In 1970, David Bowie was dropped from his label after the sales of The Man Who Sold the World and David Bowie were less than desirable. So he took his recordings for his next album, and, upon hearing the tapes in early 1971, RCA immediately signed Bowie to a record deal, releasing the album only two months later.
The album, Hunky Dory, is an oft forgotten one. The most well known track from it, “Changes”, only gets occasional radio play, and the next most well known, “Life on Mars?” hasn’t been the subject of any sort of radio play since around 1973. The album is a crucial one for Bowie, though. Musically, Bowie rounds up where he’s been with the singer-songwriter pop gems “Kooks” and “Fill Your Heart”, where he’s going “Queen Bitch” and “Oh! You Pretty Things”, and what’s getting him there, “Andy Warhol”, “Song for Bob Dylan”.
The album is a bit broad–lots of ideas, all over the place–but it’s unified by Bowie’s singular voice, and operatic style. It may not be the “definitive” David Bowie album, but there’s excellent work representing nearly every album until from his debut through Young Americans, and hints of what comes after that.