Did you miss me last week? Let’s pretend that you did. While traipsing around the Northwest US on a working-vacation, I bought myself a stack of records — the most exciting of which is David Bowie’s Hunky Dory for a mere $8. I don’t need a pristine sleeve, so as long as the vinyl itself is in good condition. Take that, $20 Record Store Day reissues!
During my Alphabet Soup project almost two years ago, I talked about Bowie’s song “Queen Bitch,” saying that I should really get my hands on Hunky Dory because “David Bowie Record Dance Parties always need more material.” The sentiment stands!
First up, I need to talk about a reference that it took me, oh, 20 years to understand. I’ve now properly listened to the lyrics to “Life on Mars,” and I noticed the following lines:
Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow
Now the workers
have struck for fame
‘Cause Lennon’s on sale again
(Side notes: Let us acknowledge that this song is from 1971 and it has a music video. Also, the video serves as proof that he does not have two-different colored eyes, but rather a permanently enlarged pupil in one eye.)
Nineties teen girls, let us rewind back to 1994, and the time of Bush’s “Everything Zen, which contains the words:
Minnie Mouse has grown up a cow
Dave’s on sale again
Look, no one ever said I was on top of everything, all right? One can love David Bowie, and love the album Sixteen Stone, and still take over half of one’s life to notice songwriting references. I’m sure I’m not alone. Tell me I’m not alone.
Hunky Dory is also the album from which “Changes” comes. It is a glaring omission that I did not include the song in Alphabet Soup: The Letter C.
The pounding piano, the sax, the strings, the big chorus — It might be one the best songs ever.
I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence and
So the days float through my eyes
But still the days seem the same
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They’re quite aware
of what they’re going through
Thing is, Bowie’s never one to only watch culture change. Always so far ahead of everyone else, he can do exactly what inspires him and see who follows. He is not at the mercy of culture — he inspires it.
If you are wondering what older Bowie album you might finally buy, start here.
Oh! You Pretty Things
Eight Line Poem
Life on Mars?
Fill Your Heart
Song For Bob Dylan
The Bewlay Brothers
10 replies on “Record Machine: Hunky Dory by David Bowie”
Hunky Dory is great, but if we’re going to make an argument for what singular older Bowie album to buy, the answer is always The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
Another one I listen to weekly. “When the kids had killed the man, I had to break up the band.” I use that quote WAY too often because it applies to so much.
It’s a personal favorite, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard a bad cover of it. It’s a transcendent song.
I’ve been mulling around a ‘spiders from mars’ tattoo as a Bowie tribute for a couple of years, but I’ve never quite gotten a design I liked.
Uggggghhhh picking one is so hard! But you’re right. It’s honestly hard to go wrong with picking one.
Have you seen The Man Who Fell to Earth? It’s so odd, yet so wonderful.
I have! It’s a hard movie to sell to people. I’m not quite ready to show it my kid yet. I don’t think she’d get the unique charm.
My son saw part of it because he woke up one night when I was watching it. He fell back asleep in my bed. I’m sure that gave him some interesting dream-fodder.
Changes is my favorite David Bowie song. Yet I do not own this record.but that will be remedied.
Yeah, it took me forever too because I’ve noticed that I get a teensy bit snobby and want to have the “old” version and not some reissue. (But also frugal because the original issued ones are usually cheaper) 180 gram vinyl is pretty and nice and all, but there’s something about that old record sleeve smell.
And back in the days of expensive CDs, I bought Bowie’s Live in Philadelphia (which I talked about a few months ago) in its original form because $25 double albums were much better in $8 vinyl form. Now I just need to get my mitts on a turntuble that can make me some mp3s for a more portable version. I like having both.
I listen to this weekly, it seems. I still yearn for a frock coat and bippity boppity hat.
Even though, oh god, you can do better than that? ;)