Let’s Dance – David Bowie

THIS DAY IN MUSIC………………………………………on April 9th of 1983 David Bowie tops the UK singles chart with “Let’s Dance”. Written by Bowie this song is about (rather unsurprisingly) dancing with a lover. It is the title track to Let’s Dance, which was produced by Nile Rodgers, who was responsible for the album’s funky sound. Rodgers founded the disco band, Chic, and produced hits for Diana Ross, including “Upside Down” and “I’m Coming Out.” He also produced Madonna’s 1985 album Like a Virgin. Stevie Ray Vaughan played lead guitar on this song. Bowie was impressed when he saw Vaughan perform at the Montreaux Jazz festival a year earlier. When Vaughan received the call from Bowie to play on the record, he was (although not literally) in the middle of recording his own album, Texas Flood. This was Bowie’s only transatlantic #1, a very upbeat song with mass appeal. He described it as “positive, emotional and uplifting. The official video was directed by David Mallet. It was filmed in Australia and features an Aboriginal couple who are struggling against Western cultural imperialism. The video was described by Bowie as a “very simple, very direct” statement against racism. According to Mallet, they shot the bar scenes in the morning, which didn’t go over well with the locals, who didn’t appreciate Bowie and fashionable crew. Some of the patrons also resented the Aborigines who starred in the clip, and mocked them with their own dance moves. Mallet shot this on film and edited it into the video – the white people dancing in the bar were actually making fun of the couple. Red Shoes are a theme in the video and appear in the lyrics, “Put on your red shoes and dance the blues.” This is a reference to the 1948 movie The Red Shoes, where a dancer performs in a ballet of that name. The idea is that the red shoes make you dance – it’s based on a Hans Christian Andersen story of the same title. Kate Bush recorded a song about the same subject. The tour to support this album was called the “Serious Moonlight Tour,” named after a line in this song: “Under the moonlight, the serious moonlight.” The song also topped Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart in the US.