This Unreleased Demo of David Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’ Might Be More Timeless Than the Album Version

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Well Done, As Always

The early version of “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie was first played for Nile Rodgers in 1982 the guitarist was not impressed. “I come from dance music,” Rodgers told Bowie at the time. “You can’t call that thing you just played ‘Let’s Dance.'”

So Rodgers improved the structure and the chords and turned the song into one of Bowie’s biggest hits. They took only 17 days to record the entire album – start to finish with mastering – and Rodgers later called it, “the easiest record I’ve ever made in my whole life.”

And within those 17 days, Bowie and Rodgers managed to record a demo version of “Let’s Dance,” which has never been properly released until recently. It’s a stripped-down take on the song, missing many of the effects, synths, backing vocals, and horns. It’s pure instruments and Bowie’s voice.

What’s more interesting is that this stripped-down version might be better than the glorious original version, making this demo feel even more timeless. Aside from being timeless, it also highlights both songwriting ability, focusing on the song’s beautiful structure and chord progression. Along with that, the powerful Bowie’s vocal performance is easier to hear, with some of the incredible bends and notes he hits. This demo version seems to be more than like an intimate love song than the original version for a dance party. Well, being David Bowie, the ever-changing chameleon, that should say something.