David Bowie‘s most commercially successful album, Let’s Dance, divided critics and fans. Panned by critics as pandering to fans, audiences loved the album. The core songs continued to shine in Bowie’s subsequent tours, including Glass Spider and Sound+Vision. Bowie chose to feature Stevie Ray Vaughn on guitar as one of the most exciting behind-the-scenes aspects of this album.
In TV interviews years later, Vaughn confessed that he was not really familiar with Bowie’s music until they met at Montreaux Jazz Festival. Spending the day together talking about music, Bowie surprised Vaughn with his deep interest in Texas blues and Vaughn’s band, Double Trouble. Bowie basically said, “Let’s keep in touch,” and Vaughn thought little of it. Months later, Bowie tracked down Vaughn to play on Let’s Dance.
According to other TV interviews with Vaughn, Bowie gave him the freedom to play his guitar, often ripping into only one or two hot takes, rather than massaging it forever in the studio. Two professionals doing their thing.