Tonight is the sixteenth studio album by David Bowie, released in 1984. It followed his most commercially successful album, Let's Dance. He described the album, released immediately after his previous album's tour wrapped up, as an effort to "keep my hand in, so to speak," and to retain the new audience that he had recently acquired…
On the basis of Tonight, it appears that David Bowie didn't have a clear idea of how to follow the platinum success of Let's Dance. Instead of breaking away from the stylized pop of "Let's Dance" and "China Girl," Bowie delivers another record in the same style. Apart from the single "Blue Jean," none of the material equals the songs on Let's Dance, but it's appealing pop-soul and dance stylings helped make Tonight another platinum success.
Following the enormous success of the vibrant and upbeat LET'S DANCE, David Bowie's follow-up TONIGHT was a slicker yet more enigmatic-sounding collection. Full of synthesizers and polite Arif Mardin arrangements, this record allowed Bowie to indulge himself, even if that meant not putting out LET'S DANCE II. Three songs were resurrected from the '70s Iggy Pop catalog and another newer one was co-written with Pop ("Dancing With The Big Boys.") A 1977 Pop song was used as the title track, on which Bowie duetted with Tina Turner (who was in the middle of a comeback herself) and turned it into a reggae-flavored love song. Elsewhere, the Thin White Duke paid tribute to the Beach Boys by covering "God Only Knows" and scored a hit with "Blue Jean."
David Bowie had dropped hints during the Diamond Dogs tour that he was moving toward R&B, but the full-blown blue-eyed soul of Young Americans came as a shock. Surrounding himself with first-rate sessionmen, Bowie comes up with a set of songs that approximate the sound of Philly soul and disco, yet remain detached from their inspirations; even at his most passionate, Bowie sounds like a commentator, as if the entire album was a genre exercise. Nevertheless, the distance doesn't hurt the album – it gives the record its own distinctive flavor, and its plastic, robotic soul helped inform generations of synthetic British soul.