To celebrate what would have been the 71st birthday of David Bowie, the previously unreleased “Let’s Dance (Demo)” is being released as a very special digital-only single available for streaming and download today, January 8, 2018, via Parlophone.
Thirty-five years after its initial release, the track has been mixed especially for this release by Nile Rodgers and Russell Graham at Nile’s Le Crib Studios in Westport, Connecticut.
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 of demos straightaway. Without a band, the Montreux Jazz Festival organizer 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, and 1.Outside, was recruited to play bass along with an unidentified drummer and second guitarist.
On December 19 and 20, 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.”
Speaking of those early “Let’s Dance” pre-production sessions, Nile Rodgers commented: “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 blueprint 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!”
At the end of the track, Bowie’s voice can be heard laughing, and saying, “That’s it, that’s it! Got it, got it!” Within 4 months, “Let’s Dance” would be one of the biggest and most influential hits of the decade.
Produced David Bowie and Nile Rodgers
Arranged by Nile Rodgers and David Bowie
Mixed by Nile Rodgers & Russell Graham at Le Crib Studios, November 2017
Recorded at Mountain Studios, Montreux, Switzerland, December 19, 1982
Engineered by David Richards
Vocals: David Bowie
Guitar: Nile Rodgers
Bass: Erdal Kizilcay
2nd Guitar: Unknown
DAVID BOWIE – SOCIALS