The song’s legacy
‘Changes’ was performed during several of Bowie’s tours: Ziggy Stardust, Diamond Dogs, Station To Station, Sound + Vision, Hours, Heathen and Reality.
David Bowie performing ‘Changes’ live at the Hammersmith Odeon on 3 July 1973, the final Ziggy Stardust Tour date:
It turned into this monster that nobody would stop asking for at concerts: ‘Dye-vid, Dye-vid – do Changes!’ I had no idea it would become such a popular thing.
Sound + Vision box set
‘Changes’ lent its name to three of Bowie’s compilation albums: ChangesOneBowie (1976), ChangesTwoBowie (1981), and ChangesBowie (1990). The title of the 2014 compilation Nothing Has Changed, although a phrase taken from Heathen opener ‘Sunday’, was perhaps also chosen to call to mind Bowie’s 1971 song.
Although Bowie dropped the song from his live set during much of the 1990s, it was referenced on ‘You’ve Been Around’ on 1993’s Black Tie White Noise, with its war cry “Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-change!”
In February 1993, to promote the album, Bowie was interviewed by the author Hanif Kureishi for Interview magazine. At the end of their encounter, Kureishi asked Bowie if two Hunky Dory songs – ‘Changes’ and ‘Fill Your Heart’ – might be included in the forthcoming BBC adaptation of his novel The Buddha Of Suburbia. Bowie agreed not only to that, but signed up to create the show’s soundtrack.
‘Changes’ was included in the soundtrack of the 2004 film Shrek 2, credited to Butterfly Boucher featuring David Bowie. Boucher sent her version to Bowie when A Reality Tour stopped at Nassau in the Bahamas on 20 December 2003.
A little background – Butterfly Boucher, A very good up-and-commer from Oz, sent her recording of ‘Changes’ over to me at the Paradise Island gig. She had already been commissioned by SHREK 2 to provide a song.
They then asked me if I would be willing to sing it with her. I went into the local studio there at the end of December 2003, (the famous Compass Point where I incidentally recorded once with Tin Machine) with Tony Visconti and I put down a vocal harmony against Boucher’s vocal.
davidbowie.com, 7 May 2004
Bowie duetted on ‘Changes’ with Alicia Keys on 9 November 2006 at the Black Ball charity concert in New York. This was his final live appearance.
‘Changes’ charted for the first time in the UK on 15 January 2016, following Bowie’s death. It reached number 49.
The song featured in Bowie’s 2015 musical Lazarus, arranged by Bowie and Henry Hey. During the show’s first run it was performed by Cristin Milioti, who recorded it for the Original Cast Recording album.