Friends, a perfect pop song is a rare thing indeed. So many things have to go right, and so many things can and often will go wrong, but against all odds, the Bobby Fuller Four managed to release “Let Her Dance” in 1965 as their first single, and we’ve just been living in the aftermath of that for the last 57 years.
“Let Her Dance” started as an earlier Bobby Fuller song called “Keep On Dancing,” which was then re-recorded with a new bassline, a bottle-tapping rhythm and new, more full production from Bob Keane, who also served as the producer and manager of Richie Valens. The result is huge and cacophonous and serves as a shot of almost pure, undiluted joy every time you blast it out of a car at face-melting volume with the windows down.
While the song itself is incredible, it became overshadowed by the extremely strange and as yet unexplained circumstances surrounding Bobby Fuller’s death in Los Angeles at age 23. Fuller was found inside his car parked outside his apartment in Hollywood with extensive petechial hemorrhaging that the coroner blamed on the combination of heat and gasoline fume inhalation.
The coroner marked the cause of death as both accidental and suicide, but some suspect that the mob killed Fuller over his unwillingness to cut them in on his success. His death was even featured on an episode of Unsolved Mysteries in the late 1990s (though this was during the bullshit post-Robert Stack, A.J. Benza era of the show).
If this song sounds familiar to you, that’s probably because noted auteur and weirdo Wes Anderson used it at the end of his claymation film, The Fantastic Mr. Fox. You might also be familiar with Fuller thanks to his cover of Buddy Holly and the Crickets’ “I Fought The Law,” which was also subsequently covered by The Clash.