Changesonebowie is an important record in the arc of David Bowie’s career—maybe not on the level of The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders From Mars or Low, but it isn’t a stretch to say that the album is partially responsible for cementing Bowie’s stardom. When Changesonebowie first appeared in May of 1976, Bowie was four years removed from his Ziggy Stardust-fueled UK breakthrough, but he had only recently cracked the U.S. market, with “Fame” hitting number one in 1975. He’d remain in the Billboard Top 10 with Young Americans and Station to Station and, this, the compilation that closed the curtain on the first act of his career.
There’s an elegance to the structure of Changesonebowie, with its near chronological sequencing lending the album a narrative: it is the story of Bowie’s metamorphosis from a quizzical folkie to a conquering colossus. As Changesonebowie progresses, the music expands: the brawny glam turns ornate on the second side and then slides into soul, with the funky rhythms supplying an artful ascendance. “Golden Years” ends the compilation on a note of triumph: it plays as a celebration of the self-reinvention showcased on Changesonebowie.