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Hunky Dory

4.7 out of 5 stars 206 customer reviews

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The precursor to Bowie's masterpiece, The Rise And Fall of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars, Hunky Dory points in many of the same musical directions as Ziggy, with Bowie camping it up outrageously through a mixture of cabaret piano, coquettish lyrics and soaring vocals. After the hard rock "The Man Who Sold The World", Mick Ronson's guitar is turned down in favour of plenty of piano and acoustic guitar, as Bowie proves his mettle as a masterful singer-songwriter. Not a dull note is struck on the whole album, which flits from opener "Changes" to the vampy "Oh! You Pretty Thing" to the heart-wrenching "Life On Mars" with a seemingly impeccable ear for a tune. Flirty, sexy and irresistibly seductive. --Amber Cowan
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 11, 2008)
  • Original Release Date: June 11, 2008
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Virgin / EMI
  • ASIN: B00001OH7O
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (206 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,233 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Hunky Dory (1971.), David Bowie's fourth studio album

David Bowie is arguably one of the greatest solo artists of all time and his unique alternative style (notice the omission of the word 'pop') is timeless and has deservedly won him loads of fans from generation to generation. Bowie has changed his style from album to album and has produced music in loads of different styles whilst still maintaining his distinctive sound. 'Hunky Dory', Bowie's fourth studio album, released in 1971 is one of the greatest chapters in his career and is definitely one of his most powerful releases.

'Hunky Dory' is the second album in what I would describe as Bowie's classic run of five albums from 'Man Who Sold the World' to 'Diamond Dogs' when he was at his very best. 'Hunky Dory' though is one of his most unique releases. Bowie was not yet into his famous Ziggy Stardust glam rock period but neither is this album as strongly guitar based as its predecessor 'Man Who Sold the World'. 'Hunky Dory' instead is much more acoustic based with lots of piano thrown in but most of all is an album of unbelievable songwriting - songs don't come much better than those on this album. The album is really well structured as well - each side of the original LP has happy/upbeat songs for the most part but finishes off with a darker, emotive and more powerful song ('Quicksand' and 'Bewlay Brothers'). Bowie's backing group are also excellent on this album. Rick Wakeman's jazzy piano playing is there practically throughout and really characterises the album. Mick Ronson plays some great guitar solos on the album especially in 'Life on Mars'. Bowie's accomplished and often overlooked saxophone playing is also top notch on this album.
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By J. Brady on December 9, 2004
Format: Audio CD
As I delved deeper and deeper into Bowie's back catalogue I found this excellent album. I have never been a big fan of the hit single "Changes", which is admittedly a great song, perhaps a little overplayed, but there is so much more here. "Life on Mars" is perhaps Bowie's best song ever ( and check out the Mick Rock directed video of this song if you get a chance - it is just stunning, a wonderful visual compliment to an incredible song.)"Andy Warhol" is gentle folk rocker with twisted lyrics and a hilarious spoken intro. "Queen Bitch" is a great glam rocker, its lyrics a pointed barb at those who try too hard to dress up but totally miss the point of doing it. ( " God, I could do better than that!!" Bowie sings ... great lyrics on this one!) Overall this one covers many bases, from folk to rock to string enhanced ballads. ( Rick Wakeman, soon to join British prog rockers Yes, plays piano on a few songs on this album, and Bowie's guitarist, the criminally under-rated and incredibly versatile Mick Ronson, had a hand in the string arrangements.) If all you know of Bowie is his 80's hits like "Let's Dance" this album might come as a bit of a shock to you. But it's a great place to start digging into David.
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Format: Audio CD
"Hunky Dory" is the album where it really came together for David Bowie. Having tried his hand at psychedelic folk and bizarre proto-metal, Bowie found a way to put all these pieces together, backed by the soon-to-be-Spiders from Mars (guitarist Mick Ronson, bassist Trevor Bolder and drummer Mick Woodmansey) with keyboardist Rick Wakeman along. Thet album is a curious mix of folky whimsy, distorted guitar leads, and pop genius.

One thing that's certain is that the album is a lot more relaxed then its predecessor ("The Man Who Sold the World"), from the opening strains of piano-driven "Changes", it's clear this is something entirely different then the last record. But one thing that's consistent is enormously high quality of song writing, whether it is balladry ("Life on Mars?", one of Bowie's early greats), folkish (the lyrically brilliant "Quicksand") or proto-punk (Velvet Underground-inspired "Queen Bitch"). Along the way, tributes to Andy Warhol ("Andy Warhol"), Bob Dylan ("Song for Bob Dylan") and raising children ("Kooks") provide a stunning sense of diversity, mood and playfulness to the material.

Bottom line-- this album is pretty much essential listening. Fantastic from start to finish. Highly recommended.
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Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
Wow! This vinyl remaster is maybe the best sounding I've ever heard. The clarity, the depth, the dynamic is really incredible. I have been hearing things I've never heard on the album after all this time. Even some of Bowie's voice inflections on Changes came as a surprise on this recording. Much more 3 dimensional, more depth. The orchestrations throughout the album are much deeper and resonant. I also have the Ziggy vinyl and that also sounds as good. This is a Must buy!
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Format: Audio CD
This was where David Bowie's legend started to grow, and while the upbeat pop textures of HUNKY DORY would pale in comparison to the trashy glam rock of ZIGGY STARDUST, this album still rewrote the rules of pop music. "Changes" is quite possibly the most sophisticated pop song ever created, and even though it didn't make the top 40 in America, it's still one of Bowie's most memorable songs. And that's the way HUNKY DORY can be described: unapologetically pop. Songs like "Kooks", "Life On Mars", "Oh! You Pretty Things" are well-crafted jewels of keyboard-and-string-laden pop music that, in spite of the Bowie-ishness, are fine examples of what pop music should sound like. I guess before Bowie turned the amps up to 11 with ZIGGY STARDUST, he kept them low for HUNKY DORY. And that was a good idea, because can you imagine a song like "Changes" drenched in feedback? I don't think so. Even so, HUNKY DORY was basically the calm before the storm that was ZIGGY STARDUST.
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