Changes (David Bowie song)

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"Changes"
Single by David Bowie
from the album Hunky Dory
B-side"Andy Warhol"
Released7 January 1972
Format7" single
RecordedTrident Studios, London
April 1971
GenreGlam rock
Length3:33
LabelRCA Records
2160
Writer(s)David Bowie
Producer(s)Ken Scott, David Bowie
David Bowie singles chronology
"Hang on to Yourself"
(1971)
"Changes"
(1972)
"Starman"
(1972)
Hunky Dory track listing
"Changes"
(1)
"Oh! You Pretty Things"
(2)
Alternative cover
 
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"Changes"
Single by David Bowie
from the album Hunky Dory
B-side"Andy Warhol"
Released7 January 1972
Format7" single
RecordedTrident Studios, London
April 1971
GenreGlam rock
Length3:33
LabelRCA Records
2160
Writer(s)David Bowie
Producer(s)Ken Scott, David Bowie
David Bowie singles chronology
"Hang on to Yourself"
(1971)
"Changes"
(1972)
"Starman"
(1972)
Hunky Dory track listing
"Changes"
(1)
"Oh! You Pretty Things"
(2)
Alternative cover

"Changes" is a song by David Bowie, originally released on the album Hunky Dory in December 1971 and as a single in January 1972. Despite missing the Top 40, "Changes" became one of Bowie's best-known songs. The lyrics are often seen as a manifesto for his chameleonic personality, the frequent change of the world today, and frequent reinventions of his musical style throughout the 1970s.[1] This single is cited as David Bowie's official North American debut, despite the fact that the song "The Man Who Sold the World" was released in North America two years prior.[2] This is the last song Bowie performed live on stage before his retirement from live performances at the end of 2006.[3]

Music and lyrics[edit]

Bowie has said that the track "started out as a parody of a nightclub song, a kind of throwaway".[4][5] The musical arrangement featured the composer's saxophone, Rick Wakeman's keyboards and Mick Ronson's strings, while the stuttering chorus has been compared to The Who.[6][7]

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21 second sample from David Bowie's "Changes".

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The lyrics focused on the compulsive nature of artistic reinvention ("Strange fascination, fascinating me / Changes are taking the pace I'm going through") and distancing oneself from the rock mainstream ("Look out, you rock 'n' rollers").[1] The song has also been interpreted as touting "Modern Kids as a New Race",[6] a theme echoed on the following album track, "Oh! You Pretty Things". Rolling Stone's contemporary review of Hunky Dory considered that "Changes" could be "construed as a young man's attempt to reckon how he'll react when it's his time to be on the maligned side of the generation schism".[8]

Release and aftermath[edit]

The composer having agreed to Peter Noone covering "Oh! You Pretty Things", which later commentators have argued was the obvious single from Hunky Dory,[6] "Changes" was chosen for a 45 release in January 1972. Like the album, it generated good reviews but negligible chart action, peaking just outside the US Top 40 and failing in Britain.[6]

The song was a regular feature of Bowie's live performances as Ziggy Stardust in 1972–73, appearing again on the Diamond Dogs tour in 1974 and the Station to Station tour in 1976. According to Bowie, "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."[5] The song is ranked at number 127 on Rolling Stone magazine's 2004 list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Changes" (Bowie) – 3:33
  2. "Andy Warhol" (Bowie) – 3:58

Production credits[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1972)Peak
position
US Billboard Hot 10066
Chart (1975)Peak
position
US Billboard Hot 10041

Live versions[edit]

Other releases[edit]

Bowie hit compilations rarely omit "Changes" despite its lack of chart success – indeed, the retrospectives Changesonebowie (1976), Changestwobowie (1981) and Changesbowie (1990) have taken their titles from the song.

Cover versions[edit]

Appearances in popular culture[edit]

And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They're quite aware of what they're going through...
I know- I know- it's so-
It's so-so-so symbolic of everything-
Of everything that's wrong with me and you
So tell me what I'm s'posed to do
Oh, it's been ages since we've been really honest
But I can make ch-ch-ch-ch-changes if you really want this

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Buckley, David (1999). Strange Fascination - David Bowie: The Definitive Story. p. 116. 
  2. ^ "Watch that Man" by Tina Clarke, Music Express magazine, March 1990, page 9
  3. ^ Gilmore, Mikal (2 February 2012), "How Ziggy Stardust Fell to Earth", Rolling Stone magazine (1149): 36–43, 68 
  4. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Review of Changes". Allmusic. 
  5. ^ a b Loder, Kurt Loder; Bowie, David (1989). Sound and Vision: CD liner notes
  6. ^ a b c d Carr, Roy; Murray, Charles Shaar (1981). Bowie: An Illustrated Record. pp. 40–44. 
  7. ^ Blake, Mark (ed.) (2007). "Future Legend", MOJO 60 Years of Bowie: pp.74-75
  8. ^ Mendelsohn, John (6 January 1972). "Hunky Dory". Rolling Stone. 
  9. ^ "David Bowie News February 2011". Bowiewonderworld.com. 6 February 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]