On April 14, 1983, David Bowie released his 15th album "Let's Dance".
This is the album that will turn David Bowie into an idol and a superstar on a global scale, the album that will bring him the greatest commercial success since the beginning of his career, but it is also the album that will put Bowie's originality and creativity into a long sleep in an attempt to please the audience and new fans.
Here are 40 facts you may not have known about the album:
1. It is David Bowie's best-selling album with sales of over 10 million copies.
2. This is Bowie's first album where he only sings and doesn't play any instrumentals.
3. Bowie recruited Nile Rodgers from the funk-disco band "Chic" to produce the album. He gave him one instruction "I want a hit" and he got much more than that.
4. The choice of Rodgers as producer, who also played guitar, was responsible for the mix and the arrangements for brass instruments, also brought with it a fundamental change in the musical style of the album, which was defined as Post-Disco, with elements of Dance-Rock, Dance-Pop, and New Wave.
5. Rodgers was known, among other things, as the one who produced songs like "Upside Down" and "I'm Coming Out" for Diana Ross and would later produce the album "Like a Virgin" for Madonna.
6. Rodgers will bring to the recording of the album musicians such as drummer Omar Hakim and guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan, whom Bowie saw at the jazz festival in Monterrey, held in 1982, and asked him to play with him on his next album. Vaughan was then busy recording his album "Texas Flood".
7. The album was recorded from start to finish in only 19 days!
8. The album contains three songs that are cover versions: "China Girl" which Bowie wrote in collaboration with Iggy Pop, "Criminal World" by the new wave band "Metro" and a remake of "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)", originally recorded by Bowie and Giorgio Moroder in 1982 for the film of the same name.
9. 4 singles were released from the album. "Let's Dance", "China Girl", "Modern Love", and "Without You".
10. The title of the song "Let's Dance" may sound innocent and about dancing with a lover, but it has a deeper meaning. Bowie wrote about the "dance" that people do in life. The conceptual dance of not being honest with yourself. He sang, "Put on your red shoes and dance the blues" and he meant that sometimes we pretend to be happy but deep down we are sad.
11. It was the first and biggest transatlantic hit in Bowie's entire career.
12. It was an unusual single in its length, reaching almost 8:00 minutes. The song combined different musical styles such as Rock, Funk, Dance, New wave, and Post-Disco. The single includes many solos, of trumpet, saxophone, guitar, and percussion.
13. The vocal intro at the beginning of the song was influenced by "The Beatles'" version of the song "Twist and Shout".
14. This was the first song Bowie and Rodgers recorded for the album. Rodgers noted that the first version Bowie brought with him sounded like Donovan meets Anthony Newley. He changed the style, added the bouncy bassline and that's how this huge hit was born.
15. The second single "China Girl" was written by Iggy Pop and David Bowie during their years in Berlin and it first appeared on Pop's first solo album, The Idiot (1977).
16. The song was inspired by Iggy Pop's crush on Kuelan Nguyen, a Vietnamese woman, and was written as a metaphor for his career in "The Stooges".
17. The production on the original recording that appeared on "The Idiot" is more raw and unpolished compared to Bowie's remastered hit, which gave it a softer version.
18. The original music video that was released for the song was censored. The scene where Bowie makes love on the beach, fully naked, with his girlfriend at the time - the model Geeling Ng was cut from it.
19. The third single "Modern Love" was the second song that Bowie and Rodgers recorded for the album.
20. Bowie said that Little Richard, "his earliest rock hero," inspired the song, especially the vocal arrangement. He cited a defining moment in his childhood as the moment his father came home with a copy of "Tutti Frutti".
21. The spoken words at the beginning of the song correspond with the closing words of the song "Ashes to Ashes" especially the line "get things done".
22. The song was the closing song of the tour that accompanied the album and allowed Bowie to "wave bye-bye" to the audience, according to the lyrics.
23. In 1987 Bowie re-recorded this song with Tina Turner for a "Pepsi" commercial, in which he plays a scientist who creates the perfect woman (Turner), with a little help from "Pepsi".
24. The song received an interesting cover version "Made in Israel", which was recorded by Geva Alon in 2007. This is a devastating folk version...
25. After Bowie's death the song "Modern Love" was defined by several magazines as one of his greatest songs. "Rolling Stone" listed it as one of Bowie's 30 essential songs, "Ultimate Classic Rock" ranked it in the list of Bowie's 10 greatest songs - "NME" chose it as the eighth of Bowie's greatest songs.
26. In the fourth single "Without You" Bowie aimed for the Pop-rock of the 60s and it corresponds with his early works.
27. The song features bass playing by Bernard Edwards, Roגgers' friend from "Chick". Roגgers made a bet with Bowie that Bernard would finish recording his partד in 15 minutes, it took even less, he arrived at the studio, did it in one take, looked at Bowie and Rodgers, and asked "Is that what you wanted?".
28. The song that opens the second side of the vinyl - "Ricochet" is probably the only one that recalls the experimental nature of Bowie's music from the late 70s.
29. Bowie stated that he thought it was a great song but the beat wasn't quite right. It didn't fit until Rodgers came along and did his thing, but it wasn't exactly what Bowie had in mind when he originally wrote it.
30. "Criminal World" is an original song by the band "Metro" from 1977. Their version was banned by the BBC for broadcast due to its bisexual tone.
31. Bowie stated that he thought Stevie Ray Vaughan's solo on this song was his best on the album.
32. "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)" was recorded in 1981 by Bowie and Giorgio Moroder as the theme song for the 1982 film "Cat People". Bowie was unhappy with the original version and asked Rodgers to re-record it for the album.
33. In 1989, the album was ranked number 83 on Rolling Stone's "100 Best Albums of the 1980s" list.
34. In 2013, "NME" ranked "Let's Dance" at number 296 on its list of the "500 greatest albums of all time".
35. In 2018, "Pitchfork" ranked the album at number 127 on the "200 Greatest Albums of the 1980s" list.
36. The album was nominated for the Grammy Award for "Album of the Year" at the 26th Annual Grammy Awards, held in 1984, but lost to Michael Jackson's "Thriller".
37. The success of the album caused Bowie to reach a creative low point in his career that lasted for years to come.
38. He stated that he intended it to be a one-off project only. He had every intention of continuing to make extraordinary material after that. But the success of this album forced him to continue "feeding the beast".
39. After his follow-up albums "Tonight" and "Never Let Me Down" were critically dismissed, Bowie would later refer to this period as my "Phil Collins years."
40 In the late eighties Bowie founded the rock band "Tin Machine" in an attempt to regain his artistic vision.
For Listening: Spotify