Official Charts Flashback 1983: David Bowie - Let's Dance

Bowie's suited, bleach-blonde makeover may not have been for everyone, but that didn't stop it from reaching Number 1.

To say anticipation around David Bowie's return in 1983 was high would be a huge understatement. As one of music's dominant forces throughout the 1970s, Bowie secured his place in pop history with 1980's Scary Monsters, a record that turned out a string of hits, including Fashion and the chart-topping Ashes To Ashes. What would he surprise the world with next? 

So great was the hype that disappointment for some was inevitable, and for early Bowie adopters, the result wasn't what they had hoped for. His latest incarnation - a wide-eyed, suited, bleach-blonde star - was a far cry from the alien Ziggy Stardust that both fascinated and frightened in equal measures. He was even smiling. Where was the mystery?

Produced by Chic's Nile Rodgers, Let's Dance was built for the masses; its strutting disco funk-guitar lines and catchy refrain (a reference to Chris Montez's 1962 single of the same name) were designed, as he sings himself, for people to dance "to the song they're playin' on the radio". 

The track was an instant hit, debuting at Number 5 on the Official Singles Chart before climbing to Number 1 a fortnight later, 35 years ago this week. It would go on to soundtrack the summer of '83 and finish as the fourth biggest seller in the UK that year, shifting 471,000 copies. Check out David Bowie's complete Official UK Chart history here.

Since his death in 2016, Let's Dance remains one of his most popular singles, re-entering the Official Singles Chart Top 40 the week following his passing. Look at Bowie's most popular records since his death here

Elsewhere in the Top 40 35 years ago this week Let's Dance had knocked the previous week's leader, Duran Duran's Is There Something I Should Know?, down to 2, and there were big climbers into the Top 10 for Tracey Ullman's Breakaway and Ooh To Be Ah by British synthpop band Kajagoogoo.

Further down, Culture Club were new at Number 9 with Church of the Poison Mind, and Michael Jackson's third single from his Thriller album, Beat It, debuted at Number 30.

View the Official Singles Chart Top 100 from this week in 1983 here

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