David Bowie – Hunky Dory (1971)

Luc Ramshaw

Music Business Student at Bristol University, aged 19

Maybe it’s because of my age, but David Bowie has never appealed to me, and I’d never considered him as one of the greats. Maybe because I hadn’t listened to him enough or maybe it just wasn’t my thing. The first track of the album ‘changes’ had a nostalgic feel because of its use in the film Shrek. An instant win for me. Bowie is undoubtedly a good singer and has a unique voice which sometimes sounds almost out of tune but never sounds like it is out of place. I believe most of the magic in his music is created by the composition of the instruments and without the dramatic pianos and drums, his voice would not be as prominent. ‘Life on Mars?’ is a great example of this, where my focus was taken away from Bowie’s voice and directed towards the creative piano stabs and emotional drums. 

I found that ,any of the tracks on the album took me through a journey from start to finish, each track having its own ups and downs, taking different speeds and styles throughout each track individually. The album feels creative and lots of the songs seem that they don’t belong on the same album. For example, ‘Andy Warhol’ and ‘Song for Bob Dylan’ are starkly different. For me, this created a good sense of diversity, and the album didn’t become boring as each song took me on its own different journey from start to finish. 8/10

Gail Deal

Performing Arts Teacher

I bought this album when I was at college and already a big Bowie fan. It came out before “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” but gained commercial recognition after Ziggy’s release.

The front cover echoed the pose of a female Hollywood film star and hinted at the musical references to American pop culture icons in the songs such as ‘Andy Warhol’ and ‘ Song for Bob Dylan’. ‘Kooks’ was written for Bowie’s son Duncan born in May 1971.

We used to sing along to the tracks and dance around the studio. The lyrics were always important on Bowie albums and we would learn them by heart so that by the time we saw him play live, we could sing every word. And later, the lyrics were there to be perused with all their political and cultural reference


These lines from ‘Quicksand” are particularly poignant as I reconsider the album, after Bowie’s death. “I’m not a prophet or a stone age man, Just a mortal with the potential of a Superman I’m living on”

Only time will tell if he will live on through his music. Something tells me that he will.

Kingston link:

David Bowie performed at The Toby Jug (February 1972) and Kingston Polytechnic (May 1972) as part of his Ziggy Stardust Tour

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