Today, January 8th, would’ve been David Bowie’s 71st birthday. To mark the ocassion, one of his longtime labels, Parlophone, has unearthed an early demo of the 1983 hit single “Let’s Dance”.
This stripped-down yet funky version was originally recorded at Mountain Studios in Montreaux, Switzerland, in 1982 alongside Chic legend Nile Rodgers. Producer David Richards (“Heroes”, Under Pressure) and Turkish bassist Erdal Kızılçay (Labyrinth, The Buddha Of Suburbia) were also recruited. Pulled from the vault almost 40 years later, it’s since been mixed by Rodgers at his own Le Crib Studios in Westport, Connecticut.
Hear it below.
Rodgers shared a statement regarding his recording session with Bowie:
“I’ve been blessed with a wonderful career 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.
If you played 2nd guitar or drums let us know who you are!
The time we spent mixing it just before Christmas was full of tears as it felt like David was in the room with us. Happy Birthday David, I love you and we all miss you!”.
In related news, tonight HBO will premiere David Bowie: The Last Five Years, a new documentary on the music icon. Helmed by documentarian Francis Whately, it serves as a follow-up to his previous in-depth look at the artist, David Bowie: Five Years.