With this album, Bowie really achieved one of the highest accolades he had ever or would ever receive in his life as an artist: having a cover of one of his songs appear in the soundtrack of Shrek 2.
Hunky Dory is the fourth studio album by English musician David Bowie, released on 17 December 1971 through RCA Records. Following the release of his 1970 album, The Man Who Sold the World, Bowie took time off from recording and touring. He settled down to write new songs, composing on piano rather than guitar as on earlier tracks. Following a tour of the United States, Bowie assembled a new backing band consisting of guitarist Mick Ronson, bassist Trevor Bolder and drummer Mick Woodmansey, and began to record a new album in mid-1971 at Trident Studios in London. Future Yes member Rick Wakeman contributed on piano. Bowie co-produced the album with Ken Scott, who had engineered Bowie's previous two records. Compared to the guitar-driven hard rock sound of The Man Who Sold the World, Bowie opted for a warmer, more melodic piano-based pop rock and art pop style on Hunky Dory. His lyrical concerns on the record range from the compulsive nature of artistic reinvention on "Changes", to occultism and Nietzschean philosophy on "Oh! You Pretty Things" and "Quicksand"; several songs make cultural and literary references. He was also inspired by his stateside tour to write songs dedicated to three American icons: Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan and Lou Reed. The song "Kooks" was dedicated to Bowie's newborn son Duncan. The album's cover artwork, photographed in monochrome and subsequently recoloured, features Bowie in a pose inspired by actresses of the Hollywood Golden Age. Upon release, Hunky Dory and its lead single "Changes" received little promotion from RCA who were wary that Bowie would transform his image shortly. Thus, despite very positive reviews from the British and American music press, the album initially sold poorly and failed to chart. It was only after the commercial breakthrough of Bowie's 1972 follow-up album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars that Hunky Dory itself became a commercial success, peaking at number three on the UK Albums Chart. Retrospectively, Hunky Dory has been critically acclaimed as one of Bowie's best works, and features on several lists of the greatest albums of all time. Within the context of his career, it is considered to be the album where "Bowie starts to become Bowie", definitively discovering his voice and style.
With this album, Bowie really achieved one of the highest accolades he had ever or would ever receive in his life as an artist: having a cover of one of his songs appear in the soundtrack of Shrek 2.
One of my favorite Bowie albums to date. Something about it is especially touching compared to later albumbs. It's tender and understated but also powerful. Bowie's undeniable talent comes through with a strength and softness like a velvet hammer. SO good.
Ziggy Stardust before he became Ziggy Stardust. Inventive, creative, and a joy to listen to. Best track: Life On Mars?
I'll admit it, I have never listened to Bowie. I know him more as a pop culture figure and couldn't name a song if you asked. Was pleased to know many songs on this, but didn't know who sang them. Incredible album!
An album that was certainly not up to the standard of singer-songwriters of the time, but it showed that Bowie was more than just a pop singer. (7/10) FT: Changes, Oh You Pretty Thing, Life On Mars, Queen Bitch
David Bowie has a unique sound all to his own and this album is a perfect encapsulation of that
Great album, I've listened to it numerous times and it's grown on me, maybe even being better than Ziggy Stardust. Changes is such a great opener, one of the best actually. I also learned that a riff from Andy Warhol was the inspiration for one in Metallica's Master of Puppets. Who knew?
My favourite Bowie album. Simple but excellent songwriting. Some lesser known gems on here like Eight Line Poem which has more emotion with only a piano and a guitar in the intro than a lot of other bands have in their entire back catalogue.
Just an incredible record. A landmark album.
This was an easy 5 for me. Been a Bowie stan for awhile now, and "Queen Bitch" is one of my all time favorite Bowie songs. Plus we got "Changes" and "Life on Mars," so come on we gotta give it up for this record. A lot of interesting subject matter on this one too. The tributes to Andy Warhol and Bobby D were cool to see. Also love hearing Bowie espousing occult teachings and getting freaky on "Quicksand." An all over good time album for me.
Feels like the last album he did for quite some time with obvious flashes of himself - Bewlay Brothers; Quicksand (both amazing) - in there, rather than whichever persona he had created. It's quite open about his influences, and it also feels like he's still trying on lots of different styles to see what fits. So you get some early glimpses of glam like Oh! You Pretty Things, and a VU homage/parody/rip-off, straight acoustic songs, show songs and all sorts of other stuff chucked into the mix. Also casually in the middle of it all one of the best songs of all time, and it opens with another all-time Bowie classic. Don't much care for Fill Your Heart or Andy Warhol, but I love everything else. It's a 5 alright.
Excellent album top to bottom with great music and clever lyrics describing life and society. Wide variety of themes and styles but it still builds momentum from one song to the next. Changes. Oh you pretty things, life on Mars, kooks, fill your heart. Andy Warhol.
I should really give this a 4 based on individual track ratings, but the peaks on here are elite. Probably 5th or 6th best Bowie album. Life On Mars aside, Queen Bitch has always been the highlight for me. 1. Changes - usually skip this because it's so overplayed but it's shit hot 9.5/10 2. Oh You Pretty Things - a highlight 9.5/10 3. Eight Line Poem - Doesn't do it for me 5/10 4. Life On Mars - possibly the best track of the 70's 11/10 5. Kooks - used to find this kind of annoying but it's harmless enough 7/10 6. Quicksand - forgot about this 8.5/10 7. Fill Your Heart - quirky 7/10 8. Andy Warhol - It's alright 7/10 9. Song For Bob Dylan - another classic 9/10 10. Queen Bitch - Top 10 Bowie tune 10/10 11. Bewley Brothers - Love it man such a unique track. Starving for me gravy - 9/10
Bowie was the greatest album artist of the 1970s, a period noted for great album artists (Stevie Wonder, Neil Young, The Clash, Led Zeppelin, Kraftwerk...), and Hunky Dory was his first album where he organically combined his varied artistic passions. In the credits, Bowie is credited as "The Actor" (though his films may make you think otherwise). As such, the listener senses a multiplicity to this album, that of numerous roles being adopted. Since this was Bowie's lifelong creative persona, and since this is the first album where he fully expounds on this iridescent philosophy. Indeed, the opening Changes serves as a manifesto. However, don't believe that this album, for all its theatricality, lacks tenderness and heart. The piano-led melodies are at turns bombastic and fragile, and the whole record demonstrates that Bowie settling into the role of Bowie was in pursuit of his muse. Indispensable, and yes, hunky dory.
I don't know why everyone hates "Kooks." "Kooks" rules. Without "Kooks," there is no Belle & Sebastian.
what a ride. this ablum is like forrest gumps box of chocolates (or paul mersons bag of Revels). you might get an absolute all time belter of a song, you might get a mime stuck in a phone box or you might get a song that didn't make it on to mary poppins. still throroughly enjoyable and it feels weird giving it a high score when there are songs on there that i would happily never hear again but the belters, well they're the reason everyone has such a hard on for Bowie.
Restoring the messy remains of classic rock with pop purpose lovingly swiped from Black sources, at its best this is a signpost for the road too infrequently travelled by proggers. At its worst, he proves susceptible to the same tendencies. In the middle, he pays tribute to Warhol and Dylan by name, but not to Lou Reed, even though Queen Bitch doesn't exist without the Velvets. Then again, two bouts of overt hero-worship is probably enough for one record. Freaks, kooks, and queers everywhere are addressed directly for maybe the first time ever. And how about those camped John Lennon vocals? Some of his best.
This is the first Bowie album we’ve heard that did not raise my appreciation for him in any way. I’m sure I’ll get hate for this but It just doesn’t speak to me lyrically or sonically in any way. I’d rather just hear the Beatles or the Kinks, as this album feels like worse version of their songs. “Queen Bitch” was a highlight for me.
Not a big Bowie fan but I appreciate the impact and influence that he had on so many artists. For me, this is fine but not really special.
this wasn't a bad album but this was TWO BOWIE ALBUMS IN A ROW and like the fourth overall so far... I've had enough of Bowie now thanks dickhead author. 2/5 just because the sheer amount of Bowie in this list is starting to annoy me.
6th Bowie album out of the first 411. Come. On. I don't think I have much effort anymore with Bowie reviews; my last one (which felt like last week) was for Aladdin Sane and I made commentary about how I felt like I could copy/paste my previous Bowie review.... and since that absolutely once again applies here, I'll just *literally* copy/paste, while replacing a few specifics. I stand by it: -------copy/paste------ Without looking, I'd bet I could copy/paste my review from _Aladdin Sane_. It's a catchy-at-first early 70s rock album that I slowly get tired of because I'm just not able to really be moved by Bowie's music. It's fine - starting with "_Changes_" which is perhaps his most famous cut and deservedly-so. It's admittedly timeless and very well-crafted musically ..... And the cut "_Life On Mars?_" is a nice diversion from the initial track - but then it just gets...Bowie-ish. And if you're a Bowie fan I can see how you'd like this but his voice is always a little distracting for me. On a positive note, aside from "Low" which feels to me like an Eno record that Bowie happens to sing on, this is probably one of the more-enjoyable or perhaps immediately-accessible records of his but I'll never voluntarily put it on. It feels like I always use his voice as a cop-out because there are plenty of artists who I listen to that I don't necessarily like the singer's voice and I like the music. It's as simple as this even if I can't articulate it well: I don't connect with his music on any emotional level - can just appreciate it from a distance. -----end self-plagiarism----- TL;DR: I don't hate his music, I just don't really *like* it or ever connect with it and after so many years don't really care that much. 5/10 2 stars
Aoife said it's good
Goddamn, I love me some Bowie. This one's a treat from start to finish. Stuff like Changes, Life on Mars? Andy Warhol, and Song for Bob Dylan. Great album, would rec.
Yes David yes
Wow, some classic hits, but loved the other tracks, still a little wierd but with a more folk background it was less jarring. Loved it!!
Chunky Tory: let the bodies pile high
Side 1 is so good. Probably timeless songs. It does fall off on side 2 but still best Bowie album.
who doesn't love to wrap themselves up in a nice Bowie album? Changes, life on Mars, what delight.
There's nothing wrong with kooks!
An incredible album that speaks for the time it was made
it's a five NEXT
i always appreciate some Bowie
For a long time this was my favorite Bowie album until I got swept up into the mythology of the Berlin Trilogy. I will say though that this may be the most enjoyable Bowie album and the most light hearted. He's definitely vibing on some Velvet Underground here.
Life on Mars?
masterpiece. Enjoyed the obvious hits but one that stood out, lyrically, was Quicksand.
in his prime - top album
cinco veces cinco
amazing album, one of Bowie's best. period.
Ett mästerverk. En klassiker. En personlig favorit.
Changes is a fantastic song. It's the platonic ideal of what an opening song should be on an album (The only one better is probably "Vicious" off of Lou Reed's Transformer, which Bowie produced a year later). It's full of charm and wit and transgression. It's Bowie on full charm, bombastic and triumphant. This album really could be Bowie's greatest hits for good reason. From the highs and majesty of "Life on Mars?" To the almost wailing, weird, mechanical "Andy Warhol" it is timeless. Like dream you never wish to wake from.
All I have to say is Changes, Oh! You Pretty Things and Life on Mars. It doesn't get much better than this. Bowie is a genius, and this is one of his best.
this is crazy, I was listening to this on the way to work this morning! perfect album, gets me choked up
an oldie but a goodie. its amazing. Changes to Oh! You Pretty Things is a classic 1-2 punch. Life on Mars. Kooks. Andy Wahol. You cannot hide from the hits!
One of my favourite Bowie lps
Absolutely slaps start to finish. Andy Warhol is the best Bowie song ever written. Fight me if you disagree.
Jak sam tytul wskazuje bardzo klawy albumik, czwarty w dorobku Bowiego i chyba albumik ktory zapewnil mu komercyjno artystyczny sukces, bo mimo tego ze juz space oddity osiagnelo wysokie pozycje listowe, ale nastepny album nie byl juz takim sukcesem ze wzgledu na swoje dosc surowe brzmienie, natomiast hunky dory powrocil do dosc popowo folkowego stylu w jakim zaczynal, o wyjatkowosci tej plyty swiadczy tez to, ze wiekszosc kawalkow zostala skomponowana na pianinie, a nie na gitarce jak w poprzednich pracach, wiec nadaje mu unikalnego cieplego klimatu, jako ze jest to trzeci albumim bowiowy na liscie, to o samym artyscie nie ma co pisac, co by juz nie bylo napisane, sporo utworow jest bezposrednio lub posrednio skierowana do swoich idoli, wiec warholowy song sie znadzie, welvetowy, czy tez dylanowy, album mozna podzielic na dwie czesci, pierwsza hity i bangiery ktore prawie kazdy slyszal chocby w radio, natomiast druga bardziej personalna, jak wspominalem glownie o idolach, chyba cala pierwsza czesc mam juz na plejce, to nic nie dodaje, ale jako ze jest to jeden z moich ulubionych bowiowych albumikow, to raczej calosciowo sluchany, wokale jeszcze niezdarte zyciem rokowym, pianinko o ktorym juz wspominalem i unikatowy klimat, nie czesto sie spotyka albumiki wygrane tak zarowno arytysycznie jak i komercyjnie
An undeniable classic. Always love listening to this.
excellent david bowie. favorited
Don't @ me
One of the best albums of all time
Some of the greatest songs ever recorded but the whole piece is ultimately let down by a couple of awful ones. It's David Bowie though so you have to forgive the experiments don't you?
Was impressed, but I guess not super surprised at the consistency and production quality of this album. I think it is mainly comparing this to some of the other albums from the list so far. There are the main tracks I have heard before, but even towards the end of the album like Queen Bitch stood out
Fantastic album. One of his best.
Awesome. Some killer vibes here
Please and thank you
Una locura de álbum, con una profundidad lírica extraña en su tiempo fuera del terreno cantautor. Me parece maravilloso.
Cha Cha Changes den ganzen Tag als Ohrwurm gehabt...
Would it be sacrilegious to say I might like this record better than Ziggy Stardust? It's a little more free, somehow, but maybe less consistent, too. Favourite track: "Life on Mars"
A classic, with interesting and well crafted songs
Šta reći na ovaj album? Definitivno IMHO je ovo njegov najbolji album bez premca, eventualno jako blizu može doći Low i The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. Album koji me uvijek podsjeća na lijepe trenutke, kadgod ga pustim i znači mi. Od toliko kvalitetnin i odličnih albuma gospodina Stardusta, eto ovaj mi je s vremenom isplivao na prvo mjesto. *ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!!!!*
Good listen upbeat, fun
Hi everyone, I'm Mark.
Peak Bowie. Doesn’t get better than this.
The first great Bowie album. First side is an absolute masterpiece. From the shocking "Changes" that marked his position as a leader than follower of trends. To the surreal nature of "Oh you pretty things" and "Life on Mars." To me, the two things that make Bowie stand out to the rest are his master utilization of the piano (where contemporaries rely on the guitar) and his clear expressionist voice, taking ideas or people of his life (e.g. Warhol, Dylan, his son) and giving them new life through emotional sound and songwriting.
This album is amazing. I can see why it is considered the beginning of Bowie's artistic success. Favorite songs are "Changes," "Oh! You Pretty Things," "Life on Mars?," "Kooks," "Quicksand," "Song for Bob Dylan," and "The Bewlay Brothers." If I had to choose my least favorite song, I guess it would be "Eight Line Poem," but I still enjoy that track.
Classic album. Huge leap in songwriting from his previous three albums featuring great melodies and driving instrumentation.
78. Não tem água, não tem ar, mas tem muito amor para dar. MotA: Life on Mars? "Still don't know what I was waitin' for / and my time was runnin' wild"
Big fan of David Bowie over here. Life on Mars is just so good! Hadn't heard much of this album otherwise, I'm glad to have had a listen through!
Fuck, I listen to this album all the time. Every single song is great, with some absolute classics among the first few songs on the album. Grabs you from the first song and takes you on an incredibly journey. The only bad thing about it is that the album is over before you know it 5/5
I enjoyed this album immensely, from start to finish. My fave songs are Changes, Oh You Pretty Things and Kooks. 5/5 stars.
A surprisingly strong album, given that this was much earlier Bowie. And better all around than some of the other stuff I've heard. While I love the experimental stuff on later records, this was just consistently strong songwriting, cohesive sounds, and great performances.
5 stars. I’m pretty familiar with this album. I lump it in with Bowie’s other great albums (Ziggy Stardust, Heroes, Station to Station). This one feels more like a collection of songs that some of my other favorites, but maybe I’m being too hard on him
never have anything bad to say about David, a great album!
I still remember first being introduced to this album by a friend, who left me a very badly produced cassette copy. I listened to it for years. I also remember being reintroduced to the album over another friend's hi-fi. I haven't left Hunky Dory since. As to the album itself, I often argue with myself as to whether it is Bowie's best. And my answer is that this deliberation is pointless; all I should be doing is enjoy the album. And enjoy it I do: while many of the albums featured here are full of fillers, or contain songs that all sound the same, Hunky Dory is an exercise in the exact opposite: a collection of unique songs that coalesce into an album. A great album that's been with me for years and years.
This was the album that got be into Bowie in the first place. Queen Bitch was the first Bowie song I ever heard that I was consciously aware of as being a Bowie song. This entire album is perfect. Obviously it's full of hits, but even the 'lesser' tracks shine. Quicksand and Andy Warhol are some of my most favorite tracks ever.
Classical Bowie album from the 70s - timeless, nothing to add
Moments of genius, and some weird stuff.
Competes with Ziggy Stardust for best Bowie album and therefore competes with every other album in existence for best album of all time. The album which launched Bowie not just as a great songwriter but a true artist, the poetry, musicality, taste and verve of this collection of songs is beautiful and unmatched.
Aw, Changes is always just such a heart-warmer ❤️ Haven't really listened to Bowie albums before, and am gonna have to change that. This was pure delight, from start to finish. Fav new track: Fill Your Heart, I think (such pretty piano) but loads of candidates.
The best bowie record after Low ;)
Look out, you rock and rollers. More melancholy than a lot of his other work, but still tempered with silliness. (Still fucking hate 'Kooks', though.)
Several on here I’ve never heard in addition to the super hits. Oh! you pretty things and Andy Warhol stand out and great songs new to me. It’s a 5
Hunky Dory is not quite as accessible as Ziggy Stardust (which was recorded around the same time) but it's arguably as good, if not better. It's Bowie's coming out album, and the songs and themes on display here set the blueprint for the super-stardom that was to come.
This album is essential. Changes, Queen Bitch, Life on Mars, I could go on and on. Bowie was a force! Oh Those Pretty Things is such a great song too. I love this album. I love Bowie, and I marvel at his genius.
Bowie de vinilo.
Absolutely wonderful. This is all very good and then you have Life on Mars which is on another level to almost everything. Loved Mick Ronson's guitar on Andy Warhol as well.
One of Bowie’s best, this album is has so many cracking tunes, changes, kooks
I love this album. I have it on vinyl.
I will probably give all of Bowie's albums 5 and this is no exception. The man was a master
the greatest glam album ever made. changes is a perfect glimpse into bowie's mindset and an incredible album opener. life on mars? is one of bowie's true masterpieces; it's an absolutely perfect song and one of the best pieces of music to come out of the 70s. kooks is a cliche, but interesting song. from what I've heard there seems to be a lot of hate towards quicksand in the bowie fandom, but it's one of my favorites off this album and by him in general.
Piano heavy, like if Kooks was its own album
Magnificent! Bowie in his '70s pomp.
I'd heard the hits, but no one told me how magical the rest of this album was. Easily now one of my all-time favorites. Bravo.
And then it transitions to this gorgeous minimalist guitar descant over the top of simple piano. It really like, crescendo's and then realises you might need a small break and slowly builds back up.