David Bowie — Ashes To Ashes


«Ashes to Ashes» is a song by David Bowie, released in 1980. It made No. 1 in the UK and was the first cut from the Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) album, also a No. 1 hit. As well as its musical qualities, it is noted for its innovative video, directed by Bowie and David Mallet. The lyrics revisit Bowie’s Major Tom character from 1969’s «Space Oddity», which he referenced once again in 1995 with «Hallo Spaceboy». The song’s original title was «People Are Turning to Gold.»

Interviewed in 1980, Bowie described the song as «a nursery rhyme. It’s very much a 1980s nursery rhyme. I think 1980s nursery rhymes will have a lot to do with the 1880s/1890s nursery rhymes which are all rather horrid and had little boys with their ears being cut off and stuff like that…». Years later, Bowie said that with «Ashes to Ashes» he was «wrapping up the seventies really for myself, and that seemed a good enough epitaph for it».

The music video (вот ровно это) for «Ashes to Ashes» was one of the most iconic of the 1980s. Costing £250,000, it was at the time the most expensive music video ever made. It incorporated scenes both in solarised colour and in stark black-and-white, featuring Bowie in the gaudy Pierrot costume that became the dominant visual representation of his Scary Monsters phase. Also appearing were Steve Strange and other members of the London Blitz scene, including Judith Frankland who had designed clothes for Strange’s Visage videos and Darla Jane Gilroy, forerunners of (later participants in) the New Romantic movement that was heavily influenced by Bowie’s music and image.

Bowie described the shot of himself and the Blitz Kids marching towards the camera in front of a bulldozer as symbolising «oncoming violence». Although it appears that two of the Blitz Kids bow at intervals, they were actually trying to pull their gowns away from the bulldozer in an effort to avoid them getting caught.[9] Scenes of the singer in a space suit―that suggested a hospital life-support system―and others showing him locked in what appeared to be a padded room, made reference to both Major Tom and to Bowie’s new, rueful interpretation of him. Contrary to received opinion, the elderly woman lecturing Bowie at the end of the clip was not his real mother.

Record Mirror readers voted «Ashes to Ashes» and Bowie’s next single, «Fashion», the best music videos of 1980».


Do you remember a guy that’s been
In such an early song
I’ve heard a rumour from Ground Control
Oh no, don’t say it’s true
They got a message from the Action Man
«I’m happy, hope you’re happy too
I’ve loved all I’ve needed to love
Sordid details following»
The shrieking of nothing is killing
Just pictures of Jap girls in synthesis and I
Ain’t got no money and I ain’t got no hair
But I’m hoping to kick but the planet it’s glowing


Ashes to ashes, funk to funky
We know Major Tom’s a junkie
Strung out in heaven’s high
Hitting an all-time low
Time and again I tell myself
I’ll stay clean tonight
But the little green wheels are following me
Oh no, not again
I’m stuck with a valuable friend

«I’m happy, hope you’re happy too»
One flash of light but no smoking pistol
I never done good things
I never done bad things
I never did anything out of the blue, woh-o-oh
Want an axe to break the ice
Wanna come down right now



My mother said to get things done
You’d better not mess with Major Tom