Thursday, March 15, 2007

240. David Bowie - Hunky Dory (1971)

Track Listing

1. Changes
2. Oh! You Pretty Things
3. Eight Line Poem
4. Life on Mars?
5. Kooks
6. Quicksand
7. Fill Your Heart
8. Andy Warhol
9. Song for Bob Dylan
10. Queen Bitch
11. The Bewlay Brothers


This is the first of many albums by David Bowie to show up on this list, and what a great thing that is. Bowie has two amazing period in his life and each was marked by 3 albums. The first period starts with Hunky Dory, goes on to Ziggy Stardust and ends with Aladdin Sane. The second period are his Berlin albums, these were Station To Station, Low and Heroes. From the first period this one is my favourite album, although all of them are pretty near perfection.

Hunky Dory is a unique album which mixes what would be glam with folk elements and a lot of experimental stuff. People already knew Bowie's love of strange sounds when he released his hit single Space Oddity in 1969, but here he really lets lose whith all kinds of strange instrumentation and sounds, listen to the beginning of Andy Warhol or the end of Bewlay Brothers. Everyone seemed to suppose Bowie was a one hit wonder, they thought the same of Beck with Loser and Radiohead with Creep, but those are stories of the future! Hunky Dory came out and it was no hit, it needed Ziggy to bring it to attention. In the end it became a collection which has some of Bowie's most famous songs like Changes and the amazing Life On Mars.

It really shouldn't work as an album, there is such diversity here that this should have been a very hit and miss affair. Still, no song here is beneath brilliant and they are all united by a very Bowie sense of style. This makes an album where there is very little formal unity still feel like one piece , a complete whole which only leaves you wanting more. Everyone has their favourite years in music and mine would have to be 1971 to 1974 because of precious gems like this and like Electric Warrior reviewed yesterday as well as the surprises to come, from Roxy Music and Brian Eno to Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon or Lou Reed's Transformer. This is a brilliant album which doesn't deserve to live in the shadow of Ziggy Stardust. A tribute to Bowie's icons which sets out the influences which would shape the brilliant career to come. Buy it at Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

This is like a box of Quality Street:

1. Life On Mars
2. Andy Warhol
3. Bewlay Brothers
4. Changes

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

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
TV network VH1 placed it at number 47.

Quicksand starts with the following lines:

"I'm closer to the Golden Dawn, immersed in Crowley's uniform of imagery "

Crowley FTW !!!!!111!!!

Directed by Mick Rock, a "Promo" for Life On Mars, imagine yourself in 1971 and this comes onto your screen, WTF?: