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Let's Dance Enhanced, Original recording reissued

4.4 out of 5 stars 112 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (20 Sept. 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Enhanced, Original recording reissued
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B00001OH7Z
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,058 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description


When Bowie returned to music-making after an unprecedented three year break, looking tanned, healthy and suited for the first time in his career, it was with this relatively clean-cut album to match. Although featuring another definite new direction, with co-producer Nile Rodgers of Chic helping produce a stylish post-disco dance sound, the Let's Dance is a mixed bag. Much of the album's success was due to its three danceable hit singles: "China Girl", a sensuous Bowie/Iggy Pop collaboration already recorded by the latter, the distinctive "Modern Love" and the funky title track. However, most of the rest of the album is bland and vapid, marking the start of a period of serious decline in Bowie's songwriting skills. A cover of Metro's "Criminal World" and "Cat People" are the only two other strong tracks, although the latter--previously released as a single in 1982--is not a patch on the original version. The re-release of Let's Dance includes the Bowie/Queen collaboration "Under Pressure". Although far from a highlight of the work of either of the artists involved, it is nevertheless a welcome addition for completists.--James Swift

BBC Review

It’s hard to imagine now how people felt when, in 1983, Let’s Dance emerged as if from nowhere. The general pop-buying public, at least, loved it – there are very few records shinier than this one, which glints like David Bowie’s new teeth and is full of treble and echoes like a robber’s cave.

Bowie’s choice of Nile Rodgers for producer was canny; Rodgers had moved away from the sophisticated disco of Chic and was becoming the person cool rock acts from Debbie Harry to Duran Duran would hire to give them a sheen of funk, rock and pop. Certainly nobody but Rodgers could have taken a song like China Girl (written by Bowie and Iggy Pop and originally recorded by the latter), with its paranoid references to "visions of swastikas", and turned it into a sweet, romantic hit single. And the combination of Bowie and Rodgers on the title track was perfect – Bowie’s epic lyric about dancing under "serious moonlight" (the name of his subsequent monster tour, which lasted until December and took in 96 shows) and the brilliant filching of the crescendo "ahh!"s from The Beatles’ version of The Isley Brothers’ Twist and Shout were masterstrokes, each welded to a loud, stadium-ised drum and bass sound.

But older Bowie fans were less impressed. The last three years had seen Bowie mooch between soundtracks (his theme for Cat People is reprised here), one-offs and a jumble of often-great records that had little or nothing do with his excellent 1980 album, Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps). Let’s Dance may have had a ground-breaking sound and a popularity that Bowie clearly ached for, but it’s often a mundane album, as songs like Ricochet and Shake It mark time until a single turns up. (It’s possibly significant that one of the best songs here is Criminal World, a cover of a song by obscure Bowie clones Metro).

But when Bowie growled, on another of the album’s excellent singles Modern Love, "I know when to go out / And when to stay in / And get things done," he wasn’t kidding. Let’s Dance was literally the template for 80s Bowie – blonde, suited and smiling. It would, however, be a long time before he made another single as striking as Let’s Dance.

--David Quantick

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. Brown VINE VOICE on 19 Nov. 2007
Format: Audio CD
There is a line of thought which exists that says all bands and artists have a purple patch when they produce their best work, then after that it's all rubbish - not even downhill, just not worth bothering about. The Rolling Stones, Lennon, McCartney, even the likes of Blur have suffered this fate, just as Bowie has. Well, while in the case of ex-Beatles it may be true, when it comes to Bowie it ain't.
The received wisdom is that Let's Dance was the Thin White Dukes first fully-fledged turkey. Certainly, the 1980s were a low period for him but that was almost a decade away.
Let's Dance chimes perfectly with the period. The songs are fantastically catchy - only Ricochet is ropey, relying on a turgid nursery rhyme structure, hence the docked star - with a soft soul sheen that harks back to Young Americans' attempt at the target, but much successful.
Of course, the first three tracks are worth the price of entry alone, but to discard the rest is to miss how finely balanced the whole record is. Certainly it is redolent with the shiny production that would become ubiquitious to the point that it removed any emotion or feeling from music during that period. However, to these ears, it has more in common with The Pixies 'Planet of Sound' than the likes of Sade or any other funk soul hybrids that followed it.
Either way, I can appreciate why some dislike this record, because it is, relatively speaking, very straightforward compared with the likes of Ziggy Stardust, Hunky Dory or Low, but that's to miss the point: this was yet another chameleon-like change in what had already morphed more times than any artist before. The the fact it was a move into a commercially-minded soul star with a hard edge doesn't mean it was a capitulation of artistic intent.
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Format: Audio CD
I remember reading a review in a local paper 30 years ago that said "Let's Dance take off where Scary Monsters left off". What twaddle. It also said the the reworked CAT PEOPLE (fantastic 12" original) was "heavy metal" more twaddle. I was looking forward to hearing this lp as I love Scary Monsters... . Oh what a shock. So from being a rock fan I had to now appreciate dance, and all of sudden I did. I like this album a lot. Says it all really. 30 years later and I still love this lp.

The following info is designed to help new-comers to point them in the right direction for their own tastes.
The No. * rating is very personal to me and these ratings have never really changed in all the 33 years I've been listening to Bowie. They are how I rate the whole LP/cd compared to other BOWIE output.
During 1990 and 1991 EMI released digitally remastered cds under the title of "SOUND + VISION". Most had bonus tracks... some tracks are poor but some are worth getting.
The following list is not definitive but points out the most accessible cds to newbies of Bowie.

1967 DAVID BOWIE - try getting the DELUXE EDITION, or DERAM ANTHOLOGY (not as complete but a good collection). 60's pop / whimsical / musical hall / very folk. 2*
1969 SPACE ODDITY - Electric folk / folk / soft rock - just like Hunky Dory 5*
1970 - THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD - Rock / hard rock - not unlike early Black Sabbath. 4*
1971 - HUNKY DORY - Folk / folk rock - just like Space Oddity 5*
1972 - The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (aka ZIGGY STARDUST) Rock / glam rock 4*
1973 - ALADDIN SANE - Rock / glam rock 3.5*
1973 - PIN-UPS - 60's cover versions in rock / glam style. 2*
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By markr TOP 500 REVIEWER on 14 Mar. 2012
Format: Audio CD
This is just a great album. I have been a Bowie fan since 1972,and his music has provided the soundtrack to my life - and in many ways still does. And this is the music of the 80s - Let's Dance, China Girl and Modern Love are great songs, which were included in Bowie's most recent tour - so he must like them too. Cat People is a great track as is Criminal World. Ok, so there are a couple of tracks which rather signposted the way the next albums were heading; Shake It is rather a filler for example, but for all that this is a great album, which bears the test of time well.

If you don't have this or haven't updated from vinyl or cassette - you really should do it now - you won't regret it.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
There are some who tut and say this is where the rot started to set in, but to this fan who'd got hooked with Aladdin Sane and followed Bowie pretty religiously thereafter it was right up there with his 70s milestones. The Nile Rodgers groove is a big part of the album, but it's not all 'play that funky music, white boy' by any means. Cat People, for example is a fabulously muscular rock workout that would not seem out of place on Lodger or Diamond Dogs.
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Format: Audio CD
David Bowie is awesome.As is 1983's colossal album Lets Dance.....
1.The title track is an effortless piece of pop perfection,monumental chorus,a tune that just owns it.Contemporary sospisticated pop at its best.Hands down one of the best,if not the best comeback singles of all time.
2.Theres an awful lot of pseudo Paul Morley mojo inspired chin rubbing where boring divorcees lament the commercial nature of this album.Yes it has choruses,yes lots of people liked it...so what?
If you don't like the album you have a previous decade of genius to chew on.
3.From some of the career "appraisals" you'd be forgiven for thinking before 1983 no one knew who Bowie was.
A myth.Bowie had numerous number one albums in Britain,number one singles in Britain....America?
Oh....played Madison Square Garden,number one single with Fame.
Obviously Lets Dance inducted a large portion of a new audience but Bowie was a star already.This album and singles magnified this.
4.Bowie knows EXACTLY what he wants,as uncredible as it was for him to admit years later this man wanted stadiums,wanted the american dollars....
5.Urrrghh....Paul Morley....two words that bring bile to my mouth.An overweight,obscenely pretentious egotist...just watch this guy on youtube,anything from the 80s and CRINGE,RECOIL in horror at the sheer arrogance and sixth form intelligence.
6.Steve Ray Vaughan.The type of guitar player that almost causes me to grow my hair,wear a bandanna and say mmman.
Beautiful guitar work.Man.
7.A great album that in the context of Bowie's catalogue is essential.If an album gets Bowie a bigger audience,GOOD.
Hopefully they will buy all his previous work and finally develop a true sense of taste.
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