Beginners soundtrack at Abbey Road Studios, and so Jagger arranged to fly in to record the track there. A rough mix of the track was completed in just four hours, at which point the pair went straight out to London Docklands to film a video with director David Mallet. Thirteen hours after the start of recording, this also was completed. Jagger arranged for some minor musical overdubs with Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero in New York.
The video was shown twice at the Live Aid event. Soon afterwards the track was issued as a single, with all profits going to the charity. “Dancing in the Street” topped the UK charts for four weeks, and reached number seven in the United States.