snopes.com  

Go Back   snopes.com > Urban Legends > Questionable Quotes

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 01 May 2007, 02:48 AM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is offline
 
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 109,624
Cheer "Dance like nobody's watching ..."

Comment: "Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt.
Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth." -- Mark Twain

Did Mark Twain really say this? It's so NOT Mark Twain! I can't find any
information anywhere and I think the whole phrase should be scrubbed from
the net.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 01 May 2007, 03:10 AM
Eve MG's Avatar
Eve MG Eve MG is offline
 
Join Date: 17 December 2003
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 2,809
Default

The quote above sounds like it was a version made to rhyme, possibly in a song. I think I've heard it before but fortunately blocked it out.

There are other versions of the saying - without the Heaven on earth part, and with "work like you don't need the money." Brainyquote.com attributes one version to Glenda Jackson. It doesn't say where she said it, though. Famousquotes.com attributes the one with the work part in it to Satchel Paige. Again, no reference to where or when. Bartlett's doesn't give anything.

Last edited by Eve MG; 01 May 2007 at 03:12 AM. Reason: better paragraphing
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 01 May 2007, 03:15 AM
Cervus's Avatar
Cervus Cervus is offline
 
Join Date: 21 October 2002
Location: Florida
Posts: 20,951
Default

I've heard various versions attributed to an old Celtic proverb.

My guess? It was probably first printed anonymously in some church bulletin or Reader's Digest.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 01 May 2007, 09:45 AM
Astra's Avatar
Astra Astra is offline
 
Join Date: 29 September 2001
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Posts: 8,229
Default

There's a Kathy Mattea song from the 1980s or early 1990s that works the quote into the chorus. Obviously the quote predates the song, but it may explain where some people heard it recently.

"Come From the Heart" lyrics
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 01 May 2007, 10:02 AM
Zachary Fizz Zachary Fizz is offline
 
Join Date: 01 March 2002
Location: Guernsey
Posts: 4,396
Default

Isn't it: Work if somebody's watching, dance like you've just been hurt, make love like you need the money?
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 01 May 2007, 02:46 PM
hoitoider's Avatar
hoitoider hoitoider is offline
 
Join Date: 22 October 2001
Location: Beaufort, SC
Posts: 5,995
Default

I think it's probably from the first person to write a personals ad.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 01 May 2007, 04:35 PM
Dactyl's Avatar
Dactyl Dactyl is offline
 
Join Date: 02 December 2005
Location: Hampshire, UK
Posts: 4,411
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eve MG View Post
The quote above sounds like it was a version made to rhyme,
They didn't do a very good job.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 11 September 2009, 08:15 PM
Appraiser
 
Posts: n/a
Default William Purkey

I have no solid proof of this, but my Google search seems to indicate that the quote is "Dance like no one is watching, love like you'll never be hurt, sing like no one is listening, and live like it's heaven on earth." by William Purkey
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 29 March 2011, 05:47 AM
mabud
 
Posts: n/a
Default Susanna Clark

I first heard these words in the 80's in a song written by Susanna Clark (recorded by Kathy Mattea). I'd be interested to find out where Susanna got them.

I doubt Mark Twain said these words, they don't match his style and paradigm. He was cynical and pessimistic which this quote is not.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 29 March 2011, 12:43 PM
damian's Avatar
damian damian is offline
 
Join Date: 14 April 2005
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 6,475
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zachary Fizz View Post
Isn't it: Work if somebody's watching, dance like you've just been hurt, make love like you need the money?
Bazinga !!!
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 29 March 2011, 03:43 PM
Auburn Red's Avatar
Auburn Red Auburn Red is offline
 
Join Date: 13 June 2010
Location: St. Louis area, Missouri
Posts: 2,140
Default

No too sweet for Twain. It would be more sarcastic if Twain wrote it. It sounds like a Celtic saying to me.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 30 March 2011, 05:33 PM
Namowal's Avatar
Namowal Namowal is offline
 
Join Date: 06 November 2007
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 260
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
Comment: "Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt.
Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth." -- Mark Twain

Did Mark Twain really say this? It's so NOT Mark Twain! I can't find any
information anywhere and I think the whole phrase should be scrubbed from
the net.
I agree that it's NOT Mark Twain.
Also, it's NOT anyone who's ever watched me dance.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 31 July 2011, 03:31 AM
starlists
 
Posts: n/a
Default There is no documentation anywhere

There is no easily obtained documentation that establishes who said or published a saying along these lines--none that I could find, anyway. The 'famous quotes' sites often attribute it to Mark Twain, but without any proof. (Not a shining example of responsible Internet publishing.)

This page has a post that attributes the quote, or something like it, to William Purkey, who supposedly asserts in a letter, in 2001, that he originated the quote, but he does not say where or when.

The page cited here above also has an entry that quotes a character, Aurora Greenway, in the 1983 film, "Terms of Endearment". A web search on "aurora greenway quotes" yielded multiple instances of this quote. Since it can be easily verified, I assume that this is the earliest instance of one variation on the quote.

So, that's what I've been able to find out. The only way to go further back would be to contact the screenwriters of the movie asking where they got the quote. But my sense is this: The quote has a jaunty, catchy ring to it and, chances are, more than one person came up with a simple version, and others elaborated further. It's a big world out there. Many technological innovations and scientific ideas, have been thought of by multiple people independently of each other. The same is probably true of catchy quotes.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 09:46 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.