New David Bowie book about Making of "Hunky Dory"

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by SHARPK, Aug 19, 2014.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

    SHARPK New Member Thread Starter

    Just published a new book, "Kooks, Queen Bitches and Andy Warhol: The Making of David Bowie's Hunky Dory," which chronicles the fascinating back story behind that celebrated album.

    I've constructed it as an oral history and interviewed many of the album's key participants including Bowie's band, producer Ken Scott, RCA Records personnel plus countless others along with archival commentary from David Bowie and the late Mick Ronson.

    Go here for more info:
  2. srsch

    srsch Forum Resident

    NJ USA
    Thanks for the post. Just placed my order. Looking forward to this.
  3. eeglug

    eeglug Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL, USA
    Sounds great...any chance of an e-book version?
  4. rediffusion

    rediffusion Forum Resident

    Another vote for an eBook version ;)

    SHARPK New Member Thread Starter

    Will eventually get around to creating an ebook version but I'm old school, wanted to first make available as a good old fashioned physical print version, something tangible that i can hold in my hands.
    jhm and Sneaky Pete like this.
  6. DinsdaleP

    DinsdaleP Forum Resident

    NY, USA
    Got my copy last week and found it a quick but enjoyable read. Explains not just how the album was written and recorded but how it fits into the larger scope of Bowie's career.

    SHARPK New Member Thread Starter


    Happy to hear you enjoyed the book, many thanks for your support of the project.
  8. Tim Wilson

    Tim Wilson Forum Resident

    Palm Springs, CA
    kentb47 started a thread about it last week (here.). In it, I said that I ordered it immediately, which I did. :) I just finished it this morning, and I thought it was terrific.

    It deserves a proper review, which I might someday get around to, but here are some highlights:

    -- Actually, first, a general observation. David Bowie books necessarily have to cover a freakish amount of ground. Hunky Dory is a story that's easy to overlook because "nothing happened." It didn't change the world, there are no sordid tales, no particular drama at all. Just a bunch of really talented people, working hard, and realizing that they were doing something special. But it wasn't Ziggy, and David himself moved on from many aspects of it almost immediately. Kevin Cann's Any Day Now came closest to giving it the real estate it warrants -- I'm so glad he was involved in this one! -- but he too had a broader story to tell. It's great to have a closer look here than we've ever had before.

    -- I LOVED the stories from the record company guys. I've always felt that the number of times they reissued Hunky Dory and its singles was less a reflection of trying to cash in than it was an attempt to get people to just hear the album. I'm glad to have this confirmed. I've also just generally wondered about all the contract and label changes going on at this time. There's really no reason for anyone else to have gone into that level of detail in a general Bowie book, making it a great example of the kind of thing that appears when focusing on this particular tale.

    -- I'd also wondered about Rick Wakeman's bridge from Strawbs to Bowie to Yes, and it was great to hear Rick talk about some of it. In one of the great "what ifs," he mentions that he was asked to officially join The Spiders from Mars and Yes in one 24-hour period, and that he wishes he could have done both. He was one of my favorite voices in the book. I'm a fan of his, but I was also moved by how passionate he is about Hunky Dory, as much as anyone in the book. Maybe moreso. Or maybe just because he's so eloquent, but here's a wonderful bit: "This is the best piece of music I had ever had the honor of being part of. If I had only been allowed to play on one piece in my whole career, this would be it. No question." Strong stuff for a man who recorded Roundabout just a couple of months later.

    -- Very cool to hear from Paul Williams, whose biggest hit as a writer that year was "Rainy Days & Mondays." For both him and Peter Noone in covering "Oh! You Pretty Things," I've always wondered about how rooted they were in the otherworldiness of this experience, and not just because it was Bowie. I'm glad that they both appreciated it, and equally glad that David appreciated them. (Wait, what? Paul Williams observes Bowie's faithfulness to the Tiny Tim version?)

    -- Quicksand was Trevor Bolder's favorite track on the album, and thinks it's one of Bowie's all-time best songs. I'd never have guessed. I'm also pleased that he thinks it's not only his favorite album of Bowie's, but one of the all-time greats. I certainly agree, but the interviews with him, Woody, and Rick in particular definitely offered insights I'd never heard before. Not just the details of the making - we did this, then we did that -- but their feelings about it at the time, and today.

    The only negative thing I have to say about the book is that I wanted more! Really Ken, so much wonderful stuff here. I'm looking forward to the Deluxe Edition with the full length interviews from the people you spoke to. :winkgrin: Perfect for the e-book, yes?

    One more, actually: coulda maybe used a little more white space, son. :magoo: LOL Fortunately, the book seems well able to hold to me spreading it wide open under a bright light for many more readings. I've already been through it twice, and will be going through it many more times. Nobody can possibly squeeze out all the juicy goodness in one go.

    A couple of miiiiiinor quibbles. After Ken Scott says (p. 53) that Rick played the same piano for Hunky Dory that was used on Hey Jude, a quote from Dave Thompson rightly points out that Elton also played it on his early records (including Levon, Tiny Dancer and Madman the same year) --and THEN said he thinks Freddie Mercury played it on Bohemian Rhapsody. But no, not the case. Freddie played A Bechstein, but not THIS one. Ken S. talked about this at length elsewhere on line, and I'll be happy to track down the link for you....for when you're working on that Deluxe Edition.

    (It's actually quite a superstar piano: also Genesis Trespass and Nursery Cryme albums, Carly Simon You're So Vain, Ringo It Don't Come Easy, Nilsson Without You, Lou Reed Perfect Day and Satellite of Love, and of course those great Supertramp records that Ken did later in the decade. But not Bohemian Rhapsody. And I do think that Hunky Dory is the best thing played on it.)

    (And trust me, if I'm the only one getting to this level of quibbling in this forum, you're getting off easy! Don't count on it. LOL)

    The other minor quibble is, "Dedicated to all those who 'turn and face the strange.'" I've seen "the strange" in many places, but I've always thought it was "turn and face the strange changes." Strange as an adjective, not a noun. I was particularly struck by this in one book (Doggett's?) that went on at considerable length about what "the strange" means. Okaaay, but I still haven't been persuaded that it's not just plain "strange changes." Did Bowie ever talk about it himself? Can you help me out here?

    Ken, one more question for you: there's a picture of you and Bowie on the About The Author page. What's the story with that?

    Again, a fantastic book. Even though it's short (100-ish pages), it's wall-to-wall fantastic stuff, with wide swaths of information I've never seen in all my years of reading about Bowie in general, and this year in particular. Absolutely indispensable for Hunky Dory fans, for sure. Bowie fans in general will also enjoy it too. I think they'll find that the stories around this too-often overlooked first explosion into greatness deeply enriches their appreciation of his other work.
    Louise Boat and Rupe33 like this.
  9. Helmut

    Helmut Well-Known Member

    Does this book give information, if there was another song line up at one particular point?
    For years I wonder, why the often bootlegged "Bombers" ends with the strange intro to "Andy Warhol". That leads to the conclusion, that those songs were both planned for the album.
    But I read a book by Peter Doggett, which states that he recorded "Andy Warhol" for the album "as a late substitution for the crass "Bombers" ".
    Which somehow makes no sense.
  10. Rigsby

    Rigsby Forum Resident

    London, UK
    Fill Your Heart replaced Bombers as I've always understood it. But not sure. Quick shout out for recent book Rebel Rebel a song by song overview of his work up to the mid 70s, it's absolutely brilliant.
  11. jon9091

    jon9091 Master Of Reality

    That sounds good...gonna have to check that out.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page