By Annie Reuter
An early demo of one of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance,” has been released on what would have been the artist’s 71st birthday.
The funky pop song was featured on the 1983 album of the same name, and the demo is raw but easily recognizable despite its lack of background vocals, horns, lush production and guitar solo by Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Bowie recorded the demo with Nile Rodgers on December 19 and 20, 1982, in Switzerland after Rodgers flew to Bowie’s home to work on some tunes. Excited by their progress, they decided to track the songs immediately and scrambled to enlist a band to assist at Mountain Studios in Montreux, Switzerland.
Rodgers considers his experiences working with Bowie to be some of the greatest of his life.
“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,” Rodgers said in a press release. “This demo gives 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!'”
Rodgers mixed the original demo shortly before Christmas of 2017. In retrospect, he said the song was the first hint of how innovative and exciting it would be to work with Bowie.
“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,” Rodgers said. “It became the blueprint not only for ‘Let’s Dance’ the song but for the entire album as well.”
Listen to the demo of “Let’s Dance” in its entirety below: