“Changes” is the opening track from British music icon David Bowie and his fourth studio album “Hunky Dory“, which was released in December 1971 through RCA Records.
The art-pop track failed to make a big enough impression at the time to chart highly and consistently, however “Changes” appears on many of “the best of David Bowie” lists, compilations and playlists, as well as covers of the track (such as Australian singer Butterfly Boucher’s 2004 version that was featured in the Shrek 2 film, which also featured new vocals from Bowie).
Bowie wrote the song in his Haddon Hall home in Beckenham, London, after finishing his 1971 promotional tour in America earlier that year. Bowie wrote a total of over three dozen songs in that home, many of which ended up on the “Hunky Dory” album, as well as later albums “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.” Bowie’s first feature of him playing a saxophone is on the final recording of the song, in which Nicholas Pegg, the author of “The Complete David Bowie” (a 2016 Bowie biography) stated that Bowie had said that the saxophone was still an experimental element in his music-making “…when I was still going through ideas of using melodic saxophone.”
Lyrically, “Changes” sees Bowie describe the confidence of youth, that particular feeling of hope for the future when an individual is young, and a sense of immortality. In “The Complete David Bowie” 2016 biography from Pegg, Bowie expressed his own thoughts on the song: “I guess it was me being sort of arrogant […]. It’s saying, ‘Look, I’m going to be so fast you’re not going to be able to keep up with me.’ It’s that kind of perky arrogance of youth. You think you can get away with anything when you’re young.”
“Changes” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2016, a decision made by the American Recording Academy, and was ranked at #128 on Rolling Stone’s list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” in 2010.
There is no official music video for “Changes“, however an official lyric video for the song was uploaded via David Bowie’s YouTube channel in December 2021.
Read the lyrics to “Changes” here.
*All information accurate at the time of publishing.