Bryan Adams’ 1979 disco single

The first single Bryan Adams recorded as a solo artist (following his departure from the Canadian band Sweeney Todd) was called “Let Me Take You Dancing”. The surprising thing is that it was a disco single! The original version of the song, released in Canada in 1978, sounded much like a recording by Nick “Hot Child In The City” Gilder. (Adams had replaced Gilder in Sweeney Todd). The 18-year-old Adams sang in a higher pitch than he did in his later recordings. For the single’s 1979 American release, the song was given a disco remix by John Luongo. Luongo sped up Adams’ vocals to the point where he sounded like a chipmunk! (Luongo was probably aiming to make Adams sound like Off The Wall-era Michael Jackson). For that reason, Adams has always distanced himself from the song, even though it was a minor disco hit, and soon led to Adams being fully signed to A&M Records. Adams has refused to allow the song to be included on any of his subsequent releases.

The single was released in both 7” and 12” formats. The 7” versions usually contained the John Luongo disco mix on the A-side, and a song called “Don’t Turn Me Away” on the B-side. The 12” versions usually contained an extended 5-minute disco mix on the A-side and an instrumental version of “Let Me Take You Dancing” on the B-side.

The shorter Luongo mix does have its charms. It’s quite amusing to hear Adams’ voice altered in this way, and it is fascinating from a historical viewpoint to hear the very uncharacteristic recording that launched the career of this famous commercial rocker. The song is also a better-than-average disco specimen from its time period, although that may be faint praise.

However, the extended Luongo mix found on the 12" version easily wears the song out. And the instrumental version is mostly dull and repetitive without the vocals.

“Don’t Turn Me Away”, the B-side to most of the 7” pressings, is an energetic bit of power pop that is unfortunately marred by the cloying Nick Gilder-ism of Adams’ vocals.

For more insights on this single and to hear snippets of the different versions of “Let Me Take You Dancing”, I recommend visiting the website of Jim Vallance, the song’s co-creator.

Track Listings:

Bryan Adams “Let Me Take You Dancing” b/w “Don’t Turn Me Away” (7” single) (A&M 2163-S) 1979

a. Let Me Take You Dancing (disco version)
b. Don’t Turn Me Away

Bryan Adams “Let Me Take You Dancing” (12” single) (A&M Disco SP-12014) 1979

a. Let Me Take You Dancing (disco version)
b. Let Me Take You Dancing (instrumental version)

Notes: Some early 1978 Canadian promo copies of the single contain the same original version of “Let Me Take You Dancing” on both the A- and B-sides. Some U.K. copies are labeled as containing “Don’t Turn Me Away” on the B-side, but actually contain the instrumental version of “Let Me Take You Dancing” on that side instead. U.S. promo copies of the 7” single contained the shorter disco version of “Let Me Take You Dancing” on both sides.