Turn and Face the Strange: David Bowie’s ‘Changes’ Turns 50

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Turn and Face the Strange: David Bowie’s ‘Changes’ Turns 50

David Bowie. Photo by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images.

Changes originally arrived on David Bowie’s Hunky Dory album in late 1971 and was released as a single this week in January 1972, one day before Bowie’s birthday on the 8th of January. So, celebrating both 50 years of Changes and 75 years of Bowie, we’re taking a look back at the iconic stuttering rock anthem that became Bowie’s career manifesto/life story.

Few songs manage to sum up their creator quite so perfectly. In 1971, Bowie was at the outset of career path that would see him evolve into rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest chameleon, with his first massive transformation occurring in 1972 when Bowie introduced the world to Ziggy Stardust. But, before he did, with the foresight of a true artistic visionary, he eased his audiences into the idea with an irresistibly catchy anthem celebrating, well… change. 

But it wasn’t just Ziggy Stardust he was preparing the world for, change would become the trademark of his career, spanning the better part of the next five decades. From Ziggy Stardust to the Thin White Duke, Aladdin Sane and Major Tom, Bowie was a creative force in constant motion. 

With a classic rock stutter and anthemic, unifying chorus Changes will forever stand as the career manifesto of rock and roll’s greatest chameleon, the mission statement of an icon and a premonition of star power. It’s the perfect way to celebrate the one and only Starman today, on what would have been his 75th birthday. Enjoy Bowie performing Changes live at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1973 below! 

David Bowie | ‘Changes’ [Live, 1973]

Two very special releases, marking the 50th anniversary of David Bowie’s classic fourth studio album, Hunky Dory, have been announced. 


A streaming single, Changes (2021) Alternative Mix is available now and has been mixed from the original multi-tracks by Hunky Dory producer Ken Scott. Of this new mix, Scott says "The new version of ‘Changes’ is a fresh look at David’s classic. When listening to the original multi-track I discovered a few things that I had eliminated from the original mix and also a completely different sax solo at the end. It was those things that led me to try a new mix, trying for a slightly harder, more contemporary edge to it.” Listen on streaming, here. 

David Bowie | ‘Changes’ [Official Lyric Video]

This week, celebrating Bowie’s 75th birthday (Jan 8th) and 50 years to the day since the U.K. release of Changes as a single (Jan 7th), Hunky Dory has been reissued as a limited edition 50th anniversary picture disc, featuring the 2015 vinyl remaster and a poster featuring the annotated back cover image of the album. Get it, here.  


hunky dory
'Hunky Dory' limited edition 50th anniversary picture disc.


Check out the David Bowie 75 Official playlist on Spotify, featuring all the Bowie hits including Space OddityStarmanHeroes, and, of course, Changes.  Listen below!

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