Alexis Petridis writes:

We tend to think of 1971’s Hunky Dory as the moment David Bowie finally snapped into focus after years of dead ends and false starts. It opens with a song often seen as his mission statement, Changes, with its promise of constant forward motion and undertaking to make pop weird again. It unveiled the brand of glam rock that would send his career stratospheric, on Queen Bitch, and his most celebrated backing band, soon to be renamed the Spiders From Mars. It features a succession of his most indelible songs – Life on Mars?, Oh! You Pretty Things – and, in its lyrics, the preoccupations that would fuel his career through the 1970s: sexuality and gender, imminent apocalypse, artifice and role-playing, the peculiar and disturbing ideas about mysticism and the occult that would reappear on Station to Station. Here, at last, was the David Bowie who knew exactly what he was doing, who was no longer pretending to be a hippy, or a proponent of “heavy” music, or an Anthony Newley-ish all-round entertainer; the Bowie who would so confidently cut through the coming decade that pop music and youth culture were both changed in his wake.

The truth, as revealed by Divine Symmetry – a beautifully packaged 4CD box set subtitled An Alternative Journey Through Hunky Dory – appears to have been substantially less straightforward than that. The first CD of .....

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