Hunky Dory is the fourth album by English singer-songwriter
David Bowie, released by RCA Records in 1971 (see 1971 in
music). It was Bowie’s first release through RCA, which
would be his label for the next decade.
Supported by the single “Changes”, the album scored
generally favourable reviews and sold reasonably well on its
initial release, without being a major success.
Melody Maker called it “the most inventive piece of song-
writing to have appeared on record in a considerable time”,
while NME described it as Bowie “at his brilliant best”.
Stateside, Rolling Stone opined “Hunky Dory not only
represents Bowie’s most engaging album musically, but also
finds him once more writing literally enough to let the
listener examine his ideas comfortably, without having to
withstand a barrage of seemingly impregnable verbiage before
getting at an idea”.
However, it was only after the commercial breakthrough of
Ziggy Stardust in mid-1972 that Hunky Dory became a hit,
climbing to #3 in the UK charts.
In 1973, RCA released “Life on Mars?” as a single, which
also made #3 in the UK.
In 1998 Q magazine readers voted Hunky Dory the 43rd
greatest album of all time, while in 2000 the same magazine
placed it at number 16 in its list of the 100 Greatest
British Albums Ever. In 2003, the album was ranked number
107 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest
albums of all time. In the same year, the TV network VH1
placed it at number 47 and the Virgin All-Time Top 1000
Albums chart placed it at position 16.