Great Rock Albums of 1983: David Bowie- Let’s Dance

David-bowie-lets-dance (1)

So far, the new year isn’t starting off very well for rock and metal. Two weeks ago, we lose Lemmy to cancer and then two days ago, cancer claims David Bowie. Right now is a time for tragedy and great morning.

One observation I have made goes back to that metal hating newspaper, The Sun. At Lemmy’s passing, the paper devoted pages 14 and 15 to talk about his life and contribution to music. However, yesterday’s Sun put David Bowie on the front cover and dedicated about eight pages, at least, to him. Now, I know the argument that Bowie was more well known than Lemmy and sold more records and had many more Top 40 hits. But still, the difference in the amount of coverage by the paper is way out of proportion.

When I began to assemble my list for albums of 1983, I was in two minds on whether or not to include Bowie’s 1983 “Let’s Dance” album. For me, it’s not his best album. It’s a long way down from classics like “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and Spiders From Mars,” an album I visited many eons ago. However, being an open minded person and having mellowed a little with old age, I thought it fair that I give it another listen. My opinion of “Let’s Dance” has improved but only a little bit. To me, it still sounds too 80s mainstream pop.

220px-ZiggyStardust

Here’s the good news. When I first heard the title cut all those years ago, I was put off by the domineering bass in the song. I thought he was trying to go for a dance record with it. Hearing it again, I realise now that “Let’s Dance” has a real killer guitar solo. Naturally, I had to look up to discover who played this great solo and very much to my surprise, I have learned that the guitar virtuoso was none other than guitar great Stevie Ray Vaughan. Better yet, not only does he shine on the title cut but his talents explode all over this album. So, I ask myself, “How could have I missed out this great guitar work over thirty years ago?” My only answer is that the mainstream 8os sound put me off so much, that I missed the great guitar solos.

Stevie Ray Vaughan

Stevie Ray Vaughan

Another point to make is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with Bowie’s vocals anywhere on the album. When you listen to each song, you know without a shadow of a doubt that it’s the Starman singing. His unique voice was as good as ever. This leads me to alter my original verdict on “Let’s Dance” to state that Bowie’s vocals and Vaughan’s guitar work save the album. Like with many albums, I did find a lesser known good track on this one. That track is “Cat People (Putting Out Fire)” and that even takes the top spot from the former fave, “Modern Love.”

Track Listing:

  1. Modern Love
  2. China Girl
  3. Let’s Dance
  4. Without You
  5. Ricochet
  6. Criminal World
  7. Cat People (Putting Out Fire)
  8. Shake It
David Bowie

David Bowie

David Bowie- vocals

Carmine Rojas- bass

Omar Hakim, Tony Thompson- drums

Nile Rodgers- guitar, horn arrangements

Stevie Ray Vaughan- lead guitar

Rob Sabino- keyboards

Mac Gallehon- trumpet

Robert Aaron, Lenny Pickett, Stan Harrison- tenor saxophone, flute

Steve Elson- baritone saxophone, flute

Sammy Figueroa- percussion

Frank Simms, George Simms, David Spinner- backing vocals

175px-David-Bowie_Early

R.I.P. David Bowie

While “Let’s Dance” is better than what I remember from over thirty years ago, after I listened to it, I did listen to “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and Spiders From Mars” again. That album is more my style. Whichever album you from David Bowie you prefer, you can’t the fault the contribution this great singer made to music for over forty years.

Next Post: U2- War  (Unless someone else who put out an album in 1983 dies)

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

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11 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1983: David Bowie- Let’s Dance”

  1. Thanks for showing this album some love (or at least “like”). It’s certainly not in the pantheon of all-time great Bowie albums but I think it gets unfairly slagged off by a lot of people simply for the fact that it included three huge radio hits. It’s not like Bowie had never done commercial, pop or dance music before. This was just the first time the mainstream really took notice. Also, any album that features SRV deserves some recognition.

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    • For me, Bowie went more mainstream and I was heading in the opposite direction in 1983. You’re right, Bowie had a good number of hits before this album came out and it is Stevie that makes the album for me.

      Like

  2. Man, SRV AND Nile Rodgers? I didn’t know Nile played on this.

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  3. Nice review, but apart from the title track it’s just all too 80’s for me!

    Like

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