Monday, January 8, 2018

David Bowie: 71st birthday marked with release of Let’s Dance demo

An unreleased demo of David Bowie’s 1983 smash hit, “Let’s Dance”, has been issued on January 8 as a digital-only single to mark what would have been the late music icon’s 71st birthday.

Recorded in December of 1982 with producer and guitarist Nile Rodgers at Mountain Studios in Montreux, Switzerland, the funky, stripped back version of the song went on to become the template for Bowie’s 15th studio record.

“I’ve been blessed with a wonderful career,” says Rodgers, “but my creative partnership with David Bowie ranks very, very, very high on the list of my most important and rewarding collaborations. This demo gives you, the fans, a bird's eye view of the very start of it! I woke up on my first morning in Montreux with David peering over me. He had an acoustic guitar in his hands and exclaimed, ‘Nile, darling, I think this is a HIT!’

“This recording was the first indication of what we could do together as I took his 'folk song' and arranged it into something that the entire world would soon be dancing to and seemingly has not stopped dancing to for the last 35 years! It became the blue print not only for Let’s Dance the song but for the entire album as well.”

With Rodgers on guitar, the pair put together a lineup of local musicians for the session so quickly that they failed to note all of the players in the room.

“If you played 2nd guitar or drums, let us know who you are!,” adds Rodgers.

The guitarist was joined by Russell Graham in his Connecticut studio recently to put the demo together for this special release.

“The time we spent mixing it just before Christmas was full of tears as it felt like David was in the room with us,” Rodgers recalls. “Happy Birthday David, I love you and we all miss you!"

At the end of the track, Bowie’s voice can be heard laughing saying "That’s it, that’s it! Got it, got it!”

Within four months, “Lets Dance” would be one of the biggest and most influential hits of the decade, going on to top the charts in a dozen countries while the project delivered the rocker the best-selling album of his career.

Bowie passed away from liver cancer on January 10, 2016 – just two days after his 69th birthday and the release of his 25th album, “Blackstar.”

See also:

VIDEO: Motorhead stream cover of David Bowie classic Heroes
David Bowie box set highlights Berlin trilogy
David Bowie sweeps five Grammy Awards
David Bowie’s final recordings set for CD and vinyl release
Search David Bowie at hennemusic