The song was a huge international hit, topping the charts in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. It was also a top five hit in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and South Africa.
‘Let’s Dance’ gave Bowie a much-needed hit in the US. It was his second and final single to reach number one, following ‘Fame’ in 1975.
Despite its success, the song was not Bowie’s initial choice for release as a single.
The truth is, I told Nile, “Why on earth you think that’s a single, I have no idea.” I had serious doubts – I wanted ‘China Girl’ to be the first single. But he said to me, ‘No, you’re wrong. ‘Let’s Dance’ is the one.’ And he was absolutely right.
Blender, August 2002
‘Let’s Dance’ remains Bowie’s second-best-selling single, after ‘Space Oddity’. Its success propelled Bowie into pop’s 1980s premier league, beginning a period of huge commercial sales, stadium tours, and diminishing artistic returns.
Also on this day...
- 1972: Live: Chelsea Village, Bournemouth
- 1970: Live: University of Surrey, Guildford
- 1968: Stage: Pierrot In Turquoise, Mercury Theatre, London
- 1967: Rehearsal: David Bowie and the Riot Squad
- 1965: Live: Davie Jones and the Manish Boys, Olympia Ballroom, Cromer
Want more? Visit the David Bowie history section.