Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Hear David Bowie's "Let's Dance" Demo, Featuring Nile Rodgers
In honor of what would have been David Bowie's 71st birthday today, Parlophone has shared a previously unreleased demo recording of the late icon's 1983 hit "Let's Dance" featuring fellow GRAMMY winner Nile Rodgers.
According to Stereogum, the demo was recorded in Montreux, Switzerland, in 1982 with a pickup band that included Rodgers, Turkish-born guitarist Erdal Kizilcay, and an unidentified drummer and additional guitarist.
"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," said Rodgers of the newly surfaced recording. "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!”
Rodgers and Bowie would enjoy great success together on the album Let's Dance, including hits "China Girl" and "Modern Love," both of which both climbed to No. 2 on the UK charts, as well as the title track heard in this newly unearthed demo. Per Bowie's suspicions, "Let's Dance" was indeed a hit – charting No. 1 in both the U.S. and U.K.
The LP was nominated for Album Of The Year for the 26th GRAMMY Awards, and Bowie also earned a nod for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male for "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)."
"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!" Rodgers said, "It became the blueprint not only for 'Let’s Dance' the song but for the entire album as well."
As for the two unidentified musicians heard on the track, Rodgers had a message for them, as well as a birthday wish for his departed collaborator: "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."