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Song IconDavid Bowie "Ashes To Ashes"

About "Ashes To Ashes"

"Ashes to Ashes" is a song by English singer-songwriter David Bowie from his 14th studio album, Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) (1980). Co-produced by Bowie and Tony Visconti, it was recorded from February to April 1980 in New York and London and features guitar synthesiser played by Chuck Hammer. An art rock, art pop and new wave song led by a flanged piano riff, the lyrics act as a sequel to Bowie's 1969 hit "Space Oddity": the astronaut Major Tom has succumbed to drug addiction and floats isolated in space. Bowie partially based the lyrics on his own experiences with drug addiction throughout the 1970s.

Released as the album's lead single on 1 August 1980, "Ashes to Ashes" became Bowie's second No. 1 UK single and his fastest-selling single. The song's music video, co-directed by Bowie and David Mallet, was at the time the most expensive music video ever made. The solarised video features Bowie as a clown, an astronaut and an asylum inmate, each representing variations on the song's theme, and four members of London's Blitz club, including Steve Strange. Influential on the then-rising New Romantic movement, commentators have considered it one of Bowie's best videos and of all time.

Bowie performed the song only once during 1980 but frequently during his later concert tours. Initially viewed with mixed critical reactions, later reviewers and biographers have considered it one of Bowie's finest songs, particularly praising the unique musical structure. In subsequent decades, the song has appeared on compilation albums and other artists have covered, sampled or used its musical elements for their own songs. The song's namesake was also used for the 2008 BBC series of the same name.

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