It’s been a while since we checked in with the alt.fan.jean-claude-van-damme newsgroup, so we missed this Sunday story in the L.A. Times, chronicling the odd trajectory of Michael Bishop’s 1988 shouldnta-couldnta-wouldnta hit, “Steal The Night”:
In 1988, Bishop — who had previously written and performed songs for B movies such as Chuck Norris’ “Firewalker” and for “Death Wish 4: The Crackdown” — was enlisted to crank out a one-off for the Jean-Claude Van Damme martial arts vehicle “Bloodsport” after filmmakers discovered that landing the rights to a Tears for Fears song would prove too expensive. “I got the call, watched some footage in the editing bay with Jean-Claude and the director and said, ‘How long do I have?’ ” recalls Bishop. “I had one day to come up with something that might fit.”
He wrote and cut the propulsive electro-pop single “Steal the Night” — think the “Rocky” theme meets Ultravox — in just two days; it’s sequenced beneath a key scene in which Van Damme’s competition pit-fighter character eludes police in Hong Kong. The movie became a modest hit, launching “the Muscles from Brussels” actor’s career, and it went on to become a midnight movie mainstay. Its soundtrack release, however, notably omitted “Steal the Night.” Bootlegged copies of the song, meanwhile, began to sell on EBay for hundreds of dollars.
According to the story, the song has now become “a club hit in Iceland, a soccer anthem in Germany, a subject of blogger fascination in England and an underground hit in China,” which means you can now add four new countries to your no-travel list. We haven’t heard “Steal the Night” in what seems like forever but we can’t imagine that it holds up next to the adrenline-rush razzle of The Karate Kid‘s “Young Hearts” or the subtlety-free grunts of Rocky 5‘s “Go For It!” As for the Tears For Fears song that proved too costly to use, it had to be “Head Over Heels,” as VD wouldn’t have gone for any of that “Sowing the Seeds Of Love” wussiness.
‘Bloodsport’ song becomes a surprise hit [LA Times]