Let's Dance (David Bowie album)
|Studio album by David Bowie|
|Released||14 April 1983|
|Recorded||December 1982 at Power Station, New York|
|Producer||David Bowie, Nile Rodgers|
|David Bowie chronology|
|Singles from Let's Dance|
Let's Dance is the fifteenth studio album by David Bowie, released in 1983, with co-production by Chic's Nile Rodgers. The title track of the album became one of Bowie's biggest hit singles, reaching #1 in the UK, US and various other countries. Further singles included "Modern Love" and "China Girl", which both reached #2 in the UK. "China Girl" was a new version of a song which Bowie had co-written with Iggy Pop for the latter's 1977 album The Idiot. The album also contains a rerecorded version of the song "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)" which had been a minor hit for Bowie a year earlier. Let's Dance is also notable as a stepping stone for the career of the Texas blues guitar virtuoso Stevie Ray Vaughan, who played on it. The album was also released as a limited edition picture disc in 1983. Let's Dance has sold more than fifteen million copies worldwide, making it Bowie's best-selling album.
Songs and album development 
David Bowie had originally planned to use producer Tony Visconti on the album, as the two had worked together on Bowie's previous five studio albums. However, for reasons unknown, he switched and used Nile Rodgers as his producer, a move that came as a surprise to Visconti, who'd already set time aside to work on Let's Dance. Visconti called up [Bowie's personal assistant] Coco and she said: "Well, you might as well know - He's been in the studio for the past two weeks with someone else. It's working out well and we won't be needing you. He's very sorry." This move damaged the two men's relationship and Visconti wouldn't work with Bowie again for another 20 years (until 2002's Heathen).
Bowie, having just signed with EMI records for a reported $17.5m, worked with Rodgers to release a "commercially buoyant" new album that was described as "original party-funk cum big bass drum sound greater than the sum of its influences." The album's influences were described as Louis Jordan, the Asbury Jukes horn section, Bill Doggett, Earl Bostic and James Brown. Bowie spent a mere three days making demos for the album in New York before cutting the album, a rarity for Bowie who, for the previous few albums, usually showed up with little more than "a few ideas." Despite this, the album "was recorded, start to finish, including mixing, in 17 days" according to Rodgers.
Stevie Ray Vaughan, who met Bowie at the 1982 Montreux Jazz Festival, when discussing the album, said "to tell you the truth, I was not very familiar with David's music when he asked me to play on the sessions. ... David and I talked for hours and hours about our music, about funky Texas blues and its roots - I was amazed at how interested he was. At Montreux, he said something about being in touch and then tracked me down in California, months and months later."
Unusually, Bowie played no instruments on the album. "I don't play a damned thing. This was a singer's album."
A few years later, Bowie discussed his feelings on the track "Ricochet" (which Musician magazine called an "incendiary ballroom raveup") from this album:
I thought it was a great song, and the beat wasn't quite right. It didn't roll the way it should have, the syncopation was wrong. It had an ungainly gait; it should have flowed. ... Nile [Rodgers] did his own thing to it, but it wasn't quite what I'd had in mind when I wrote the thing.
Bowie would later describe the title track, "Let's Dance" the same way: the original demo was "totally different" from the way that Nile arranged it.
Long-time collaborator Carlos Alomar, who had worked with Bowie since the mid-'70s and would continue to work with Bowie into the mid-'90s, was offered an "embarrassing" fee to play on the album, and refused to do so, although a year later (when working on Bowie's follow-up album, Tonight), he claimed that he didn't play on the album because Bowie only gave him two weeks' notice, and he was already booked with other work. Alomar did however play on the accompanying tour.
Bowie's studio follow-up to this album was 1984's Tonight.
Reception and legacy 
|Robert Christgau||(B) |
The success of the album surprised Bowie. In 1997, he said "at the time, Let's Dance was not mainstream. It was virtually a new kind of hybrid, using blues-rock guitar against a dance format. There wasn't anything else that really quite sounded like that at the time. So it only seems commercial in hindsight because it sold so many [copies]. It was great in its way, but it put me in a real corner in that it fucked with my integrity."
In fact, Bowie would later state that the success of the album caused him to hit a creative low-point in his career which lasted the next few years. "I remember looking out over these waves of people [who were coming to hear this record played live] and thinking, 'I wonder how many Velvet Underground albums these people have in their record collections?' I suddenly felt very apart from my audience. And it was depressing, because I didn't know what they wanted."
Track listing 
All songs written by David Bowie, except where noted.
Side one 
- "Modern Love" – 4:46
- "China Girl" (Bowie, Iggy Pop) – 5:32
- "Let's Dance" – 7:38
- "Without You" – 3:08
Side two 
- "Ricochet" – 5:14
- "Criminal World" (Peter Godwin, Duncan Browne, Sean Lyons) – 4:25
- "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)" (Lyrics: Bowie; music: Giorgio Moroder) – 5:09
- "Shake It" – 3:49
In 1998 there was a reissue in the UK which was similar to the 1995 re-release but did not include the bonus track.
The Canadian version of the 1999 EMI release includes a data track, so that when the CD is loaded on a Windows PC, the user is presented with a promotion of internet access services and other premium content from the davidbowie.com website. This marks one of the earliest attempts by a mainstream artist to combine internet and normal promotion and distribution methods.
- David Bowie – lead vocals, horn arrangements
- Carmine Rojas – bass guitar
- Omar Hakim, Tony Thompson – drums
- Nile Rodgers – guitar, horn arrangements
- Stevie Ray Vaughan – lead guitar
- Rob Sabino – keyboards
- Mac Gollehon – trumpet
- Robert Aaron, Lenny Pickett, Stan Harrison – tenor saxophone, flute
- Steve Elson – baritone saxophone, flute
- Sammy Figueroa – percussion
- Frank Simms, George Simms, David Spinner – backing vocals
- Bernard Edwards – bass guitar on "Without You"
- David Bowie – producer
- Nile Rodgers – producer
- Bob Clearmountain, Nile Rodgers, David Bowie – engineering/mixing
- Bob Ludwig – mastering
Charts and certifications 
Sales and certifications 
- Timothy, White (May 1983), "David Bowie Interview", Musician magazine (55): 52–66, 122
- Pegg, Nicholas (2006-10-01). The Complete David Bowie. Reynolds & Hearn. p. 323. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
- David Currie, ed. (1985), David Bowie: The Starzone Interviews, Omnibus Press, ISBN 0-7119-0685 Check
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- Fricke, David (December 1984), "David Bowie Interview", Musician magazine (74): 46–56
- "Nile Rodgers interviewed by Peter Paphides". Twentyfirstcenturymusic.blogspot.com. November 10, 2011. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
- Isler, Scott (1987), "David Bowie Opens Up - A Little", Musician magazine: 64
- Interview with Craig Bromberg for Smart magazine, 1990
- Edwards, Henry (1987), "The Return of the Put-Together Man", Spin magazine 2 (12): 56–60
- "Let's Dance – Blender". Blender. Retrieved 16 June 2009.
- Pond, Steve (March 1997), "Beyond Bowie", Live! magazine: 38–41, 93
- Mary Campbell for the Associated Press, 6 August 1993
- Cohen, Scott (September 1991), "David Bowie Interview", Details magazine: 86–97
- "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)", from the film Cat People, was a hit single a year earlier. The album version is a re-recording.
- "UK Top 40 Hit Database". Retrieved 9 July 2008.
- "allmusic (((Let's Dance > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums)))". Retrieved 9 July 2008.
- "Canadian album certifications – David Bowie – Let's Dance". Music Canada. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
- "Finnish album certifications – David Bowie – Let's Dance" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
- "French album certifications – David Bowie – Let's Dance" (in French). InfoDisc. Select DAVID BOWIE and click OK
- "Les Albums Platine :" (in French). Infodisc.fr. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
- "Dutch album certifications – David Bowie – Let's Dance" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
- "British album certifications – David Bowie – Let's Dance". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 25 May 2012. Enter Let's Dance in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
- Lane, Daniel (9 March 2013). "David Bowie's Official Top 40 Biggest Selling Downloads revealed!". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- "American album certifications – David Bowie – Let's Dance". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 25 May 2012. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
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