David Bowie’s Hunky Dory album was released in the United States on 4 December 1971.
It had been issued in the UK on 17 November.
Also in December, RCA released ‘Changes’ as an American single.
Although it wasn’t an immediate commercial success, it was critically praised. Billboard’s 28 November edition said in a review:
The British composer-performer comes up with a heavy debut for RCA, loaded with the kind of Top 40 and FM appeal that should break him through big on the charts. Along with vocals, Bowie plays piano, sax and guitar. Strong material, his own, for programming include ‘Changes’, ‘Oh! You Pretty Things’, and ‘Life On Mars?’ His ‘Andy Warhol’ material is also a standout.
Rolling Stone described Hunky Dory as Bowie’s “most readily enjoyable work since his Man Of Words/Man of Music album of 1969.”
With his affection for using intriguing and unusual themes in musical settings that most rock “artists” would dismiss with a quick fart as old-fashioned and uncool, he’s definitely an original, is David Bowie, and as such will one day make an album that will induce us homo superior elitist rock critics to race about like a chicken with its head lopped off when he learns that he’s a couple of pretentious tendencies he’d do handsomely to curtail through the composition of an album’s-worth of material. Until that time, Hunky Dory will suffice hunky-dorily.
Also on this day...
- 1973: David Bowie sees A Patriot For Me by John Osborne
- 1973: Recording: The Astronettes
- 1972: Recording: Aladdin Sane
- 1972: Press conference: New York
- 1969: Live: Three Tuns, Beckenham
- 1964: Live: Davie Jones and the Manish Boys, ABC Cinema, Stockton-on-Tees
Want more? Visit the David Bowie history section.