David Bowie

Let's Dance

Composed by David Bowie

Song Review by

By 1983, David Bowie had been away from the pop mainstream for almost three years. Inevitably, his return to action with the "Let's Dance" single and an album of the same name was greeted with wild enthusiasm, all the more so when his latest transformation revealed him to be more than ready to accept the mega-superstardom he had merely flirted with for so long.

Recorded in New York with Chic mastermind Nile Rodgers at the helm, and the then-rising Texan guitar star Stevie Ray Vaughan in audible attendance, "Let's Dance" itself is one of Bowie's most overtly commercial compositions, further blessed by one of his most simplistic lyrics -- the sociological content with which the song has historically been credited derives entirely from the accompanying video, as opposed to a lyric which does little more than repeat the title around scattered invocations of "serious moonlight" and scarlet footwear.

Over seven minutes long in its LP form, "Let's Dance" was edited down for single release and promptly rewarded Bowie with a number one on both sides of the Atlantic. Of course, it was a staple throughout the ensuing Serious Moonlight tour, and remained part of his repertoire throughout the 1980s. A live version, featuring Tina Turner, was recorded in 1985 and appears on her Live in Europe album.

Bowie appeared to lose interest in the song following the Sound and Vision tour in 1990. However, it reappeared in 1995 in a vastly different arrangement, and Bowie has continued toying with the song's structure ever since.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Let's Dance 1983 Virgin 7:37
No Image 1983 Sony Music Distribution
No Image 1985
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
Glass Spider 1988 Virgin
Changesbowie 1990 Rykodisc 4:10
The Singles: 1969-1993 1993 Rykodisc 4:07
The Video Collection 1993 Rykodisc
The Singles Collection 1993 EMI Music Distribution 4:10
Sounds of the Eighties: The Rolling Stone Collection, 1982-1983 1995
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:10
Rock On 1983 1996
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 4:10
Best Rock Anthems in the World...Ever! 1996
Various Artists
Virgin
Rock On: 1980-1984 1997
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 4:10
Ultimate New Wave Party 1998 1997
Various Artists
Arista 4:45
Now: 1983 [2 CD] 1999
Various Artists
Virgin/EMI 4:08
Music of the Millennium, Vol. 1 [Universal] 1999
Various Artists
Universal International 0:00
The Singles Collection 2 2000 EMI Music Distribution 4:10
Number One 80's 2000
Various Artists
PolyGram 4:06
'80s Pop Hits 2001
Various Artists
Compose Records 4:09
Music of the Millenium 2001
Various Artists
Umusic 4:03
Everything 80's 2002
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:09
Twogether Pop 2002
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 4:06
Rhythm & Grooves: Groove Is in the Heart 2002
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:10
Best of Bowie 2002 Virgin 4:10
The Best of Bowie [DVD] 2002 Virgin 4:18
Platinum 80s 2002
Various Artists
Warner Music 3:38
Asian Vibes 2003
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 4:47
Club Bowie: Rare & Unreleased 12" Mixes 2003 EMI Music Distribution 11:02
Time 100, Vol. 2: 1980-1999 2004
Various Artists
Weasel 4:09
#1's: 38 of the Greatest #1 Singles of All Time 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 4:09
1S - 38 of the Greatest Number 1 Singles of All Time 2005
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 4:08
Page 3 [12 Tracks] 2005
Original Soundtrack
Virgin 5:15
The Platinum Collection 2006 Virgin 4:07
Mini Best of David Bowie 2006 EMI Music Distribution 4:08
101 80's Hits [EMI] 2007
Various Artists
Virgin/EMI 4:05
The Best of David Bowie 1980-1987 2007 Virgin 4:07
We Own the Night 2007
Original Soundtrack
Lakeshore Records 4:07
Années 80, Vol. 2 2007
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 4:06
Now That's What I Call the 80s 2008
Various Artists
RCA / Sony BMG / Universal Distribution / Zomba / Sony Music Distribution 4:06
Top 80's 2008
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 4:06
This Is 1983 2008
Various Artists
EMD Int'l 4:10
100% 80's 2008
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 4:07
Pirate Radio Motion Picture Soundtrack 2009
Original Soundtrack
Universal Distribution / Universal Republic / Republic 4:06
Ashes to Ashes, Series 3 2010
Original Soundtrack
Sony CMG / Sony Music Entertainment 4:04
Anthems: Electronic '80s, Vol. 2 2010
Various Artists
Ministry of Sound 4:07
Nothing Has Changed 2014 Columbia / Legacy 4:08
No Image 2016 Columbia/Legacy / Sony Music 4:08
Egb. La Música de una Generación
Various Artists
Warner Music 4:10
Let's Dance EMI Music Distribution 4:07
Pirate Radio
Various Artists
Island/Def Jam / Universal 4:07
The Best of School Disco.com: 10th Anniversary
Various Artists
EMI 4:05