Parlophone is celebrating the 71st birthday of David Bowie with the previously unreleased Let’s Dance (Demo), which was issued over the weekend (January 7) to digital services. The track is available for streaming and download.
The 1983 single, which topped US and UK charts, was a collaboration between Bowie and Nile Rodgers, who discusses his relationship with the late music legend in the new issue of Music Week. Rodgers also issued his own social media tribute to mark Bowie’s birthday.
The collaboration took place in Switzerland in 1982. Montreux Jazz Festival organiser Claude Nobs drafted in local musicians for the Let’s Dance album sessions, including bassist Erdal Kizilcay, who went on to work with Bowie on Labyrinth, The Buddha Of Suburbia and Outside.
The makeshift band recorded the funky, stripped-back demo of Let’s Dance at Mountain Studios in Montreux on December 19, 1982.
To mark Bowie’s birthday, the track has now been mixed for the first time by Nile Rodgers and Russell Graham at Rodgers’ Le Crib Studios in Westport, Connecticut.
Rodgers said: “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 saying, "That’s it, that’s it! Got it, got it!”.