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Hunky Dory
Studio album by David Bowie
Released 17 December 1971
Recorded April 1971 at Trident Studios, London
Genre Glam rock, pop
Length 39:04
Label RCA
Producer Ken Scott, David Bowie
Professional reviews
David Bowie chronology
The Man Who Sold the World
(1970)
Hunky Dory
(1971)
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
(1972)
Singles from Hunky Dory
  1. "Changes"
    Released: 7 January 1972
  2. "Life on Mars?"
    Released: 22 June 1973

Hunky Dory is the fourth album by English singer-songwriter David Bowie, released by RCA Records in 1971. It was Bowie's first release through RCA, which would be his label for the next decade. Hunky Dory has been described by Allmusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine as having "a kaleidoscopic array of pop styles, tied together only by Bowie's sense of vision: a sweeping, cinematic mélange of high and low art, ambiguous sexuality, kitsch, and class."[2]

Contents

Production

With the departure from Bowie's camp of Tony Visconti and his replacement on bass by Trevor Bolder, Hunky Dory was the first production featuring all the members of the band that would become known the following year as Ziggy Stardust's Spiders From Mars. Also debuting with Bowie, in Visconti's place as producer, was another key member of the Ziggy phase, Ken Scott. The album's sleeve would bear the credit "Produced by Ken Scott (assisted by the actor)". The "actor" was Bowie himself, whose "pet conceit", in the words of NME critics Roy Carr and Charles Shaar Murray, was "to think of himself as an actor".[3]

Style and themes

Musical biographer David Buckley said of Hunky Dory, "Its almost easy-listening status and conventional musical sensibility has detracted from the fact that, lyrically, this record lays down the blueprint for Bowie's future career."[4] The opening track, "Changes", focused on the compulsive nature of artistic reinvention ("Strange fascination, fascinating me / Changes are taking the pace I'm going through") and distancing oneself from the rock mainstream ("Look out, you rock 'n' rollers"). However, the composer also took time to pay tribute to his influences with the tracks "Song for Bob Dylan", "Andy Warhol" and the Velvet Underground inspired "Queen Bitch".

Following the hard rock of Bowie's previous album The Man Who Sold the World, Hunky Dory saw the partial return of the fey pop singer of Space Oddity, with light fare such as "Kooks" (dedicated to his young son, known to the world as Zowie Bowie but legally named Duncan Zowie Haywood Jones) and the cover "Fill Your Heart" sitting alongside heavier material like the occult-tinged "Quicksand" and the semi-autobiographical "The Bewlay Brothers". Between the two extremes was "Oh! You Pretty Things", whose pop tune hid lyrics, inspired by Nietzsche, predicting the imminent replacement of modern man by "the Homo Superior", and which has been cited as a direct precursor to "Starman" from Bowie's next album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.[5]

Release and aftermath

Bowie had been without a recording contract when he started work on the album at Trident Studios in April 1971. RCA Records in New York heard the tapes and signed him to a three-album deal on September 9, 1971 (1971-09-09), releasing Hunky Dory two months later.[4] Supported by the single "Changes", the album scored generally favourable reviews and sold reasonably well on its initial release, without being a major success.[3] Melody Maker called it "the most inventive piece of song-writing to have appeared on record in a considerable time", while NME described it as Bowie "at his brilliant best".[6] Stateside, Rolling Stone opined "Hunky Dory not only represents Bowie's most engaging album musically, but also finds him once more writing literally enough to let the listener examine his ideas comfortably, without having to withstand a barrage of seemingly impregnable verbiage before getting at an idea".[7] However, it was only after the commercial breakthrough of Ziggy Stardust in mid-1972 that Hunky Dory became a hit, climbing to #3 in the UK charts.[8] In 1973, RCA released "Life on Mars?" as a single, which also made #3 in the UK.[9]

In 1998 Q magazine readers voted Hunky Dory the 43rd greatest album of all time, while in 2000 the same magazine placed it at number 16 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 2003, the album was ranked number 107 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In the same year, the VH1 placed it at number 47 and the Virgin All-Time Top 1000 Albums chart placed it at position 16. In 2004, it was ranked #80 on Pitchfork Media's Top 100 Albums of the 1970s. In 2006, TIME magazine chose it as one of the 100 best albums of all time.[10]

Track listing

All songs written by David Bowie, except where noted.[11]

Side one

  1. "Changes" – 3:37
  2. "Oh! You Pretty Things" – 3:12
  3. "Eight Line Poem" – 2:55
  4. "Life on Mars?" – 3:53
  5. "Kooks" – 2:53
  6. "Quicksand" – 5:08

Side two

  1. "Fill Your Heart" (Biff Rose, Paul Williams) – 3:07
  2. "Andy Warhol" – 3:56
  3. "Song for Bob Dylan" – 4:12
  4. "Queen Bitch" – 3:18
  5. "The Bewlay Brothers" – 5:22

Bonus tracks (1990 Rykodisc)

  1. "Bombers" (previously unreleased track, recorded in 1971, mixed 1990)[12] – 2:38
  2. "The Supermen" (alternate version recorded for the Glastonbury Fayre in 1971, originally released on Glastonbury Fayre Revelations - A Musical Anthology, 1972) [12][13] – 2:41
  3. "Quicksand" (demo version, recorded in 1971, mixed 1990)[12] – 4:43
  4. "The Bewlay Brothers" (alternate mix)[12] – 5:19

Personnel

Technical personnel

  • Ken Scottproducer, recording engineer, mixing engineer
  • David Bowie – producer
  • Dr. Toby Mountain – remastering engineer (for Rykodisc release)
  • Jonathan Wyner – assistant remastering engineer (for Rykodisc release)
  • Peter Mew – remastering engineer (for EMI release)
  • Nigel Reeve – assistant remastering engineer (for EMI release)

Charts

Album

Year Chart Peak
Position
1972 UK Albums Chart 3 [14]
1975 Billboard 200 93 [15]
1972 Norwegian Album Chart 33
1972 Australian Album Chart 39

Single

Year Single Chart Peak
Position
1972 "Changes" Billboard Hot 100 66 [16]
1973 "Life on Mars?" UK Singles Chart 3 [14]
1975 "Changes" Billboard Pop Singles 41 [16]

Certifications

Organization Level Date
BPIUK Gold 25 January 1982 (1982-01-25) [17]
BPI – UK Platinum 25 January 1982 (1982-01-25) [17]

Notes

  1. ^ Weisbard & Marks, 1995. p.55
  2. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "(((Hunky Dory > Review)))". allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:3ifixqq5ld0e. Retrieved 2004-03-13. 
  3. ^ a b Carr, Roy; Murray, Charles Shaar (1981). David Bowie: An Illustrated Record. New York: Avon Books. pp. 7–11. ISBN 0380779668. 
  4. ^ a b Buckley, David (2000) [1999]. Strange Fascination - David Bowie: The Definitive Story. London: Virgin Books. pp. 112. ISBN 075350457X. 
  5. ^ Carr, Roy; Murray, Charles Shaar (1981). David Bowie: An Illustrated Record. New York: Avon Books. pp. 44. ISBN 0380779668. 
  6. ^ Pegg, Nicholas (2004) [2000]. The Complete David Bowie. London: Reynolds & Hearn Ltd. pp. 265–272. ISBN 1903111730. 
  7. ^ Mendelsohn, John. "Hunky Dory". Rolling Stone. http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/davidbowie/albums/album/237402/review/6067648/hunky_dory. Retrieved 2008-06-24. 
  8. ^ Sheppard, David (February 2007). "60 Years of Bowie". MOJO Classic: 24. 
  9. ^ Buckley, David (2000) [1999]. Strange Fascination - David Bowie: The Definitive Story. London: Virgin Books. pp. 624. ISBN 075350457X. 
  10. ^ Josh Tyrangiel; Alan Light (13 November 2006 (2006-11-13)). "The All-TIME 100 Albums". TIME (Time, Inc). http://www.time.com/time/2006/100albums/index.html. 
  11. ^ David Bowie. Hunky Dory (RCA Records, 1971).
  12. ^ a b c d David Bowie. Hunky Dory (Rykodisc, 1990).
  13. ^ "EMI 30th Anniversary 2CD Limited Edition (2002)". The Ziggy Stardust Companion. http://www.5years.com/ziggy30th2cd.htm. Retrieved 2008-06-22. 
  14. ^ a b "UK Top 40 Hit Database". http://www.everyhit.com. Retrieved 2008-06-23. 
  15. ^ "(((Hunky Dory > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums)))". allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:3ifixqq5ld0e. Retrieved 2008-06-23. 
  16. ^ a b "(((Hunky Dory > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles)))". allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:3ifixqq5ld0e. Retrieved 2008-06-23. 
  17. ^ a b "BPI Certified Awards". http://www.bpi.co.uk/. Retrieved 2008-06-23. 

References

  • Weisbard, Eric; Craig Marks (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. ISBN 0679755748. 







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