Digital-only release of the unheard demo available now
Today would have been the 71st birthday of David Bowie and to celebrate this, a previously unheard demo version of his 1983 hit single Let’s Dance is available right now as a special digital and streaming release.
Nile Rodgers had listened to the songs that would become the Let’s Dance album in late 1982 and him and David decided to record a set of demos straight away. This Let’s Dance demo was recorded on 19 December 1982 in Montreux, Switzerland. Turkish multi-instrumentalist Erdal Kizilcay – who would later work extensively with Bowie on Never Let Me Down, The Buddha Of Suburbia and Outside – and there was also an “unidentified drummer and second guitarist.”
Thirty five years later the track has been mixed for the first time especially for this release by Nile Rodgers and Russell Graham at Nile’s Le Crib Studios in Westport, Connecticut. Speaking of those early ‘LET’S DANCE’ pre-production sessions Nile Rodgers had some warm words to say:
“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 lasts for just over five minutes and sounds great. It’s a clear blueprint for the master recording. There is a poignant moment at the end where David’s trademark laugh can be heard and he cries out “That’s it, that’s it! Got it, got it!”
This is not being issued physically and it is very unlikely to even be included on a fourth David Bowie box – assuming that will happen – since previously unreleased material is normally not part of the remit. A physical release is only likely whenever Parlophone decide to reissue an expanded deluxe edition of the album.
Although this demo is available on streaming services, who knows how long it will remain up there, so my advice (unusually!) would be to buy the digital download so you own this file.
The Let’s Dance demo is available right now and the download links for various territories are below.
LET’S DANCE (DEMO)
Produced David Bowie and Nile Rodgers
Arranged by David Bowie and Nile Rodgers
Mixed by Nile Rodgers & Russell Graham at Le Crib Studios November, 2017
Recorded at Mountain Studios, Montreux, Switzerland 19th December, 1982
Engineered by David Richards
Vocals: David Bowie
Guitar: Nile Rodgers
Bass: Erdal Kizilcay
2nd Guitar: Unknown