"Let's Dance" is the title song from British singer-songwriter David Bowie's 1983 album of the same name. It was also released as the first single from that album in 1983, and went on to become one of his biggest-selling tracks. Stevie Ray Vaughan played the guitar solo at the end of the song.

The single was one of Bowie's fastest selling to date, entering the UK Singles Chart at number five on its first week of release, staying at the top of the charts for three weeks.[1] Soon afterwards, the single topped the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Bowie's second and last single to reach number 1 in the U.S. In Oceania, it narrowly missed topping the Australian charts, peaking at number two, but peaked at number one for 4 consecutive weeks in New Zealand.

Music video[edit | edit source]

The music video was made by David Mallet on location in Australia including a bar in Carinda in New South Wales and the Warrumbungle National Park near Coonabarabran. It featured Bowie playing with his band while impassively watching an Aboriginal couple’s struggles against metaphors of Western cultural imperialism. The red shoes mentioned in the song's lyrics appear in several contexts. Bowie described this video (and the video for his subsequent single, "China Girl") as "very simple, very direct" statements against racism and oppression.[2]

Track listing[edit | edit source]

7": EMI America / EA 152 (UK)[edit | edit source]

  1. "Let's Dance" (Single Version) (Bowie) – 4:07
  2. "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)" (Bowie, Moroder) – 5:09

12": EMI America / 12EA 152 (UK)[edit | edit source]

  1. "Let's Dance" (Bowie) – 7:38
  2. "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)" (Bowie, Moroder) – 5:09

Legacy[edit | edit source]

"Let's Dance" introduced Bowie to a new younger audience oblivious to his former career in the 1970s. Although the track was his most popular to date, its very success had the incongruous effect of distancing Bowie from his new fans, with Bowie saying he did not know who they were or what they wanted.[3] His next two albums, made as an attempt to cater to his new-found audience, suffered creatively as a result.[4]

Live performances[edit | edit source]

The track was a regular on the Serious Moonlight Tour (the name derived from a lyric in "Let's Dance"), and was released on the 1983 concert video Serious Moonlight. The song was also performed live on Bowie's 1987 Glass Spider Tour (and released on 1988's Glass Spider), and on his 1990 Sound+Vision Tour, and it was then reworked semi-acoustically for tours in 2000 and later. A live recording from 27 June 2000 was released on BBC Radio Theatre, London, June 27, 2000, a bonus disc accompanying the first release of Bowie at the Beeb in 2000.

Charts and certifications[edit | edit source]

Preceded by

"Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler

Irish Singles Chart number-one single9 April 1983 – 16 April 1983 Succeeded by

"Words" by F.R. David

Preceded by

"Is There Something I Should Know" by Duran Duran

UK Singles Chart number-one single9 April 1983 – 23 April 1983 Succeeded by

"True" by Spandau Ballet

Preceded by

"Twisting by the Pool" by Dire Straits

New Zealand Singles Chart number one22 April 1983 – 20 May 1983 Succeeded by

"Beat It" by Michael Jackson

Preceded by

"She Blinded Me with Science" by Thomas Dolby

Canadian "RPM" Singles Chart number-one single7 May 1983
Preceded by

"Angel Man (G.A.)" by Rhetta Hughes

Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single30 April 1983 – 4 June 1983 Succeeded by

"Flashdance... What a Feeling" by Irene Cara

Preceded by

"Beat It" by Michael Jackson

Billboard Hot 100 number-one single21 May 1983

Production credits[edit | edit source]

Other releases[edit | edit source]

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