Let’s Dance – David Bowie | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#1) & Mainstream Rock (#8); 1983

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

As much actor as musician, David Bowie reinvented himself over and over during his rise to fame. Ironically, it was Fame – quite literally – that took him to the top of the Top 40 in 1975. It also marked the start of a slide into decadence and drugs as he immersed himself in Berlin’s dark side. Berlin was also where Bowie got his personal and, then, artistic act together. In 1980 he symbolically killed off Major Tom, from 1972’s Space Oddity, in Ashes To Ashes. He focused on acting for the next two years; returning in 1983 with a new label and new look for Let’s Dance. Nile Rodgers of Chic helped Bowie craft his 1980’s mainstream style, with Bernard Edwards (Rodgers’ Chic partner-in-crime) on bass and a then-unknown Stevie Ray Vaughan on guitar. Let’s Dance, the album, became Bowie’s biggest hit in seven years, and placed two more tracks in the Top 15: China Girl and Modern Love.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • David Bowie
  • Nile Rodgers

Lyrics Written by:

  • David Bowie


  • “Let’s Dance” was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals in 1983