Listen to David Bowie's 1982 demo for "Let's Dance," featuring Nile Rodgers - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

To mark what would have David Bowie‘s 71st birthday, a stripped-down and funky demo of his hit “Let’s Dance” was unearthed and released today. With the new / old track came a bit of lore about the recording sessions — which took place in December of 1982 at Bowie’s Switzerland home with Chic’s Nile Rodgers and a pickup crew of local musicians coordinated by Claude Nobs of the Montreaux Jazz Festival.

“Inspired by the new songs that Bowie had written the pair decided to record a set of demos straight away,” explains a note on Bowie’s website, noting that “Let’s Dance” was the first song recorded on the first day of their sessions. As Rodgers remembers 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.

The recording was remixed for this release by Nile Rodgers and Russell Graham at Nile’s Le Crib Studios in Westport, Connecticut; listen through to the end of the song and you’ll hear Bowie exclaiming with joy at nailing the take. Listen to the “Let’s Dance” demo below, read more here and grab a download here.

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