David Bowie’s birthday marked by release of previously unheard ‘Let’s Dance’ demo

Parolophone Records today is marking what would have been David Bowie’s 71st birthday with the digital release of a previously unheard demo version of the singer’s 1983 hit single “Let’s Dance,” the fruit of his collaboration with Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers.

The song was recorded during sessions on Dec. 19 and 20, 1982, in Mountain Studios in Montreux, Switzerland. Bowie and Rodgers were joined by bassist Erdal Kizilcay and an unidentified second guitarist and drummer, according to the label. The demo was mixed in November.

Of the song, Rodgers writes:

“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!”

The demo is available via streaming services and can be purchased as a download.

Hear it below, along with the final version.





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  • David Butterfield

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  • UE405

    It’s amazing to think that Nile Rodgers almost didn’t produce this record — Bowie was planning to work with Tony Visconti but then changed his mind at the last minute. And without Nile Rodgers, there would be no “Let’s Dance” as we recognize and love both the song and the album. Whew! Thank you, fate.



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