The song is about the anticipation and excitement of a night out on the town. Released as a single in August 1982, it became Jackson's biggest Billboard Hot 100 hit in the U.S., peaking at number six. It also reached No. 4 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart. The infectious tune was Jackson's second biggest hit on the UK Singles Chart, also reaching number six. Only "It's Different for Girls", which reached number five in the UK in 1980, did better. The music video for the song, directed by Steve Barron, featured a housekeeper pretending she was a Cinderella figure. It was filmed over one night in the St. Regis Hotel in New York City during the summer of 1982.
In a retrospective review of the single, Allmusic journalist Chris True praised the song as a "mélange of simple piano hooks, rudimentary electronic treatment and classic vocal pop, with a rhythm track that is quaint in its simplicity and driving enough to invoke images of the big city at night."
The song was most recently covered by AM as part of his collaboration called AM & Shawn Lee for his 2013 album La Musique Numerique. Fantastic Plastic Machine for his 1998 self-titled album. It was also covered by Stanley Jordan on his 2008 album State of Nature and Kurt Elling on his 2011 album The Gate.
A loop of the instrumental portion of this song is used as the theme music for the WYES-TV (New Orleans, Louisiana) weekly arts and entertainment program Steppin' Out.CBC Radio Vancouver uses the same loop to introduce entertainment reporter Fred Lee.
The song is heard as background music in the 2009 film L'affaire Farewell. It is used in a scene set in 1981, which predated the actual release of the song.