The Info List - Hunky Dory

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Hunky Dory
Hunky Dory
is the fourth studio album by the English musician David Bowie, released on 17 December 1971 by RCA Records.[1] It was his first release through RCA, which would be his label for the next decade. Hunky Dory
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] The album has received critical acclaim since its 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".[3] The style of the album cover, designed by George Underwood, was influenced by a Marlene Dietrich
Marlene Dietrich
photo book that Bowie took with him to the photo shoot.[4][5]


1 Production 2 Style and themes 3 Release and aftermath 4 Track listing

4.1 Bonus tracks (1990 Rykodisc)

5 CD releases

5.1 1980s and 1990s 5.2 2015 remaster

6 Personnel 7 Charts 8 Certifications 9 References

Production[edit] With new bass player Trevor Bolder
Trevor Bolder
replacing Tony Visconti, 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 contributor to the Ziggy phase, Ken Scott. The album's sleeve would bear the credit "Produced by Ken Scott
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".[6] Style and themes[edit] 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."[7] 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
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.[8] Release and aftermath[edit]

Professional ratings

Review scores

Source Rating

AllMusic [2]

Blender [9]

Chicago Tribune [10]

Encyclopedia of Popular Music [11]

Pitchfork 10/10[12]

Rolling Stone [13]

The Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Guide [14]

Spin [15]

Spin Alternative Record Guide 9/10[16]

The Village Voice A−[17]

Bowie had been without a recording contract when he started work on the album at Trident Studios
Trident Studios
on 8 June 1971.[18] RCA Records
RCA Records
in New York heard the tapes and signed him to a three-album deal on 9 September 1971, releasing Hunky Dory
Hunky Dory
on 17 December.[7][19] Supported by the single "Changes", the album scored generally favourable reviews and sold reasonably well on its initial release, without being a major success.[6] Melody Maker
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".[20] In the United States, Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
opined that " Hunky Dory
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".[21] However, it was only after the commercial breakthrough of Ziggy Stardust in mid-1972 that Hunky Dory
Hunky Dory
became a hit, climbing to number 3 in the UK[22] and remaining on the chart for 69 weeks.[23] In 1973, RCA released "Life on Mars?" as a single, which also made number 3 in the UK.[24] A reissue returned the album, in January 1981, to the British chart, where it remained for 51 weeks.[23] In 1998, Q magazine readers voted Hunky Dory
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 107th on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. In the same year, VH1
placed it 47th and the Virgin All Time Top 1000 Albums chart placed it at number 16. In 2004, it was ranked 80th on Pitchfork's Top 100 Albums of the 1970s. In 2006, TIME magazine chose it as one of the 100 best albums of all time.[3] Bowie himself considered the album to be one of the most important in his career. Speaking in 1999, he said: " Hunky Dory
Hunky Dory
gave me a fabulous groundswell. I guess it provided me, for the first time in my life, with an actual audience – I mean, people actually coming up to me and saying, 'Good album, good songs.' That hadn't happened to me before. It was like, 'Ah, I'm getting it, I'm finding my feet. I'm starting to communicate what I want to do. Now: what is it I want to do?' There was always a double whammy there."[25] Track listing[edit] All tracks written by David Bowie, except where noted.[26]

Side one

No. Title Length

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

No. Title Length

7. "Fill Your Heart" (Biff Rose, Paul Williams) 3:07

8. "Andy Warhol" 3:56

9. "Song for Bob Dylan" 4:12

10. "Queen Bitch" 3:18

11. "The Bewlay Brothers" 5:22

Bonus tracks (1990 Rykodisc)[edit]

No. Title Length

12. "Bombers" (Previously unreleased track, recorded in 1971, mixed 1990;[27] there is a very rare LP sampler issued by RCA prior to the release of the album with the GEM logo on the cover and "Bombers" appears followed by the linking cross talk that leads into "Andy Warhol," clearly indicating that Bowie had originally intended it to be the opening track on the second side [instead of "Fill Your Heart"]) 2:38

13. "The Supermen" (Alternate version recorded on 12 November 1971 during sessions for The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, originally released on Revelations – A Musical Anthology for Glastonbury Fayre in July 1972, compiled by the organisers of the Glastonbury Festival
Glastonbury Festival
at which Bowie had played in 1971[27][28]) 2:41

14. "Quicksand" (Demo version, recorded in 1971, mixed 1990[27]) 4:43

15. "The Bewlay Brothers" (Alternate mix[27]) 5:19

CD releases[edit] 1980s and 1990s[edit] Following its initial release on compact disc in the mid-1980s, Hunky Dory was rereleased in CD format in 1990, by Rykodisc/EMI, with the bonus tracks listed above. In 1999, the album was reissued by Virgin/ EMI
(7243 521899 0 8), without bonus tracks, but with 24-bit digitally remastered sound. This edition was re-pressed in 2014 by Parlophone/Warner Music Group, having acquired the Virgin-owned Bowie catalogue. 2015 remaster[edit] In 2015, the album was remastered for the Five Years 1969–1973 box set.[29] It was released in CD, vinyl, and digital formats, both as part of this compilation and separately.[30] Personnel[edit]

David Bowie
David Bowie
– vocals, guitar, alto and tenor saxophone, piano (in "Oh! You Pretty Things" (together with Rick Wakeman
Rick Wakeman
[31][32]), "Eight Line Poem" and "The Bewlay Brothers") Mick Ronson
Mick Ronson
– guitar, vocals, Mellotron, arrangements Trevor Bolder
Trevor Bolder
– bass guitar, trumpet Mick Woodmansey – drums Rick Wakeman
Rick Wakeman
– piano


Ken Scott
Ken Scott
– producer, recording engineer, mixing engineer David Bowie
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) George Underwood – cover art

Charts[edit] Album

Year Chart Peak position

1972 UK Albums Chart[33] 3

1972 Norwegian Albums Chart 33

1972 Australian Albums Chart 39

2016 New Zealand Albums Chart[34] 30

2016 US Billboard 200[35] 57

2016 US Top Catalog Albums (Billboard)[36] 4


Year Single Chart Peak position

1972 "Changes" Billboard Hot 100 66[37]

1973 "Life on Mars?" UK Singles Chart 3[33]

1975 "Changes" Billboard Pop Singles 41[37]


Organization Level Date

BPI – UK Gold 25 January 1982 (1982-01-25)[38]

BPI – UK Platinum 25 January 1982 (1982-01-25)[38]


^ Kevin Cann (2010). Any Day Now – David Bowie: The London Years: 1947–1974: pp. 219–25, 231 ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. " Hunky Dory
Hunky Dory
– David Bowie". AllMusic. Retrieved 13 March 2004.  ^ a b Josh Tyrangiel; Alan Light (26 January 2010). "The All-TIME 100 Albums". TIME. Retrieved 7 July 2014.  ^ Dimery, Robert (2005). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. London: Quintet Publishing. p. 254. ISBN 978-1-84403-392-8.  ^ "500 Greatest Albums: Hunky Dory
Hunky Dory
– David Bowie". Retrieved 4 February 2011.  ^ a b Carr, Roy; Murray, Charles Shaar (1981). David Bowie: An Illustrated Record. New York: Avon Books. pp. 7–11. ISBN 0-380-77966-8.  ^ a b Buckley, David (2000) [1999]. Strange Fascination – David Bowie: The Definitive Story. London: Virgin Books. p. 112. ISBN 0-7535-0457-X.  ^ Carr, Roy; Murray, Charles Shaar (1981). David Bowie: An Illustrated Record. New York: Avon Books. p. 44. ISBN 0-380-77966-8.  ^ "David Bowie: Hunky Dory". Blender (47). May 2006. Archived from the original on 23 August 2007. Retrieved 14 July 2016.  ^ Kot, Greg (10 June 1990). "Bowie's Many Faces Are Profiled on Compact Disc". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 14 July 2016.  ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). "David Bowie". The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.  ^ Wolk, Douglas (1 October 2015). "David Bowie: Five Years 1969–1973". Pitchfork. Retrieved 21 November 2015.  ^ Sheffield, Rob (18 March 1999). "David Bowie: Hunky Dory
Hunky Dory
(reissue)". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 3 October 2003. Retrieved 14 July 2016.  ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "David Bowie". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Guide. Simon & Schuster. pp. 97–99. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.  ^ Dolan, Jon (July 2006). "How to Buy: David Bowie". Spin. 22 (7): 84. Retrieved 14 July 2016.  ^ Weisbard & Marks 1995, p. 55. ^ Christgau, Robert (30 December 1971). "Consumer Guide (22)". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved 28 April 2013.  ^ Kevin Cann (2010). Any Day Now – David Bowie: The London Years: 1947–1974: p. 219 ^ Carr, Roy; Murray, Charles Shaar (1981). David Bowie: An Illustrated Record. New York: Avon Books. p. 40. ISBN 0-380-77966-8.  ^ Pegg, Nicholas (2004) [2000]. The Complete David Bowie. London: Reynolds & Hearn Ltd. pp. 265–72. ISBN 1-903111-73-0.  ^ Mendelsohn, John. "Hunky Dory". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 27 October 2014.  ^ Sheppard, David (February 2007). "60 Years of Bowie". MOJO Classic: 24.  ^ a b *Roberts, David (editor). The Guinness Book
of British Hit Albums, p71. Guinness Publishing Ltd. 7th edition (1996). ISBN 0-85112-619-7 ^ Buckley, David (2000) [1999]. Strange Fascination – David Bowie: The Definitive Story. London: Virgin Books. p. 624. ISBN 0-7535-0457-X.  ^ Chris Roberts interview with David Bowie
David Bowie
in Uncut, October 1999, Issue 29. ^ David Bowie. Hunky Dory
Hunky Dory
(RCA Records, 1971). ^ a b c d David Bowie. Hunky Dory
Hunky Dory
(Rykodisc, 1990). ^ " EMI
30th Anniversary 2CD Limited Edition (2002)". The Ziggy Stardust Companion. Retrieved 22 June 2008.  ^ FIVE YEARS 1969 – 1973 box set due September at davidbowie.com ^ David Bowie
David Bowie
/ 'Five Years' vinyl available separately next month at superdeluxeedition.com ^ http://www.uncut.co.uk/news/rick-wakeman-reveals-played-piano-david-bowies-oh-pretty-things-98931 ^ http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-38627868 ^ a b "UK Top 40 Hit Database". Archived from the original on 19 March 2008. Retrieved 23 June 2008.  ^ "The Official New Zealand Music Chart". Retrieved 2 October 2016.  ^ "((( Hunky Dory
Hunky Dory
> Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums)))". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 June 2008.  ^ " David Bowie
David Bowie
Chart History (Top Catalog Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 30 January 2016. ^ a b "((( Hunky Dory
Hunky Dory
> Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles)))". Allmusic. Retrieved 23 June 2008.  ^ a b "BPI Certified Awards". Retrieved 23 June 2008. 


Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8. 

v t e

David Bowie

Discography Songs Awards and nominations Filmography Tours

Studio albums

David Bowie
David Bowie
(1967) David Bowie
David Bowie
(1969) The Man Who Sold the World Hunky Dory The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars Aladdin Sane Pin Ups Diamond Dogs Young Americans Station to Station Low "Heroes" Lodger Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) Let's Dance Tonight Never Let Me Down Black Tie White Noise Outside Earthling Hours Heathen Reality The Next Day Blackstar

With Tin Machine

Tin Machine Tin Machine
Tin Machine
II Tin Machine
Tin Machine
Live: Oy Vey, Baby

Live albums

David Live Stage Ziggy Stardust: The Motion Picture LiveAndWell.com Live EP (Live at Fashion Rocks) Live Santa Monica '72 VH1
Storytellers A Reality Tour Live Nassau Coliseum '76 Cracked Actor (Live Los Angeles '74) Welcome To The Blackout (Live London ’78)


Christiane F. Love You till Tuesday Labyrinth The Buddha of Suburbia Lazarus


Baal Earthling in the City Live EP (Live at Fashion Rocks) The Next Day
The Next Day
Extra No Plan


The World of David Bowie Images 1966–1967 Changesonebowie The Best of Bowie Changestwobowie Rare Golden Years Fame and Fashion Changesbowie Early On (1964–1966) The Singles Collection RarestOneBowie The Deram Anthology 1966–1968 The Best of David Bowie
David Bowie
1969/1974 The Best of David Bowie
David Bowie
1974/1979 BBC Sessions 1969–1972 Bowie at the Beeb All Saints Best of Bowie Club Bowie The Collection The Best of David Bowie
David Bowie
1980/1987 iSelect Nothing Has Changed Legacy

Box sets

Sound + Vision Bowie Box Set The Platinum Collection Five Years (1969–1973) Who Can I Be Now? (1974–1976) A New Career in a New Town (1977–1982)

Concert videos

Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars Serious Moonlight Glass Spider A Reality Tour VH1

Promotional films

Love You till Tuesday Jazzin' for Blue Jean Bowie – The Video Collection Black Tie White Noise Best of Bowie


Ziggy Stardust Tour Diamond Dogs
Diamond Dogs
Tour Isolar Isolar II Serious Moonlight Tour Glass Spider
Glass Spider
Tour Tin Machine
Tin Machine
Tour Sound+Vision Tour It's My Life Tour Outside Tour Outside Summer Festivals Tour Earthling Tour Hours Tour Mini Tour Heathen Tour A Reality Tour


Iman (wife) Angie Bowie (first wife) Duncan Jones
Duncan Jones
(son) Berlin Trilogy Major Tom The Thin White Duke Jareth Omikron: The Nomad Soul Symphony No. 1 "Low" Symphony No. 4 "Heroes" "Bowie" The Sovereign David Bowie
David Bowie
Narrates Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf Toy We Were So Turned On: A Tribute to David Bowie The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions Heteropoda davidbowie Lazarus Death Art collection David Bowie
David Bowie

Part One