Since it’s BOWIE MONTH here on GIITTV, I thought it befitting that we make the next month of TGI’s ALL Bowie related, thus this week I ask you one simple question what is your favourite Bowie album?And Why?! My first encounter with the Spaceboy was in the mid 80s as a kid, my father took me to the London planetarium amongst the constellation of stars and public education films about space, up popped Bowie with Space Oddity ‘ground control to Major Tom’ indeed, he struck me as somewhat different to other musical artists even at that tender age, and that song has always stuck with me since….
In terms of albums it’s ‘Hunky Dory’ for me, mainly because of the effect it had on me as a kid.. You see my mum had it on vinyl, and along with that warm crackle the songs contained on it seemed somehow to open up new worlds, his song ‘Changes’ with its delicious piano motif that walks that strut arm in arm with a wonderfully expressive and philosophical vocal(‘Time may change me but I can’t trace time’) was both remarkably self reflective of Bowie’s constant morphing and summed up the times with Thatcher shuffling off and out of office finally! Plus it had the most catchy melody I’d ever heard, that you just couldn’t help singing along! While Oh you Pretty things was just as good it’s pianos dancing wondrously across Bowie’s flourishingly surreal yet piercing lyrical couplets and it’s storming chorus ‘let me make it plain gotta make way for the homo-superior’ is insanely catchy, some may cite Elton John as a compatriot of Hunky Dory, but I prefer Marc Bolan for it was only he who was able to gulp in the air in Bowie’s atmosphere and making such marvelously playful yet prescient pop music at the time…
Elsewhere there’s the quivering strum and strings of ‘Quicksand’ that hints Bowie’s fragile state of mind whilst rifling through World War two and Hollywood metaphorical imagery by the end it becomes another communal Bowie anti-anthem that he would later repeat the trick on Ziggy, the foot tapping 50s theatrehall of ‘Kooks’ and the brilliant glam fuzz stomp of ‘Queen Bitch’ that some may call the first Ziggy song proper and it wasn’t even on that album, but it threw a cheeky hint at what was to come…then there are tributes to songwriting influence Bob Dylan and artist Andy Warhol and the album center piece the glorious ‘Life on Mars’ an expansively song that still ranks up there as one of my favourites. While the haunting yet surreal epicness of ‘Bellway brothers’ hints at the psych pop of Syd Barrett. While the hippyish long-haired look David adopted on the cover artwork was somehow otherworldly, magical and different to a ten year olds eyes, Hunky Dory was his dramatic, playful and revelatory precursor to Ziggy album that for me it possess some of his best songwriting.
There may be more experimental Bowie albums like ‘Low’, more commercial ones like ‘Let’s Dance’ and arguably more important ones like Ziggy but for me Hunky Dory is THE David Bowie long player that personally had the most impact on my life, and thus will always be my favourite! What is yours?