To celebrate what would have been the 71st birthday David Bowie, the previously unreleased “Let’s Dance” (Demo) is being released as a very special digital-only single available for streaming and download.
In late 1982, David Bowie was visited at his home in Switzerland by Nile Rodgers to listen to songs for the album that became Let’s Dance.
Inspired by the new songs that Bowie had written, the pair decided to record a set demos straight away. Without a band, the Montreux Jazz Festival organiser Claude Nobs was asked if there were any local musicians that could join the sessions to work on the demos. Turkish born Erdal Kizilcay, who would later work extensively with Bowie on Labyrinth, The Buddha Of Suburbia, 1.Outside, was recruited to play bass along with an unidentified drummer and second guitarist.
On December 19th and 20th, 1982, this makeshift band entered Mountain Studios in Montreux, Switzerland with David Richards (who also worked with Bowie on ‘Heroes’, “Under Pressure,” Labyrinth, The Buddha Of Suburbia, and 1.Outside) engineering. On their first day, they recorded a funky stripped back demo for “Let’s Dance.”
Thirty five years later the track has been mixed for the first time especially for this release by Nile Rodgers and Russell Graham at Nile’s Le Crib Studios in Westport, Connecticut.
“I’ve been blessed with a wonderful career but my creative partnership with David Bowie ranks very, very, very high on the list my most important and rewarding collaborations,” Rodgers comments on the sessions. “This demo gives you, the fans, a bird’s eye view the very start 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 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 second guitar or drums, let us know who you are! The time we spent mixing it just before Christmas was full tears as it felt like David was in the room with us. Happy Birthday David, I love you and we all miss you!”
At the end the track, Bowie’s voice can be heard laughing saying “That’s it, that’s it! Got it, got it!” Within four months “Let’s Dance” would be one the biggest and most influential hits the decade.