Let's Dance (David Bowie song)

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"Let's Dance"
Single by David Bowie
from the album Let's Dance
B-side "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)"
Released 17 March 1983 (1983-03-17)
Recorded 1982; The Power Station
(New York City)
Length 7:37
Label EMIEA152
Writer(s) David Bowie
Producer(s) Nile Rodgers
Certification Gold (RIAA and BPI)
David Bowie singles chronology
"Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy"
"Let's Dance"
"China Girl"
Let's Dance track listing
"China Girl"
"Let's Dance"
"Without You"
Music video
"Let's Dance" on YouTube

"Let's Dance" is the title song from English singer and songwriter David Bowie's 1983 album of the same name. It was also released as the first single from that album in 1983, and went on to become one of his biggest-selling tracks. Stevie Ray Vaughan played the guitar solo at the end of the song.

The single was one of Bowie's fastest selling to date, entering the UK Singles Chart at number five on its first week of release, staying at the top of the charts for three weeks.[3] Soon afterwards, the single topped the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Bowie's second and last single to reach number 1 in the U.S. In Oceania, it narrowly missed topping the Australian charts, peaking at number two, but peaked at number one for 4 consecutive weeks in New Zealand.

Music video[edit]

The music video was made by David Mallet on location in Australia including a bar in Carinda in New South Wales and the Warrumbungle National Park near Coonabarabran. It featured Bowie playing with his band while impassively watching an Aboriginal couple’s struggles against metaphors of Western cultural imperialism, which were played by Terry Roberts and Joelene King.[4] [5] The red shoes mentioned in the song's lyrics appear in several contexts. Bowie described this video (and the video for his subsequent single, "China Girl") as "very simple, very direct" statements against racism and oppression.[6]

Track listing[edit]

7": EMI America / EA 152 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Let's Dance" (Single Version) (Bowie) – 4:07
  2. "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)" (Bowie, Moroder) – 5:09

12": EMI America / 12EA 152 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Let's Dance" (Bowie) – 7:38
  2. "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)" (Bowie, Moroder) – 5:09


"Let's Dance" introduced Bowie to a new younger audience oblivious to his former career in the 1970s. Although the track was his most popular to date, its very success had the incongruous effect of distancing Bowie from his new fans, with Bowie saying he did not know who they were or what they wanted.[7] His next two albums, made as an attempt to cater to his new-found audience, suffered creatively as a result.[8]

Live performances[edit]

The track was a regular on the Serious Moonlight Tour (the name derived from a lyric in "Let's Dance"), and was released on the 1983 concert video Serious Moonlight. The song was also performed live on Bowie's 1987 Glass Spider Tour (and released on 1988's Glass Spider), and on his 1990 Sound+Vision Tour, and it was then reworked semi-acoustically for tours in 2000 and later. A live recording from 27 June 2000 was released on BBC Radio Theatre, London, June 27, 2000, a bonus disc accompanying the first release of Bowie at the Beeb in 2000.

Charts and certifications[edit]

Preceded by
"Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler
Irish Singles Chart number-one single
9 April 1983 – 16 April 1983
Succeeded by
"Words" by F.R. David
Preceded by
"Is There Something I Should Know" by Duran Duran
UK Singles Chart number-one single
9 April 1983 – 23 April 1983
Succeeded by
"True" by Spandau Ballet
Preceded by
"Twisting by the Pool" by Dire Straits
New Zealand Singles Chart number one
22 April 1983 – 20 May 1983
Succeeded by
"Beat It" by Michael Jackson
Preceded by
"She Blinded Me with Science" by Thomas Dolby
Canadian "RPM" Singles Chart number-one single
7 May 1983
Preceded by
"Angel Man (G.A.)" by Rhetta Hughes
Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single
30 April 1983 – 4 June 1983
Succeeded by
"Flashdance... What a Feeling" by Irene Cara
Preceded by
"Beat It" by Michael Jackson
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
21 May 1983

Production credits[edit]

Other releases[edit]

Other appearances[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Erlewine,Stephen Thomas. "David Bowie - Let's Dance review". Allmusic. Retrieved February 2, 2016. 
  2. ^ Champan, Ian (2015). Experiencing David Bowie: A Listener's Companion. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 159. ISBN 9781442237520. 
  3. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 421–2. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  4. ^ http://www.bowiedownunder.com/artistconnections/robertsking.html
  5. ^ http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/music/dancing-to-bowies-tune-still-resonates-30-years-on-20130505-2j12i.html
  6. ^ Loder, Kurt (12 May 1983), "Straight Time", Rolling Stone magazine, no. 395, pp. 22–28, 81 
  7. ^ Pond, Steve (March 1997), "Beyond Bowie", Live! magazine: 38–41, 93 
  8. ^ Fricke, David (December 1984), "David Bowie Interview", Musician magazine (74): 46–56 
  9. ^ "French single certifications – David Bowie – Let's Dance" (in French). InfoDisc.  Select DAVID BOWIE and click OK
  10. ^ "Les Singles en Or :" (in French). Infodisc.fr. Retrieved 12 June 2013. 
  11. ^ "British single certifications – David Bowie – Let's Dance". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Let's Dance in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search
  12. ^ Buchanan, Elsa (11 January 2016). "David Bowie dies from cancer aged 69: The British rock legend in numbers". International Business Times. IBT Media. Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  13. ^ "American single certifications – David Bowie – Let's Dance". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 12 June 2013.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  • Pegg, Nicholas, The Complete David Bowie, Reynolds & Hearn Ltd, 2000, ISBN 1-903111-14-5
  • Mojo Bowie, EMAP Performance Network Ltd, 2004

External links[edit]