David Bowie's second U.K. chart-topper was, not at all coincidentally, a very deliberate follow-up to his first, the 1975 reissue of "Space Oddity." Most easily summed up as the continuing adventures of Major Tom, the spaceman hero of that first song, "Ashes to Ashes" was also a very deliberate acknowledgement of the then-burgeoning new romantic scene -- the accompanying video (itself one of the most significant and influential of the age) drew its cast from among the scene's best-known faces.
The hit single was edited down from a longer track on the Scary Monsters album; American collectors, meanwhile, were gifted with a 12" promo, which segued the original "Space Oddity" into "Ashes to Ashes"; and legend insists that Bowie's own archive holds a 13-minute version of the song, possibly under its original title, "People Are Turning to Gold." (Several bootlegs attempt to recreate this mythical masterpiece by craftily editing and re-editing the LP version. Don't let them fool you!)