David Bowie – Let’s Dance (Music Video)

  “Let’s Dance” is the number-one hit title album track on David Bowie‘s album Let’s Dance. It was also released as the first single from that album in 1983, and went on to become one of his biggest-selling tracks.   The single was one of Bowie’s fastest selling to date, entering the UK singles chart at number […]

 

DavidBowie-LetDance

Let’s Dance” is the number-one hit title album track on David Bowie‘s album Let’s Dance. It was also released as the first single from that album in 1983, and went on to become one of his biggest-selling tracks.

 

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. Soon afterwards, the single topped the Billboard Hot 100, Bowie’s only single to reach number one on both sides of the Atlantic. It narrowly missed topping the Australian charts, peaking at number two.

Music video

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.

Track listing

7″: EMI America / EA 152 (UK)

  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)

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

Legacy

“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 didn’t know who they were or what they wanted.[2] His next two albums, made as an attempt to cater to his new-found audience, suffered creatively as a result.[3]

Live performances

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. It was also performed live on Bowie’s 1987 Glass Spider Tour (and released on 1988’s Glass Spider), the 1990 Sound+Vision Tour, and was then reworked semi-acoustically for tours in 2000 and later.

Charts

Chart (1983) Peak
position
Australian Singles Chart 2
Austrian Singles Chart 2
Canadian Singles Chart 1
Dutch Singles Chart 1
Irish Singles Chart 1
New Zealand Singles Chart 1
Norwegian Singles Chart 1
Swedish Singles Chart 1
Swiss Singles Chart 1
German Singles Chart 2
UK Singles Chart 1
US Billboard Hot 100 1
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play 1
US Billboard Top Rock Tracks 8
US Billboard Hot Black Singles 14
Preceded by
Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler
Irish Singles Chart number-one single
9 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 single
9 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 one
22 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 single
May 7, 1983
Preceded by
Angel Man (G.A.)” by Rhetta Hughes
Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single
April 30, 1983 – June 4, 1983
Succeeded by
Flashdance… What a Feeling” by Irene Cara
Preceded by
“Beat It” by Michael Jackson
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
May 21, 1983

Production credits

Other releases

Cultural references to the song

Covers

Samples

 

 



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