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David Bowie’s Let’s Dance. My first album by him. Great place to start.

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Bobby Morrow, Aug 9, 2021.

  1. Bobby Morrow

    Bobby Morrow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I mean, I know (now) Let’s Dance certainly isn’t Bowie’s best album..

    But I’m glad I started with this one anyhow.

    I was 21 in 1983 and had been listening to music for over a decade at that point. I’d loved many of Bowie’s singles but never took a chance on one of his LPs. I thought Let’s Dance was a fantastic single and another nice sidestep for Bowie. The song rightly went to #1 in the U.K. The second single was China Girl. Not as catchy perhaps, but still an interesting track with a great vocal and an excellent video in tow too.

    It was at this point I seriously considered getting the newly released Let’s Dance LP. A workmate was a big Bowie fan and told me Let’s Dance was ‘crap’ and I should get Ziggy Stardust or Hunky Dory instead. I ignored him and bought the new album anyway. I loved it immediately. Obviously the 2 singles were the highlights, but Modern Love, Criminal World and Cat People blew me away also. I still think the album holds up well nearly 40 years later. When I bought a CD player in 1985, Let’s Dance was the first title I bought.It sounded wonderful on the new format. So the album wasn’t just my introduction to Bowie, it was my introduction to CDs too.:)

    After this, I not only backtracked and bought his older albums, I picked up his new stuff as it was released too. Granted, Tonight and Never Let Me Down weren’t earth shattering, but at least I now had the 70s albums to get used to and help soften the blow!

    I’m still glad I started with Let’s Dance though. When I was younger, albums like Low, Lodger and even Aladdin Sane would have been lost on me. Let’s Dance was the perfect start. It’s incredibly poppy for Bowie, but there’s still a bit of an edge to it. Had I started with the aforementioned Tonight album, I wonder if I’d have taken the trouble to check out his back catalogue.. I’m guessing not.:)
    davers, Albiegator, Bebstrel and 56 others like this.
  2. Cast Iron Shore

    Cast Iron Shore Forum Resident

    Interesting narrative! What do you think of his back catalogue compared to Let’s Dance?
  3. blastfurniss

    blastfurniss Forum Resident

    Marion, OH, USA
    Excellent post! Similar situation for me. I was 13 and Let's Dance was my gateway drug to the Bowie catalog. The bass line of the title track hooked me and being a young guitar geek I was dazzled by the playing of Stevie Ray Vaughan. The singles on the album are all top notch. From Let's Dance I moved to Scary Monsters and then down to Ziggy, up thru Berlin and then back to the debut, TMWSTW & Hunky Dory.

    I've lost count of how many artists buying Let's Dance introduced me to through Bowie but off the top of my head there's Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and Marc Bolan for starters. I'd be hard pressed to name another album that opened my ears and my mind to so many new musical possibilities.
  4. Cast Iron Shore

    Cast Iron Shore Forum Resident

    What is your favorite Bowie album now that you’ve collected them?
  5. Bobby Morrow

    Bobby Morrow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Well, there are a lot of Bowie’s albums that I now prefer to Let’s Dance, but it was still a great starting point for me. I bought the SACD a few years ago and that reignited my love it. Let’s Dance sums up 1983 for me. A year I bought many great records. Terrific sounding album. Bowie never really revisited this style but this short, eight track album is pretty much perfect to me.
  6. Bobby Morrow

    Bobby Morrow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I think my next one along was Tonight a few months later. I liked it, but obviously not as much as Let’s Dance. Blue Jean was a great single and it looked like his form was going to continue. Then it didn’t.:)

    Think the next purchase as Aladdin Sane. This remains my favourite Bowie album. I even did a thread on here about it.:)
  7. Tom Daniels

    Tom Daniels Forum Resident

    I was an established Bowie fan when it came out. It was sort of the thing to do to dismiss Let’s Dance. But I enjoyed it. I was used to Bowie changing his skin by that time, and I had learned to embrace that. This was never going to make my top five Bowie albums, but I could put it on and enjoy it, and it added another flavor of Bowie.

    After Let’s Dance is when I thought he lost his way for awhile, because the quality dropped. I didn’t mind him doing something different and doing it well.
  8. Erick Haight

    Erick Haight Forum Resident

    Petoskey, Michigan
    As a 12-year-old listening to the album in art class, “Criminal World” got me into Metro, and “China Girl” made me track down the two Iggy Pop records with Bowie. And outside of art class, everyone loved “Modern Love” and the title track, thanks to the monoculture. A pretty solid Bowie gateway drug, if ya ask me.
  9. FloydMaui

    FloydMaui good kitty

    50th State
    Supposedly his first album that he didn't play any instruments on, just sang ?
    I don't know if that ever happened again.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2021
  10. mishima's dog

    mishima's dog Forum Resident

    Glasgow, Scotland
    My first Bowie album too. Bought it on holiday in Blackpool when i was 14. The back catalogue quickly followed. From the ones that made an instant impact (Hunky Dory, Ziggy, Station, Diamond Dogs) to the ones that took longer to appreciate - Low sat at the back of the cupboard for years.

    Then there were the albums that appeared sporadically through the 80’s. Easy to forget Bowie‘s stock was sky high when Tonight appeared and i remember seeing copies in the school common room along side Echo and the Bunnymen/Duran Duran/etc etc.

    Labyrinth OST and (especially) Absolute Beginners title track seemed to point the way forward to a bright future as a mature writer of adult pop but NLMD tossed that away in favour of Ziggy for the 80’s. Was still plenty to enjoy there but it was a dead end that he had to smash his way out of with Tin Machine.

    Still the troughs just make the peaks seem higher or as he himself said better a major f-up than a minor success.
  11. fishcane

    fishcane Dirt Farmer

    Finger Lakes,NY
    Love this era and always was surprised how mortified some appeared to be over his success… the trajectory should have been a surprise to no one, evidence of it was there years before
  12. Khamakhazee

    Khamakhazee Forum Resident

    Let's Dance was a big single and it's what kind of got me into Bowie again at that time. My first real introduction was Under Pressure with Queen, that was huge to me! Then oddly enough Tin Machine came out later and I think from that point on I started to really get into David Bowie's catalog.

    Years later I saw him perform in concert with Nine Inch Nails of all bands. It just shows the depth of Bowie and what an amazing voice he has, and that creative to be this diverse and long lasting.
  13. BourbonAndVinyl

    BourbonAndVinyl Forum Resident

    Kansas City, MO
    This is uncanny... it's almost the exactly same trajectory I took. I started w/ 'Lets Dance.' I bought 'ChangesBowie' next as sort of a "guide map" to his older stuff... It may not be his best LP but it was the album that led me to a life time of loving David Bowie.
    Bebstrel, Karnak, StormSignal and 4 others like this.
  14. Cast Iron Shore

    Cast Iron Shore Forum Resident

    That’s my understanding from quotes I’ve heard from Nile Rodgers. Same with Tonight.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2021
    blastfurniss likes this.
  15. blastfurniss

    blastfurniss Forum Resident

    Marion, OH, USA
    Funny you mention Low taking longer to digest. All 3 Berlin albums were like that for me. Couldn't connect with them as a teen but after college they really took hold particularly Low and Heroes. Even though I was disappointed by pretty much everything from Tonight to Outside (and that one took a while to grow on me too) yet I remained eager to hear what the man was up to and hoped with each new release it would be the long awaited return to form.
  16. Bnk

    Bnk Forum Resident

  17. Jamsterdammer

    Jamsterdammer Forum Resident

    I was already deep into Bowie when "Let's Dance" came out. Being used to Bowie reinventing himself time and again, it sounded refreshing and in tune with the times to my ears. Not my favorite Bowie but a solid album. Also, I saw him on the Serious Moonlight tour, which was a great show.
    Fabrice Outside likes this.
  18. Bnk

    Bnk Forum Resident

    Scary Monsters? Isn't Let's Dance the commercial, plastic soul version of the New Romantic Scary Monsters album? Ashes to Ashes would have fit in Let's Dance.
    Weird Scary never gets a mention.
  19. Chris Schoen

    Chris Schoen Rock 'n Roll !!!

    Maryland, U.S.A.
    As much as I don't care for "80's" music, "Lets Dance" is a favorite album of mine.
    I would also recommend "The Man Who Sold The World" which (imo) is very under-rated.
    DesertHermit likes this.
  20. Bobby Morrow

    Bobby Morrow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    A big contrast between those two.:)

    TMWSTW is a good album, but I prefer Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust.
  21. healter skealter

    healter skealter Mullered

    Penny Lane
    Let's Dance was His first album since Young Americans - but sadly not the last! - to disappoint me bitterly. Over the decades, I've come to enjoy most of YA, but for me, LD will always be an inconsequential bit of Bowie Fluff - apart from Modern Love, which is a top, top tune :edthumbs:
  22. footprintsinthesand

    footprintsinthesand Reasons to be cheerful Part 1

    Dutch mountains
    Never understood the appeal of that one
    TheLastVoice and Philip Gruber like this.
  23. Michael Macrone

    Michael Macrone a roMance anagram

    San Francisco, CA
    Well, you know, some people honestly didn't like it. I don't recall any "thing" of the sort, just a lot of long-time fans who found it flaccid and crass.

    Except for the SERIOUS MOONLIGHT.
  24. 13605

    13605 Guest

    It was the first Bowie in our house too. I bought the single and my sister then took over (as she did a lot then) with the album.
    I then brought in Hunky Dory but never listened to it before my sister and her mates started playing it and Let's Dance on such heavy rotation that I had to leave home.
    Which is just as well because I missed their Depeche Mode phase.
  25. Music Geek

    Music Geek Forum Resident

    When Let's Dance came out I had already about 6 or 7 Bowie records. Scary Monsters is one of his masterpieces so I had great expectations for his follow up and Let's Dance was quite a shock. I still enjoyed it for what it was: a few good songs in a more commercial vein.
    It started a bad habit for Bowie though: making albums with a couple of good songs and lots of filler. It took him almost 20 years to shake off that habit.
    Max Florian and 13605 like this.

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