I saw a picture of David Bowie with Iggy Pop and Lou Reed, labeled as the “Unholy Trinity of Punk”. I don’t know about that, but there are similarities in style, and each had a remarkable impact on the evolution of music in the 1970s. Of the three, none reached greater heights than David Bowie, and his album “Hunky Dory”, today’s selection, was an important step in that movement. Rated as the #88 album on Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, there is a lot to like here.
The album opens with one of his most famous songs, “Changes”, immortalized by multiple generations in their respective struggles against authority. I also really love the next song “Oh! You Pretty Things”, a beautiful ragtime-sound that echoes with Bowie’s unique voice. “Life on Mars?” is another gorgeous ballad, and the next song, the quirky tune “Kooks” just continues the greatness of this album. Paying homage to Andy Warhol and Bob Dylan, among others, Bowie’s unique songwriting and creative instincts really shine on this album. And since I mentioned Mr. Reed, I do think “Queen Bitch”, another of my favorites on this album, has a very Reed-esque sound to it, both in guitar and vocal.
David Bowie always surrounded himself with great musicians, with guitarist Mick Ronson his primary accomplice on this album. On a strange continuation from yesterday’s blog, I did see that Rick Wakeman, who had joined Yes for “Fragile”, also played keyboards on this album. The musical styles of punk/alternative couldn’t have been more different than the world of classic rock, but the social circles they kept were much tighter, sharing musicians, ideas, and girlfriends along the way. Just listen to the beginning of “Song for Bob Dylan”, it could have just as easily appeared on “Sticky Fingers” by the Rolling Stones.
Good music is good music, regardless of style, fashion, or some forced categorization, and “Hunky Dory” is a great album, one that I’m glad I listened to multiple times in its entirety.