Bruce Springsteen Reacts to Alfonso Ribeiro’s Claim That ‘The Carlton’ is Inspired by ‘Dancing in the Dark’

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Bruce Springsteen is buying into the theory that the famous “Carlton” dance on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was partially inspired by him.

Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Carlton Banks on Fresh Prince, was known for the character’s signature dance move, “The Carlton.” In a 2015 interview with Variety, Ribeiro revealed that “The Carlton” came to be when he read a note in the script prompting his character to bust out some dance moves and he thought of Friends star Courtney Cox’s dancing in the video for Springsteen’s hit, “Dancing in the Dark.” “I said, ‘that is the corniest dance on the planet that I know of, so why don’t I do that?'” Ribeiro recalled at the time.

“My dancing is pretty embarrassing, and my kids kill me on it. ‘Dad, you look ridiculous,'” The Boss admits on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon while watching a clip of him and Cox dancing in the video, describing his dance style as the “New Jersey Shuffle.” “That was all I knew. But it definitely does look like it has some influence on ‘The Carlton,’ major.”

Ribeiro also said that the dance was inspired by Eddie Murphy’s choreography in his 1987 comedy special, “Delirious,” which Murphy referred to as “The White Man Dance.” “The Carlton Dance was created when it said in the script: ‘Carlton dances.’ It was never even intended to be funny; it was just that he was dancing,” Ribeiro further explained.  

“Dancing in the Dark” was released in 1984 as the lead single off Springsteen’s blockbuster album, Born in the U.S.A. The song spent four weeks at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Springsteen released his new album, Only the Strong Survive, on Friday (Nov. 11), a cover of R&B and soul songs by Commodores, Frankie Valli, the Four Tops, and many more. He’s making several appearances on Fallon, the final being on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 24).

Photo: Danny Clinch / Shore Fire Media

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