‘Dance Tonight’ was the last song written for Memory Almost Full, and a late addition to the tracklisting. It was recorded at London’s RAK Studios in early 2007, with McCartney playing all instruments.
The song was nominated for the Best Male Pop Vocal Performance at the 2008 Grammy Awards, but was beaten by ‘What Goes Around… Comes Around’ by Justin Timberlake.
‘Dance Tonight’ was included in an iPod and iTunes advertisement in 2007, which featured a black and white McCartney performing the song.
Memory Almost Full was the first Paul McCartney album to be sold as a digital download. Pre-orders on the iTunes Music Store included a bonus acoustic version of ‘Dance Tonight’. The album topped the Billboard Internet Sales chart, and reached number three on the Billboard Top Internet Albums Downloads chart.
‘Dance Tonight’ was issued as a digital download single in the UK on 18 June 2007, McCartney’s 65th birthday.
The following week it entered the UK singles chart at number 34, peaking at 26 on 1 July.
A 7″ shaped picture disc was released in the UK on 23 July 2007, housed in a 10″ PVC sleeve. ‘Dance Tonight’ was on both sides of the disc.
A CD single was announced, with the additional track ‘Nod Your Head’ (Sly David Short mix), but was never given a full release. The remix of ‘Nod Your Head’ featured additional production by Sly Dunbar, and vocals by Lady Saw, Sizzla, and Cherine.
In the USA, ‘Dance Tonight’ was the second digital single released from Memory Almost Full, following ‘Ever Present Past’ in April 2007.
It entered and peaked at 69 on the Billboard Hot 100, his final entry on the chart until 2015.
A music video was made for ‘Dance Tonight’, directed by Michel Gondry. It was posted on YouTube on 22 May 2007, ahead of the album and single’s release.
It featured Mackenzie Crook as a courier bringing a mandolin to McCartney’s home, prompting a performance of the song. Natalie Portman played one of the ghost dancers, who were choreographed by Blanca Li. Gondry played a drummer towards the end of the video.
The opening track of the album is ‘Dance Tonight’. I recently got myself a mandolin and I was just playing about with it and came up with the basis of this track. A couple of weeks ago we made the video, which was great fun. It’s directed by Michel Gondry and stars Natalie Portman and Mackenzie Crook. I’m not going to give the plot away. You’ll have to go and watch it for yourself, but we had a good time doing it.
The video was also included in the deluxe CD/DVD edition of Memory Almost Full, and on the DVD compilation Michel Gondry 2: More Videos.
‘Dance Tonight’ has been part of McCartney’s setlist since 2007, and has been played in all his tours since 2009.
A performance from 27 June 2007 at Amoeba Music in Hollywood, California, was released as a b-side of the ‘Ever Present Past’ single in November 2007. The full concert was released in 2019 as the album Amoeba Gig.
McCartney performed a duet of ‘Dance Tonight’ with Kylie Minogue on the BBC’s 2007 Hootenanny special presented by Jools Holland, broadcast on New Year’s Eve 2007.
Another version from New York City’s Citi Field in 21 July 2009 was released later that year on Good Evening New York City.