Let's Dance (David Bowie song)

Let's Dance (David Bowie song)

Infobox Single
Name = Let's Dance

Artist = David Bowie
B-side = Cat People (Putting Out Fire)
from Album = Let's Dance
Released = start_date|1983|3|17
Format = 7"/12" single
Recorded = Power Station, New York, December 1982
Genre = Pop/Dance/Funk
Length = 7:38
Label = EMI America Records - EA152
Writer = David Bowie
Producer = Nile Rodgers
NoReviews = yes
Last single = "Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy"
This single = "Let's Dance"
Next single = "China Girl"
Misc = Extra tracklisting
Album = Let's Dance
Type = studio
prev_track = "China Girl"
prev_no = 2
this_track = "Let's Dance"
track_no = 3
next_track = "Without You"
next_no = 4

"Let’s Dance" is the title album track on David Bowie's album "Let's Dance". It was also released as the first single from that album in 1983, and went on to become one of his biggest-selling tracks.

The single was Bowie’s fastest selling to date, entering the UK singles chart at number five on its first week of release, and deposing Duran Duran’s “Is There Something I Should Know?” the following week, staying at the top of the charts for another fortnight. Soon afterwards, the single would top the Billboard Hot 100, Bowie’s first single to reach number one on both sides of the Atlantic. It narrowly missed topping the Australian charts, peaking at number two.

“Let’s Dance” would introduce Bowie to a new younger audience oblivious to his former career in the '70s. The track was a regular on the Serious Moonlight Tour (the name derived from a lyric in “Let’s Dance”), the 1987 Glass Spider Tour and the 1990 Sound + Vision Tour, and was then reworked for the 2000 tour.


Heavily influenced by producer Nile Rodgers’ work with his band Chic, “Let’s Dance" features a thumping bassline, and was arguably Bowie’s most commercial record up to that point. While the lyrics are ostensibly just those of a dance song, there is some discord struck by lines such as “Let’s dance, for fear tonight is all”. The 7:38 album version was heavily edited for single release, though the 12” single retained the full length.

This loneliness and desperation seeps into the music video, made with David Mallet on location in Australia including Sydney Harbour, which features Bowie watching an Aboriginal couple’s struggles against metaphors of Western cultural imperialism impassively while playing with his band.

Bowie featured blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan on the track. Vaughan was asked to go on tour with Bowie, but declined so he could continue to play with his band Double Trouble. Reportedly, Vaughan, who was still driving a delivery truck to support himself, was furious when he saw Bowie pantomiming over Vaughan's guitar solo in the video.

Chart performance

ubsequent references to the song

*Bowie himself appears in the film "Zoolander" to the accompaniment of this song.
*The Futureheads covered the song for an 80s compilation for Q Magazine.
*The Smashing Pumpkins covered "Let's Dance" during their live "Transmission" jam.
*A cover version of the song appears in the game Elite Beat Agents on the Nintendo DS.
*The original song and music video appear on the PlayStation 2 game, Dance Dance Revolution SuperNOVA.
*This song is featured in some promotional spots for the 2007 version of Hairspray.
*Gnarls Barkley "appears" in the Let's Dance video in their music video for "Smiley Faces".
* M. Ward covers the song on his album "Transfiguration of Vincent".
* Craig David sampled this song for his single "Hot Stuff" *
* In the indie film Eagle vs Shark, the character Lily sings part of the song incorrectly to herself and is corrected by her lover Jarrod.
* UK Drum & Bass musician Dom and Roland sampled this for his single 'Can't Punish Me' on the record label Moving Shadow
* P. Diddy used a sample of this song for his single 'Been Around The World' from his album "No Way Out" in 1997.
* The song was sampled on a house cover version by Hi-Tack in 2007.
* It was covered live by Sophie Ellis-Bextor in 2007.
* The song is referenced in the Bret Easton Ellis novel Less Than Zero when a character is said to have looked like Bowie himself by a girl, and whispers as she walks away, "I should have hummed a few notes to 'Let's Dance'".

Track listing

7": EMI America / EA 152 (UK)

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

12": EMI America / 12EA 152 (UK)

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

Production credits

* Producers:
** Nile Rodgers

* Musicians:
** David Bowie: Vocals
** Stevie Ray Vaughan: Guitar
** Nile Rodgers: Guitar
** Carmine Rojas: Bass
** Omar Hakim, Tony Thompson: Drums
** Rob Sabino: Keyboards
** Mac Gollehon: Trumpet
** Robert Aaron, Stan Harrison, Steve Elson: Saxophone
** Sam Figueroa: Percussion

Other releases

* It appeared on the following compilations:
** "Changesbowie" (1990)
** "" (1993)
** "The Singles Collection" (1993)
** "Best of Bowie" (2002)

Cover versions

* Kex - 12-inch single (1983)
* Falco - "Junge Roemer" (1984)
* Tina Turner - "Tina Live in Europe" (duet with David Bowie) (1988)
* Puff Daddy - "Been Around The World" (1997)
* Overdose - "Ashes to Ashes: A Tribute to David Bowie" (1998)
* The Heroes - "Access All Areas" (1999)
* La Pieta - "Let's Dance" (1999)
* Second Skin - "Goth Oddity 2000: A Tribute to David Bowie" (2000)
* M. Ward - "Transfiguration of Vincent" (2003)
* Craig David - "Hot Stuff (Let's Dance)" (2007)
* Paula Flynn (2007)
* Hi-Tack (2007)
* Chic - "Chic Freak and More Treats"
* Angèle Dubeau
* E-Male - Single
* Elite Beat Agents made a cover by Delaney Wolff
* Dokkumer Lokaatsje
* Rabbit in the Moon
* The Rockridge Synthesiser Orchestra - "Plays David Bowie Classic Trax"
* The Futureheads


*Pegg, Nicholas, "The Complete David Bowie", Reynolds & Hearn Ltd, 2000, ISBN 1-903111-14-5
*Mojo Bowie, EMAP Performance Network ltd, 2004

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