SO-17093 Let's Dance
Produced by David Bowie - Nile Rodgers
Released on April 1983
UK CHART POSITION #1 . . . US CHART POSITION #4
Find it at GEMM
SO-17093 cover  

A t the time, the idea of a mainstream David Bowie record was simply revolutionary. While the records that followed stole some of the original thunder by suggesting that Bowie had lost his edge, Let’s Dance stands as perhaps the most calculated commercial coup from an artist whose manipulation of the market was already legend. Having left RCA to pursue the free agency, Bowie signed a huge contract with EMI America, the artist tantalizing fans by claiming he would return to the market after a lengthy hiatus with his most successful record to date. And he did. Mind you, I wasn’t pleased when this record first came out. Accustomed to music that overshot the current trends, it was unsettling to hear a Bowie album that was right on the money. Producer Nile Rodgers gave the artist a hip sound that reeked of contemporary club music, as slick as it was soulless. Bowie flourished in the new setting (doesn’t he always?), glib in the gilding of horns and disco backbeats like Bryan Ferry without all the emotional baggage. And yet, in time, I was won over by the catchy hooks and irresistible beats, safe in the knowledge that surely a guilty pleasure from David Bowie couldn’t be guilty of anything. Today, I view this album as a brilliant sleight of hand. At eight tracks, two of them covers (“China Girl,” “Criminal World”), one of them a holdover from the Cat People soundtrack, Bowie was only on the hook for half a new album. That he had but five songs to bring to the table after three years spoke volumes. It helps immensely that those five songs are terrific; “Let’s Dance,” “Without You” and “Shake It” in particular are a hoot. The old Iggy Pop track “China Girl” also sparkles, giving the album some much-needed edge (“Ricochet” is equally dark but a minor player in these surroundings). Pessimist that I am, I pined for the gloomy predictions of 1984, unresolved to dance into destiny’s arms at the first sign of a party, but even we austere worker ants need to shake the dust off our booty sometimes. That we were joined on the dancefloor by the enemy camp, hedonists for whom Bowie was simply a passing fancy, ranks as one of the more wondrous musical truces in recent memory.

SO-17093 back cover SO-17093 lyric sleeve
SO-17093 back cover SO-17093 lyric sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. MODERN LOVE    (David Bowie)    4:46
  2. CHINA GIRL    (David Bowie/Iggy Pop)    5:32
  3. LET'S DANCE    (David Bowie)    7:38
  4. WITHOUT YOU    (David Bowie)    3:08
  5. RICOCHET    (David Bowie)    5:14
  6. CRIMINAL WORLD    (P. Godwin/D. Browne/S. Lyons)    4:25
  7. CAT PEOPLE (PUTTING OUT FIRE)    (David Bowie/Giorgio Moroder)    5:09
  8. SHAKE IT    (David Bowie)    3:49

CREDITS

DAVID BOWIE -- vocals, horn arrangements, mixing assistance
OMAR HAKIM -- drums
NILE RODGERS -- guitar, horn arrangements, mixing assistance
CARMINE ROJAS -- bass
ROB SABINO -- keyboards
TONY THOMPSON -- drums
STEVIE RAY VAUGHN -- lead guitar
Robert Arron -- tenor & flute
Bernard Edwards -- bass (4)
Steve Elson -- baritone & flute
Sammy Figueroa -- percussion
Mac Gollehon -- trumpet
Stan Harrison -- tenor & flute
Frank Simms -- vocals
George Simms -- vocals
David Spinner -- vocals
Bob Clearmountain -- engineer, mixing
Greg Gorman -- photography
Mick Haggerty -- package design
Derek Boshier -- painting on cover

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK April 1983 A&M LP/LPPIC/CS AML/AMLP/TCAML 3029 lyric sleeve
US/CAN April 1983 EMI America LP/CS SO/4XO-17093 lyric sleeve
AUS'L 1983 EMI LP ST-17093 lyric sleeve
BRA/GER/NET 1983 EMI America LP 1C 064 400 165  
YUG   Jugoton LP SEMIA 11026 inner sleeve
UK November 1995 Virgin CD CDVUS96  
EUR 1999 EMI CD 5218960 24-bit digital remaster
JPN 1999 EMI/Toshiba CD TOCP-65318 digital remaster, lyric booklet

 

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