In the studio

‘Let’s Spend The Night Together’ was recorded at London’s Trident Studios between 19 and 24 January 1973. It was the final week of Aladdin Sane sessions, and also say the completion of ‘Cracked Actor’, ‘John, I’m Only Dancing’ (sax version), ‘Lady Grinning Soul’, ‘Time’, ‘Panic In Detroit’, and an early version of ‘1984’.

You either love it or you hate it. I’m of the former. Just a fun version of the song. Nothing special done in either the recording or mixing.
Ken Scott, May 2015
Five Years (1969-1973) book

David Bowie’s early Seventies records used synthesizers only sparingly. On ‘Let’s Spend The Night Together’ he played an ARP 2600 synth.

The idea was to fuck the sound up. On ‘Let’s Spend The Night Together’ the wobbly noise in the break was an ARP 2600, and it had patch wires, but by the time I went onstage they’d already brought out the Minimoog, and that’s what we adopted for live work; it was much more convenient to cart around the country.
David Bowie
International Musician, December 1991

Mike Garson performed the song on Trident Studios’ Bechstein grand piano, the same instrument that had appeared throughout Hunky Dory, and was also used on The Beatles’ ‘Hey Jude’, Queen’s first two albums, Harry Nilsson’s ‘Without You’, Elton John’s early hits, Lou Reed’s Transformer, plus others by Supertramp, Carly Simon, Genesis and many more.

The original version of this song was released by Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones back in 1967. A lot of people have enjoyed my crazy piano introduction on this song over the years.

I don’t quite know how that came about. I think I must have been infused when I came to these recording dates at the great Trident Studios and their great Bechstein piano.

That was the very same piano the Beatles recorded ‘Hey Jude’ on, Elton John recorded ‘Your Song’ with and so many more great recordings from amazing artists over the years…

I’ve never used drugs but felt high from the chemical factory I built in my brain playing this. Must have been the joy of playing with these guys and recognizing how much David wanted a more piano centric album after the heavy guitar album of Ziggy.

So I just let it go. You can feel my voice and my essence in this album and I’m eternally grateful to David for the opportunity. I really don’t think I would have found this way of playing in my normal jazz and classical worlds without him.

Mike Garson
Twitter, 28 June 2020

The release

‘Drive-In Saturday’ was issued as a single in the UK on 6 April 1973, two weeks before the release of Aladdin Sane. The b-side of the single was ‘Round And Round’, a cover version of Chuck Berry’s ‘Around And Around’ recorded during the Ziggy Stardust sessions.

However, according to NME journalist Charles Shaar Murray, ‘Let’s Spend The Night Together’ had originally been intended for the b-side, before the decision was made to include it on Aladdin Sane.

Three months ago, I sat on the floor in the mixing room at Trident Studios in the company of David Bowie, Mick Ronson, Ken Scott and sundry others and heard the bulk of this album hot off the tapes. Since then I’ve carried the memory of it around with me, waiting to hear it again and see how accurately I’d remembered it…

The album’s changed slightly since I first heard the tapes in that the recut ‘John, I’m Only Dancing’ has been replaced by ‘Let’s Spend The Night Together’, originally intended as the B side of ‘Drive-In Saturday’, and a then incomplete track called ‘Zion’ has been replaced by ‘Lady Grinning Soul’. After some more concentrated listening, some different things might emerge, and in that event I’ll take some space later to discuss them.

Charles Shaar Murray
New Musical Express, 14 April 1973

‘Let’s Spend The Night Together’ was released as a single in June 1973 in the USA, Holland, and India, with ‘Lady Grinning Soul’ on the b-side.

That month it was also issued as a single in Italy, with ‘Watch That Man’, and in Japan with ‘Drive-In Saturday’ on the flipside.

In August 1973 it was released in Brazil and France, again coupled with ‘Lady Grinning Soul’. The same single was also released in Canada, Greece, Sweden, New Zealand, and the Philippines at various dates.

Live performances

David Bowie began performing ‘Let’s Spend The Night Together’ as the opening number in his homecoming British concerts at the end of December 1972.

Just to make this tour a little different we opened our shows with a frantic version of the Stones classic ‘Let’s Spend The Night Together’.

In between gigs, I managed to do a couple of TV shows and finish the album Aladdin Sane. This would be the start of the expansion of the band. Still at its centre were the two Micks and Trevor, but I was now using sax players and backup singers. A sign of things to come… and go, I suppose.

David Bowie
Moonage Daydream: The Life And Times Of Ziggy Stardust

A recording from the farewell Ziggy Stardust show, from 3 July 1973, was released in 1983 on Ziggy Stardust: The Motion Picture.

Previous song: ‘The Prettiest Star’
Next song: ‘The Jean Genie’
Published: |