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After the freakish hard rock of The Man Who Sold the World, David Bowie returned to singer/songwriter territory on Hunky Dory. Not only did the album boast more folky songs ("Song for Bob Dylan," "The Bewlay Brothers"), but he again flirted with Anthony Newley-esque dancehall music ("Kooks," "Fill Your Heart"), seemingly leaving heavy metal behind. As a result, Hunky Dory is 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. Mick Ronson's guitar is pushed to the back, leaving Rick Wakeman's cabaret piano to dominate the sound of the album. The subdued support accentuates the depth of Bowie's material, whether it's the revamped Tin Pan Alley of "Changes," the Neil Young homage "Quicksand," the soaring "Life on Mars?," the rolling, vaguely homosexual anthem "Oh! You Pretty Things," or the dark acoustic rocker "Andy Warhol." On the surface, such a wide range of styles and sounds would make an album incoherent, but Bowie's improved songwriting and determined sense of style instead made Hunky Dory a touchstone for reinterpreting pop's traditions into fresh, postmodern pop music.
|Label:||Rhino / Parlophone|
Performance CreditsDavid Bowie Primary Artist,Guitar,Piano,Alto Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Vocals
Mick Ronson Guitar,Vocals,Mellotron
Ken Scott ARP,Spoken Word
Trevor Bolder Bass,Trumpet
Mick "Woody" Woodmansey Drums,Brushes
Michael Ronson Guitar
Richard Wakeman Piano
Technical CreditsDavid Bowie Composer,Phasing
Mick Ronson Arranger,String Arrangements
Biff Rose Composer
Ken Scott Producer,Engineer,Remixing
Paul Williams Composer
Brian Ward Cover Photo,Back Cover Photo
Terry Pastor Artwork,Paintings
Aisha Cohen Associate Project Coordinator
Mark Adams Photo Scanning,Retouching
Gavin O'Neill Photo Scanning,Retouching
Michael Ronson String Arrangements
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Bowie earned his place in the singer/songwriter pantheon with this record. Darkly cynical and sardonic it proved the perfect foil to the James Taylor, Carole King, John Denver and Cat Stevens records which dominated the genre. Like his contemporaries, Bowie is a child of the 60s, but he had long since abandoned the utopian conceits of that generation and thus showed that the singer songwriter genre was not so monolithic. Though his first two albums were not duds by any stretch of the imagination, Hunky Dory is light years ahead of them. Bowie's growth as a songwriter from the 1969 release of Space Oddity until the 1971 release of Hunky Dory is stunning and a testament to his talent. The album kicks off with his signature song "Changes" and progresses through several different selections that are held together solely through the genius of Bowie's madness. "Life on Mars?" is one of my three absolute favorite Bowie songs. It captures the suffocating angst of the period between adolescence and adulthood perfectly. Who among us has not sought escape in the world of the silver screen only to emerge even more disillusioned? "Quicksand" also captures Bowie's fascination with existential angst and alienation in a darker more abrupt way than anything from his first two albums. Whereas his contemporaries were proclaiming that love is the answer and knowledge can be gained as we all learn to love one another, Bowie proclaims that "Knowledge comes with death's release" thereby sounding the death knell to 60s idealism. Not every song hits the mark. I am not a big fan of "Andy Warhol,"Song for Bob Dylan" or "Kooks." Yet, everything seems to blend together here to comprise Bowie's first consistently good album and, arguably, his first masterpiece.
By the beggining of 70's, and before the "Ziggy Glam Era", Bowie's was already musically on top with this magic, mystic and georgeous "Hunky Dory", a true gem of the 70's pop-rock songwriter. A personal question: is Life on Mars the greatest song written ever? "Hunky Dory" is for everyone that loves MUSIC.
I can't believe this... you haven't buy it yet... go buy the record
This album is so spectecular!! Tracks 2, 4 and 11 are worth the purchase alone. I started my Bowie collection with this very cd and was pleasently suprised as to how solid the entire cd is.
There are some essential songs here but enough filler to keep it from being a classic album on its own. Its less than perfect but certainly worth owning.