Let's Dance album coverWritten by: David Bowie
Recorded: December 1982, January 1983
Producers: David Bowie, Nile Rodgers

Released: 14 April 1983

Available on:
Let’s Dance


David Bowie: vocals
Stevie Ray Vaughan, Nile Rodgers: guitar
Rob Sabino: keyboards
Carmine Rojas: bass guitar
Mac Gollehon: trumpet
Robert Arron, Stan Harrison: tenor saxophone
Steve Elson: baritone saxophone
Omar Hakim/Tony Thompson: drums
Sammy Figueroa: percussion
Frank Simms, George Simms, David Spinner: backing vocals

‘Shake It’ is the closing track on Let’s Dance, David Bowie’s 15th studio album. It was also the b-side of his ‘China Girl’ single.

David did the lead vocals for ‘Criminal World’, ‘Modern Love’, ‘China Girl’, ‘Let’s Dance’ and ‘Shake It’, all those vocals in one day. And we got most of the instrumental solos done in a day too.
Nile Rodgers
Loving The Alien (1983–1988) book

The song is a buoyant note on which to finish Let’s Dance. The lyrics are uncomplicated: a confident Bowie chats up “a faceless girl” and toys with taking her to New York, concluding – in an antithesis of 1980s consumerist culture – “I’ll scream and I’ll fight for you/You’re better than money”.

‘Shake It’ was a throwaway fleshed out in the studio from a half-written demo that producer Nile Rodgers described as a “thumbnail”. Bowie never performed the song in public.

The release

The Let’s Dance album was released on 14 April 1983.

The ‘China Girl’ single was issued on 31 May 1983, with ‘Shake It’ on the b-side. It peaked at number two on the UK singles chart, and number 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

A 12″ single of ‘China Girl’ was also released, with an extended 5:07 remix of ‘Shake It’.

Previous song: ‘Cat People (Putting Out Fire)’
Next album: Tonight
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