Released in the UK on this day in 1971, Hunky Dory is the fourth studio album by David Bowie. It was his first release through RCA, which would be his label for the next decade. Hunky Dory has been described as having "a kaleidoscopic array of pop styles, tied together only by Bowie's sense of vision: a sweeping, cinematic mélange of high and low art, ambiguous sexuality, kitsch, and class". The album has received critical acclaim since its release and is regarded as one of Bowie's best works. The style of the album cover, designed by George Underwood, was influenced by a Marlene Dietrich photo book that Bowie took with him to the photoshoot.
Hunky Dory's lead track "Changes" became one of Bowie's best-known songs, and helped propel his career. Bowie said in 1999 "Hunky Dory gave me a fabulous groundswell. I guess it provided me, for the first time in my life, with an actual audience – I mean, people actually coming up to me and saying, 'Good album, good songs.' That hadn't happened to me before. It was like, 'Ah, I'm getting it, I'm finding my feet. I'm starting to communicate what I want to do. Now: what is it I want to do?' There was always a double whammy there."
In honor of the anniversary, check out the lyric video for "Changes" below, as well as a live version, and scroll down for the Mick Rock-directed video for "Life On Mars?"