Archive for Let’s Dance

Great Rock Albums of 1984: David Bowie- Tonight

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2018 by 80smetalman

Every year through the journey through the golden age of heavy metal, there is no doubt in my mind that I missed an album or two that was considered a great album in that year. One I nearly missed was the “Tonight” album from the legendary David Bowie. My (poor) excuse for this was the fact that I was so caught up in posting about all the great metal albums that this one nearly past me by.

Thinking back to said year, I remember when the single, “Blue Jean,” from the album first appeared on MTV, my reaction to the song was, “Hey, David has gone back to his more traditional roots that brought him fame, no pun intended, in the 1970s.” “Blue Jean” is considered a light rocker in my eyes and it is the best song on the album. Back then, it persuaded me that “Tonight” would be better than his previous album, “Let’s Dance,” so I went out an procured it. After a listen, I came to the conclusion that “Tonight” was better than “Let’s Dance,” but not that much better.

For the first few songs, “Tonight” sounds like it was it was preformed by a late 1970s lounge act. Everything that comprises such a thing is present in these songs. It’s definitely music to mellow out to, however, I can not fault the first rate musicianship on the songs. It is why I can say that while theses songs aren’t exactly my cup of tea, they still provide good listening to if you are in the right mood. Two prime examples are the seven minute long opener, “Loving the Alien” and his mellowed cover of the Beach Boys classic, “God Only Knows.”

For those who have “Tonight” on vinyl or cassette, side two goes in a more harder rock direction starting with “Neighbourhood Threat.” This is a decent rocker and even more harder than the single “Blue Jean” and precisely the reason why it’s the hidden gem on the album. The single comes next and things pretty much carry on from there, although the remainder of the songs aren’t quite as hard rock as these two. Saying that, I do like the horns sound in “I Keep Forgettin.'” The second side is definitely the better side for me.

Track Listing:

  1. Loving the Alien
  2. Don’t Look Down
  3. God Only Knows
  4. Tonight
  5. Neighbourhood Threat
  6. Blue Jean
  7. Tumble and Twirl
  8. I Keep Forgettin’
  9. Dancing With the Big Boys

David Bowie

David Bowie- lead vocals

Derek Bramble- guitar, synthesizers, bass, backing vocals

Carlos Alomar- guitar

Omar Hakim- drums

Carmine Rojas- bass

Mark King- bass on “Tumble and Twirl”

Rob Yale- CMI on “Loving the Alien,” “Tonight” and “God Only Knows”

Guy St Ange-marimba

Sammy Figueroa- percussion

Tina Turner- vocals on “Tonight”

Iggy Pop- backing vocals on “Dancing With the Big Boys”

Robin Clark, George Simms, Curtis King- backing vocals

The Borneo Horns:

Stanley Harrison- alto and tenor saxophones

Lenny Pickett- tenor sax, clarinet

Steve Elson- baritone saxophone

Arif Mardison- string arrangements, synthesizers

Okay, David Bowie’s 1984 album “Tonight” doesn’t make me stop wanting to listen to “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and Spiders From Mars” but it is, at least in my opinion, better than his more commercial album, “Let’s Dance.” While it’s not something I would want to listen to in conjunction with any metal album, it is still a good album to lay back, mellow out and appreciate the fine playing on it.

Next post: Tank- Honour & Blood

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

Posted in 1980s, Death, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2016 by 80smetalman

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)

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