David Bowie - Let's Dance - 1983

David Bowie's "Let's Dance" is an iconic track that marked a significant shift in the artist's musical direction. Released in 1983, it not only showcased Bowie's ability to reinvent himself but also brought a fresh sound that blended rock with dance music. This course will dive into the history, production, and impact of "Let's Dance", giving you a comprehensive understanding of its place in music history.

The Genesis of "Let's Dance"

"Let's Dance" was a turning point in David Bowie's career, introducing him to a broader audience and cementing his status as a pop icon. Produced by Nile Rodgers, the song combined a catchy dance rhythm with a sophisticated rock edge, making it an instant hit.

  1. The collaboration between David Bowie and Nile Rodgers was pivotal, leading to a sound that was fresh and innovative.
  2. The song was released as the title track of the album "Let's Dance", which also featured hits like "China Girl" and "Modern Love".
  3. Bowie's shift towards a more commercial sound was met with mixed reactions from fans but ultimately expanded his audience.

The Music Video

The music video for "Let's Dance" was directed by David Mallet and shot in Australia. It features Bowie and a group of indigenous Australians and addresses themes of colonization and cultural appropriation.

  1. The visual aesthetics and thematic depth of the video added layers to the song's interpretation.
  2. Bowie's use of the music video medium to comment on social issues was ahead of its time and contributed to the song's legacy.

Impact and Legacy

"Let's Dance" was not just a commercial success; it influenced the direction of 1980s music and pop culture. It also played a crucial role in Bowie's career, introducing him to a new generation of fans.

  1. The song reached No. 1 on charts around the world, including the UK and the US.
  2. Its success helped to define the sound of the 1980s and influenced a wide range of artists.
  3. "Let's Dance" remains one of Bowie's most beloved and enduring hits, frequently covered and sampled by other artists.

Interactive Tasks

Quiz: Questions on the song

What year was "Let's Dance" released? (1983) (!1975) (!1980) (!1990)

Who produced "Let's Dance"? (Nile Rodgers) (!Tony Visconti) (!Brian Eno) (!Mick Ronson)

In which country was the music video for "Let's Dance" primarily filmed? (Australia) (!United Kingdom) (!United States) (!Germany)

Which of the following themes is NOT featured in the "Let's Dance" music video? (!Colonization and cultural appropriation) (Extraterrestrial life) (Social inequality) (The beauty of the Australian landscape)

How did "Let's Dance" impact David Bowie's career? (It introduced him to a broader audience and marked a shift towards a more commercial sound) (!It was considered a commercial failure but a critical success) (!It marked the end of his musical career) (!It was a return to his glam rock roots)

Quiz: Questions on the Performer

In what year was David Bowie born? (1947) (!1951) (!1945) (!1955)

Which of the following personas is NOT associated with David Bowie? (!Ziggy Stardust) (!The Thin White Duke) (!Aladdin Sane) (Major Tom)

Before his solo career, Bowie was part of which band? (The Konrads) (!The Spiders from Mars) (!Tin Machine) (!The Buzz)

Which album did "Let's Dance" title? (Let's Dance) (!Heroes) (!Young Americans) (!Station to Station)

What was Bowie's real name? (David Robert Jones) (!David John McDonald) (!Robert David Smith) (!John Richard Bowie)


David Bowie 1947
"Let's Dance" Producer Nile Rodgers
Music Video Location Australia
Album Name Let's Dance
Shift in Bowie's Career Introduction to a broader audience

Open Tasks


  1. Explore the influence of "Let's Dance" on modern music by creating a playlist of songs inspired by or similar to it.
  2. Research the role of Nile Rodgers in the music industry and write a brief report on his collaborations with other artists.
  3. Create a poster that could have been used to promote the "Let's Dance" single in 1983.


  1. Write an essay on the impact of the "Let's Dance" music video on MTV and music video production in the 1980s.
  2. Interview people who were teenagers when "Let's Dance" was released and gather their impressions and memories of the song.
  3. Analyze the lyrical themes of "Let's Dance" and how they reflect the socio-political climate of the early 1980s.


  1. Create a short documentary exploring the cultural significance of "Let's Dance" in the 1980s and its legacy today.
  2. Develop a multimedia presentation on the evolution of David Bowie's musical style, focusing on the transition from his earlier work to the "Let's Dance" era.
  3. Organize an exhibition that showcases the fashion and design aesthetics of the "Let's Dance" music video.

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