“Let’s Dance” Demo Marks David Bowie’s Birthday

David Bowie’s birthday today ( 8th ) sees a previously unreleased treasure, the actual demo for the 1983 title song to Let’s Dance . March will see the encore interview with the late icon for the 35th anniversary of that timeless release here In the Studio. But it is not the first time that David Bowie’s birthday has presented us with musical surprises.

David Bowie’s first new album in almost a decade, The Next Day,  was kept completely under wraps ever since his 2004 heart attack while on tour in Germany, dropped without any notice in 2015,  and the reaction was unequivocally and universally positive. Remarkably free from artifice or trend, The Next Day  was brimming with seventeen new songs framed by Ziggy-era producer Tony Visconti’s straightforward production in a way that focused attention on Bowie’s concise songcraft, wisely limiting the arrangements to nothing over four minutes. Then we had yet another new Bowie trove, Blackstar, arriving  on his birthday in 2016.

But these were far from David Bowie’s first “comebacks”. In the late 1970s he emerged from a protracted period of self-imposed exile in Berlin where he had virtually  co-opted the best elements of Kraut Rock (Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Can, Amon Duul ) into a series of critically lauded if not best-selling albums Low, Lodger, Heroes, and Scary Monsters, whose influence can now be seen in full bloom in today’s wildly popular Electronica raves. david-bowie-blackstar

When Bowie’s Let’s Dance  emerged in Spring 1983 with songs “Modern Love”,”China Girl”,” Cat People” with  young unheralded Texas blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan, Metro’s “Critical World”, and the seven minute title strut, it put David back in heavy rotation on North American rock radio where he had been MIA since his previous “comeback” to rock, 1976’s #1 seller Station to Station.  And regarding whether David Bowie cleverly timed The Next Day to coincide with the exact 30th anniversary of Let’s Dance, his best seller in a 45 year fabled career, the answer is not nearly as important as the simple fact that he survived long enough, and was inspired, to make another. –Redbeard DAVID-BOWIE-Mark-Fischer-1935435_10206595954031574_4971819839914278283_nDavid Bowie ( 2nd from left ) in New York City hangin’ with In the Studio MVP Mark Fischer ( far right ).