David Bowie- Hunky Dory- David Bowie, Mick Ronson

Hunky Dory, David Bowie’s December 1971 fourth album, is a case study in the time-tested entertainment business axiom that talent is simply not enough to succeed. Hunky Dory had actually been reviewed widely and well in the UK and the US music press, but only received limited FM radio airplay on about a half dozen American radio stations when progressive rock was ghetto-ized as “underground” in only  a handful of the country’s biggest cities. Hard to believe when reading all of the revisionist raves now, but understand this: Hunky Dory was a commercial flop, so much so that it failed to even make the Billboard Top 200 sales chart. The late great David Bowie joined me here In the Studio  for the tale, as did his original wingman, guitarist Mick Ronson, for the scoop on “Changes”,”Andy Warhol”, and “Life on Mars?”.

All of the impressive sales stats and all-time-greatest lists that get bandied about concerning Hunky Dory  five decades later came only AFTER David Bowie’s next album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars , invaded the rock world like Orson Welles’ storied Halloween radio broadcast. And even that game-changing landmark record stumbled out of the starting blocks, as well. So when you read that Hunky Dory reached #3 in sales in Bowie’s native UK, it is vital that you understand that it was only after new fans of ...Ziggy Stardust…, ravenous for more, went back to purchase Hunky Dory  a year or more after its original release. And David Bowie’s contention here that “The Seventies were the beginning of the 21st century…” is a full-blown David Doctrine not to be missed in this classic rock interview. –Redbeard