5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 11 December 2014
This is a review more of the remastering than the album. Needless to say it is one of Bowie's "great" albums - the one so many (including me) bought after having bought "Ziggy Stardust" and "Aladdin Sane", even though it was released before those two, in 1971. Bowie "broke real big" in 1972-73 and many bought "Hunky Dory" in the summer of 1973 as a virtual "new" album, on the back of the hit single "Life On Mars", released then to cash-in on Bowie's glam-stardom.
Anyway, back to this 1999 remaster. Bowie remasters are a funny thing. The "strange ones in the dome" who populate the Steve Hoffman remastering forums view them as the Anti-Christ and swear by either the original RCA masters (which in my view are unlistenable) or the RYKO ones dating from 1990, which, in some cases, are acceptable. Personally, I find some albums better in the RYKO remasterings ("Low", "Young Americans" and "Heroes", for example) and some better in the 1999 remasterings. "Pin Ups" is one. "Hunky Dory" is another.
There is such superb clarity on this remastering, possibly due to the omnipresence of acoustic guitars on the tracks. Their sound is crystal clear, they cut like a knife. The acoustic/electric interplay on "Queen Bitch" is stunning here, as is "Song For Bob Dylan" and the understated majesty of "The Bewlay Brothers"
This is one Bowie album I always turn to the 1999 version for.
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on 11 July 2011
I guess the test of true song writing ability is when songs can sound as good today as when they were released 40 years ago (Hunky Dory was released in 1971). What can I say? One look at the track listing is enough to see how many classic Bowie songs are here - `Changes', `Oh! You pretty things', `Life on Mars?', `Kooks', `Andy Warhol', `Queen Bitch'. This is not to say the other songs aren't classics, but anyone who embraced Bowie whilst they were growing up will be as familiar with these tracks as the alphabet.
So what does `Hunky Dory' Remastered (released in 1999) give us that's new? To be honest, I'm not sure! I'm familiar with Bowie probably most on record and tape. That probably gives me an age of 100 or something. What's my point? Well, you obviously don't get the scratches and hiss of the aforementioned medium, but you still get the same songs. Classics. If that makes me a heathen then I'm guilty as charged.
`Hunky Dory' is a listening delight, remastered or otherwise. Stand out tracks? I'm going to pick out one amongst the many. This probably changes on a daily basis, but with a gun to my head I'd have to say `Queen Bitch'. It's got a killer riff, with a rock staccato feel that leaves you bouncing off the walls.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 22 May 2014
This is the first of the great trio of Bowie albums that continued with Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane. I can't think of a mainstream artist who has produced three such perfect examples of their art in succession. Ziggy Stardust is generally accepted as the best of the three, but I disagree. For me Hunky Dory was the pinnacle of Bowie's songwriting ability. It is a quieter more sophisticated album than Man Who Sold The World.
I first saw Bowie live in Harlow, Essex, somewhere between Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust. I have memories of Bowie playing the first half of the set at the piano featuring much of the material from Hunky Dory before unveiling the Spiders for an electric Ziggy set for the second half. This album attacks the senses like virtually no other. It has a feel of greatness about it. Great albums have no weaknesses. This is a great album. For sometime I never got past the first side of the album - it was that good. I continually played Changes, Oh You Pretty Things, Life on Mars, Kooks and then went back to play them again. It was only later on that I realised that there were gems on side two as well. Songs of passion - the art school feel of Andy Warhol and Song for Bob Dylan and The Bewley Brothers was just one of those songs that confused but amazed.
Above all the thing that makes Hunky Dory a great album is the atmosphere it emits. Bowie has hauled himself back from the edge of insanity as suggested by the Man Who Sold The World and turned into the consummate songwriter - more outward going and less introverted and ready to move into the next phase of his life - a strange spaceman ready to change the rock map for ever. I almost look upon Hunky Dory as Bowie's folk album.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Until recently I only had a Bowie compilation CD in my collection (Roxy Music were my 70s idols) but I have rectified that with Hunky Dory. The two massive hits here are 'Changes' and 'Life on Mars?' but in no way do these classics prepare for you for the other British folky hippy delights on this album. There's a real mix of styles here and Rick Wakeman's piano playing is great. I love 'Oh You Pretty Things' and I can't help wondering if any baby ever had a more touching and charming song written for him than 'Kooks'. Buy the CD rather than the MP3 download as you get the booklet with all the lyrics plus the utterly bizarre Pharaoh photos and the hand-written track listings on the back.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 January 2015
Superb, and rather beautiful album, with some of Bowie's best ever songs. The album belongs to Mick Ronson and Rick Wakeman as much as to Bowie himself, and Trevor Bolder's bass is gorgeously melodic. Funny, engimatic, strange pop art with an almost baroque touch. "Ziggy" gets more attention - and it is a great record, but for me he was never more interesting, adventurous and playful. For real music lovers.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 May 2015
In my top 2 of greatest Albums of all Time, and containing some of the greatest songs of all time, Starman, Changes, Oh you pretty things, life on mars. I got this album for my 13th Birthday and instantly fell in love with the album which wasnt hard as this was 1980 the decade of the worlds worst songs. (even bowies album of the 80's was not up to much). The songs never die and sound as good today as they did back then. I have seen him in concert several times and every true fan (whilst interested in his new stuff) is always waiting for him to sing his songs from this era. It must bug the hell out of him but Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust will be the greatest albums ever made and NO-ONE not even bowie himself and top these albums. He has come close a few times. As a rock god he managed to create perfection more than once with some brilliant and unique albums which not one else (i can think of) has ever managed.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is a quite simply a magnificent album which sounds as good today as when it was first released in 1971. There are so many tracks which would stand out from any album all in one place here; the magnificent Life on Mars, the haunting and melodic music of Bewlay Brothers and Quicksand, the prescient and catchy Changes and the Velvet Underground pastiche of Queen Bitch - which just works wonderfully, and the loving and gentle Kooks, written for Bowie's son Zowie, who is now of course the highly successful film director Duncan Jones.
A great album - one of Bowie's best - and that is praise indeed!
If you don't have this album or haven't updated yet from vinyl or cassette - you really should do it now.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Great songs. Shades of rock but this cd is heavily folk biased. A perfect companion to SPACE ODDITY cd. Space Oddity
The following info is designed to help new-comers to point them in the right direction for their own tastes.
The No. * rating is very personal to me and these ratings have never really changed in all the 33 years I've been listening to Bowie. They are how I rate the whole LP/cd compared to other BOWIE output.
During 1990 and 1991 EMI released digitally remastered cds under the title of "SOUND + VISION". Most had bonus tracks... some tracks are poor but some are worth getting.
The following list is not definitive but points out the most accessible cds to newbies of Bowie.
1967 DAVID BOWIE - try getting the DELUXE EDITION, or DERAM ANTHOLOGY (not as complete but a good collection). 60's pop / whimsical / musical hall / very folk. 2*
1969 SPACE ODDITY - Electric folk / folk / soft rock - just like Hunky Dory 5*
1970 - THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD - Rock / hard rock - not unlike early Black Sabbath. 4*
1971 - HUNKY DORY - Folk / folk rock - just like Space Oddity 5*
1972 - The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (aka ZIGGY STARDUST) Rock / glam rock 4*
1973 - ALADDIN SANE - Rock / glam rock 3.5*
1973 - PIN-UPS - 60's cover versions in rock / glam style. 2*
1974 - DIAMOND DOGS. An Orwellian style, bleak lyrics, up-beat rock and shades of soul hidden within. 5*
1974 - DAVID LIVE - The soul is starting to come thru. Not rock, more funk in style but without the funk... confusing !! 1*
1975 - YOUNG AMERICANS - Soul / funk 3*, but every time I play it I think hang on, this is 5* (confused again !!). Try and get the version with, "Who can I be now?", "it's gonna be me" & "John, I'm only dancing, again".
1976 - STATIONTOSTATION - The start of electronics can be heard here. Soul / soft rock 5* at least.
1977 - LOW - and enter BRIAN ENO. This is my fave LP. Bleak, depressing, alienation and very electronic with quiet rock . 5* at least. Also see "Heroes".
1977 - "HEROES" - and BRIAN ENO. This is one of my fave LPs. Bleak, depressing, alienation and very electronic with quiet rock . 5* at least. Also see LOW.
1978 - STAGE - live and brilliant but with fade-outs and gaps between songs. 4*. Life is tried to be pumped into some tunes which are, for me, left more barren and desolate.
1979 - LODGER - and more BRIAN ENO. A right mishmash of sounds and tunes. Took me years to get into this LP. 3* Pop (in a word).
1980 - SCARY MONSTERS & SUPER CREEPS - and this is where I came in. Rock with hints of funk, depression and it contains "Up The Hill Backwards"... my all-time fave single (strange choice I know, especially when I adore Bohemian Rhapsody)
1983 - LET'S DANCE. Disco-esque / soft rock. 4*. This is Bowie's biggest selling LP.
1983 - ZIGGY STARDUST THE MOTION PICTUE. Rock/glam 3.5*
1984 - TONIGHT. See LET'S DANCE but only 1*.
1987 - NEVER LET ME DOWN - see TONIGHT but 2*
1989 91 - TIN MACHINE 1 & 2. Rock. Both 3*
1993 - BLACK TIE /WHITE NOISE Rock/pop with hints of modern R&B. 2*
1993 - THE BUDDHA OF SUBURBIA. Pop 3*
1995 - 1.OUTSIDE. God I was wetting myself to hear this when I heard it was the return of BRIAN ENO. God I was disappointed. It's a story (a murder mystery) with only patches of brilliant music. 1*
1997 - EARTHLING. Not knowing what drum & bass is, the making of this cd documentary kept referring to it an D&B. I never got into it. 2*
1999 - HOURS... - pop / soft rock 5*
2002 - HEATHEN - pop / soft rock 4*
2003 - REALITY. Omg, it's 10 years old now. I hadn't realised he had a new cd out upon my return after a holiday. So it went into the shopping trolley my wife was pushing and it has never been very far away from the cd player. For me, I can hear shades of ALADDIN SANE. Pop / rock 5*
2013 - THE NEXT DAY. 4* Hard, Heavy Rock with a few lighter moments.
on 1 November 2009
David Bowie's 1971 album "Hunky Dory", what a fantastic album, even though most the songs are ballads, this is a nice soulful lovely album to listen to. The singles include "Changes" & "Life On Mars?"
I will rate the tracks and explain why:-
1. Changes 10/10 - This is the 1st ballad of the album. This song is very well known. The piano work in this song is really great and the chorus is really fast paced.
2. Oh! You Pretty Things 10/10 - the 2nd ballad on the album. This song is just wow really, lovely piano work, lovely lyrics, lovely chorus, everything is just fantastic.
3. Eight Line Poem - 10/10 - This song is the 3rd ballad on the album. This song really shows emotion and lyrics. This song doesn't really have a chorus, just a8 line poem like the title says really.
4. Life On Mars? 10/10 - This is the 4th ballad on the album. This is my personal favourite song on this song. The lyrics are fantastic, the chorus is sooo good, this song has a great guitar solo in the middle.
5. Kooks 10/10 - This song isnt what i would call a ballad, its more pop then a ballad, the song is about the birth of Duncan Jones (born 1971) David Bowie's son. It's a nice paced song with lovely lyrics and a nice chorus.
6. Quicksand 10/10 - This is the 5th ballad on the album. This song is really lovely, the lyrics and piano work is really good, and i love the end of each verse "I'm sinking in the quicksand of my thought and I ain't got the power anymore".
7. Fill Your Heart 10/10 - This is the 6th ballad on the album. This song isn't a too bad track. The lyrics are really thoughtful and emotional. Really is a good track to listen to.
8. Andy Warhol 8/10 - This song is about Andy Warhol, it isn't a too bad song, but i would say that this song can be a bit boring, cos the chorus is sang all the time. I would say this is the worst song on the album.
9. Song For Bob Dylan 10/10 - This is the 7th ballad on the album. This song is good i think, the piano work, the lyrics, the chorus, its just brilliant, worth a listen too.
10. Queen Bitch 10/10 - This song is really rocky. This song has a alot of guitar in it, and is really good to listen to. Great lyrics, great chorus, great guitar.
11. The Bewlay Brothers 10/10 - This is the 8th and last ballad on the album. This song has great lyrics & Chorus. This is a guitar ballad.
In conclusion, i think this album is fantastic if you like ballads a lot and 70s music. This song has 8 ballads and 3 non-ballad songs. This album is worth buying, you be singing to it and everything, if your a Bowie fan, this album si for you, to complete the collection.
David Bowie has always worked with a larger musical canvas than most of his contempories that has incorporated a host of often diverse styles. However, on occasions this has resulted in perhaps a certain (maybe justified) accusation of David appearing maybe a touch pretentious, or at the very least a little contrived. However, what i find so appealing about 'Hunky Dory' is the fact that it very much lacks many of those grand designs and the sound is much related to that of folk, certainly in its musical origins, and a much more mellow piano based sound where greater importance appears to be placed on melodic and lyrical matters. It's certainly a lot more varied in style than many of the singer-songwriters output of the time (early seventies) but it does contain those common elements (melody, lyrical importance) that would become less fundamental to David as the decade progressed.
The emphasis on lyrics found on much of the album is not too far removed from the more densely detailed style of Bob Dylan. David even names a song after him (Song For Bob Dylan) as a means as a tribute, alongside his other musical favourites Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground - the rocker 'Queen Bitch' being a terrific tribute to the Velvets.
The lyrics to the opening track 'Changes' is an indication that even at this stage in David's career he didn't intend staying in one place too long.
In retrospect 'Hunky Dory' is a clear indication of what David Bowie was all about as many of the elements found here would be a template for what was to come in the future - it certainly laid the foundations for Ziggy Stardust, although 'Hunky Dory' also maintained a mellow folk influence which didn't feature on David's follow up release. Ziggy was the fully realised version of what David was working towards here although Ziggy was a lot more of a theatrical concept, which although showed David working a lot more to his own visual/theatrical ideals, ultimately lacks some of the musical depth/substance found here.
For me 'Hunky Dory' is a lot more satisfying - it is more deeply stimulating both lyrically and melodically, and perhaps even more enduring than much of his later work (certainly in a more conventional sense), including 'Ziggy ....'. It's David very much stripped of his later bombast, and in being so it is possibly more easy to relate to on more general terms and by more of the general public.