Limited 180 gram vinyl LP pressing. Hunky Dory is the fourth album by David Bowie, recorded in mid-1971 and released by RCA Records that December. It was his first release through RCA, which would be his label for the next decade. Hunky Dory has received critical acclaim since it’s release, and is regarded as one of Bowie’s best works. Time chose it as part of their “100 best albums of all time” list in January 2010, with journalist Josh Tyrangiel praising Bowie’s “earthbound ambition to be a boho poet with prodigal style”. The style of the album cover, designed by George Underwood, was influenced by a Marlene Dietrich photo book that Bowie took with him to the photo shoot.
Bewlay Brothers, The
Oh! You Pretty Things
Eight Line Poem
Life on Mars?
Fill Your Heart
Song for Bob Dylan
It seems hard to believe, given the career full of revolutionary and hugely influential stylistic shifts that followed, that this superb record was only David Bowie’s fourth. Yet Hunky Dory ranks alongside Ziggy Stardust, Low, and Scary Monsters as one of Bowie’s finest and most consistent albums. Ironically, it is one of the artist’s least rock-oriented efforts, bearing little relation to what came before or after in his discography. Instead, Hunky Dory covers a wide range of styles from operatic pop (“Life on Mars?”) to low-key folk (“Quicksand”) to English music hall ditties (“Kooks”). There are standout tracks, most notably the glam-rock anthem “Oh, You Pretty Things!” and the chugging, life-affirming “Changes,” which went on to become one of Bowie’s all-time signature songs. But Hunky Dory is solid from beginning to end, thanks to the fine musicians, Bowie’s excellent songwriting, and the artist’s now-mature sense of performance. These qualities fold such wild cards as the tongue-in-cheek celebrity send-up “Andy Warhol,” the psychedelic folk of “The Bewlay Brothers,” and exuberant jam of “Queen Bitch,” the album’s only overt rocker, neatly into the deck, making for the first of Bowie’s truly indisputable masterpieces.
Personnel: David Bowie (vocals, guitar, saxophone, piano); Mick Ronson (guitar); Rick Wakeman (piano); Trevor Bolder (bass); Mick Woodmansey (drums). Producers: Ken Scott, Ken Scott, David Bowie.