David Bowie

Ashes to Ashes

Composed by David Bowie

Song Review by

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!)

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Scary Monsters 1980 Virgin 4:25
Serious Moonlight [1984] 1984 Pioneer
Sound + Vision 1989 EMI Music Distribution 4:24
No Image 1989 Atlantic 0:00
Changesbowie 1990 Rykodisc 4:25
The Singles: 1969-1993 1993 Rykodisc 3:34
The Video Collection 1993 Rykodisc
The Singles Collection 1993 EMI Music Distribution 4:24
Sedated in the Eighties, Vol. 2 1994
Various Artists
The Right Stuff 4:22
Sounds of the Eighties: The Rolling Stone Collection, 1980-1981 1995
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:24
Rage the Album 1999
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 4:23
Now: 1980 [2 CD] 1999
Various Artists
Virgin/EMI 4:23
The Singles Collection 2 2000 EMI Music Distribution 4:24
The Best of Bowie [DVD] 2002 Virgin 3:46
Music of the Millennium, Vol. 3 2002
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
The Platinum Collection 2006 Virgin 3:36
This Is '80s New Wave 2006
Various Artists
Cleopatra 3:36
101 80's Hits [EMI] 2007
Various Artists
Virgin/EMI 4:21
The Best of David Bowie 1980-1987 2007 Virgin 3:36
The Heartbreak Kid 2007
Original Soundtrack
Plan-R / Plan R 4:25
Ashes to Ashes, Series 1 2008
Original TV Soundtrack
Sony Music 4:22
Top Gear Anthems 2008: Seriously Hot Driving Music 2008
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 4:21
Pure Hits [Emd] [3 Discs] 2008
Various Artists
EMD Int'l 3:38
Nothing Has Changed 2014 Columbia / Legacy 3:35
No Image 2016 Columbia/Legacy / Sony Music 3:37
A New Career in a New Town (1977-1982) 2017 Parlophone / Rhino 4:26