Ashes to Ashes (David Bowie song) – Wikipedia

1980 song by David Bowie

1980 single by David Bowie
Ashes to Ashes “ is a birdcall written and recorded by English singer-songwriter David Bowie. It was the lead single from the 1980 album Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) and became Bowie ‘s second UK No. 1 one. It is besides known for its innovative video recording, directed by Bowie and David Mallet, which at the clock time was the most expensive music television ever made.

The lyrics revisit Bowie ‘s Major Tom fictional character from 1969 ‘s “ Space Oddity “ in a dark theme, which he referenced once again in 1995 with “ Hallo Spaceboy “ and in 2015 with “ Blackstar “. The song ‘s advanced layered guitar synth textures were generated by Chuck Hammer. The song ‘s tune was sampled in a remix of his 2013 single “ Love Is Lost “. The sung ‘s original title was “ People Are Turning to Gold ”. [ 3 ] AllMusic critic Dave Thompson described the track and its accompanying music television as “ a very consider acknowledgment of the then-burgeoning New Romantic fit. ” [ 4 ] It was ranked as the 5th best single of 1980 by NME magazine. [ 5 ]

Music and lyrics [edit ]

The musical style of “ Ashes to Ashes ” has been characterized as art rock and new wave. [ 1 ] [ 2 ] The song is luminary for its delicate guitar synth bowed stringed instrument sound, counterpointed by hard-edged funk sea bass, and its complex vocal layer. Its choir-like textures and root were created by guitarist Chuck Hammer with four multi-tracked guitar synthesizers, each playing wide interval chord inversions ; this was underpinned by Bowie ‘s dead-pan, chanted background voices. [ 6 ] The rhythmical chordal subject originated from a guitar synth composition by Chuck Hammer. The resulting traverse has been described as “ one of Bowie ‘s greatest studio moments ”. [ 7 ] The give voice “ ashes to ashes ” comes from the christian Book of Common Prayer. [ 8 ] Melancholic and introspective, “ Ashes to Ashes ” featured Bowie ‘s reinterpretation of “ a ridicule that ‘s been in such an early birdcall ”, namely major Tom from his first hit in 1969, “ Space Oddity “. Described as “ containing more messages per second ” than any single released in 1980, [ 9 ] the birdcall besides included the mournful observation :

I’ve never done good things
I’ve never done bad things
I never did anything out of the blue

alternatively of a hippie astronaut who casually slips the bonds of a crass and material world to journey beyond the stars, the sung describes major Tom as a “ drug addict, strung out in heaven ‘s gamey, hitting an all-time depleted ”. This lyric was interpreted as a free rein on the title of Bowie ‘s 1977 album Low, which charted his secession inwards following his drug excesses in America a short time before, another reverse of Major Tom ‘s original withdrawal “ outwards ” or towards space. [ 9 ] The concluding lines, “ My mother said, to get things done, you ‘d better not mess with major Tom ”, have been compared to the verse from a nursery verse : [ 10 ]

My mother said
That I never should
Play with the gypsies in the wood

Bowie himself said in an interview with NME shortly after the individual ‘s release, “ It truly is an ode to childhood, if you like, a democratic greenhouse rhyme. It ‘s about outer space men becoming junkies ( laughs ). ” [ 11 ] Bowie said that the song “ would n’t have happened ” if not for Inchworm by Danny Kaye. [ 12 ] Interviewed in 1980, Bowie described the song as “ 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 preferably hideous and had little boys with their ears being cut off and gorge like that. ” [ 13 ] Years subsequently, Bowie said that with “ Ashes to Ashes ” he was “ wrapping up the seventies truly ” for himself, which “ seemed a good enough epitaph for it. ”

release [edit ]

“ Ashes to Ashes ” debuted at No. 4 in the UK Singles Chart in its first base workweek of release, rising to No. 1 a week belated, making it Bowie ‘s fastest-selling single to that point in meter. [ 10 ] It was issued in three different sleeves, the first 100,000 copies including one of four sets of stamps, all featuring Bowie in the Pierrot outfit he wore in the music television for the song. [ 15 ] The B-side, “ move On ”, was a track from his former album, Lodger ( 1979 ). The US secrete had “ It ‘s No Game ( No. 1 ) “ as the B-side. In the US, the single ailing at No. 79 on the Cash Box Top 100 chart and No. 101 on the Billboard Bubbling Under the Hot 100 graph. [ 16 ]

critical reception [edit ]

Writing in Smash Hits, reviewer Deanne Pearson remarked that it was a “ foreign choice for a individual ” and “ should have been left in the middle of an album ”, concluding that as a single it was “ not a hit ”. [ 17 ] Billboard Magazine said that “ tight rock candy rhythm lay the foundation for the nuance-rich tune ” and that the song combines “ rock and dance beats. ” [ 18 ]

music television [edit ]

Solarised color in the music video The music video for “ Ashes to Ashes ”, directed by Bowie and David Mallet, was one of the most iconic of the 1980s. With production costing £250,000, it was at the prison term the most expensive music video recording ever made and remains one of the most expensive of all clock. [ 10 ] It incorporated scenes both in solarised color and in bare black-and-white and was filmed in multiple locations. The television featured Bowie in the brassy Pierrot costume that became the dominant allele ocular representation of his Scary Monsters phase. besides appearing were Steve Strange and other members of the London Blitz scene, including Judith Frankland who besides designed clothes for Strange ‘s Visage videos [ 19 ] and Darla Jane Gilroy, forerunners of ( late participants in ) the New Romantic motion that was heavily influenced by Bowie ‘s music and image. [ 10 ] [ 20 ] The complexity and gamey output monetary value of “ Ashes to Ashes ” makes it one of the most meaning in the development of the music video recording. Bowie described the shoot of himself and the Blitz Kids border towards the television camera in front of a bulldozer as symbolising “ oncoming ferocity ”. [ 21 ] Although it appears that Steve Strange is taking a bow as he walks behind Bowie, he was actually trying to pull his gown aside from the bulldozer in an effort to avoid it getting caught. [ 20 ] Scenes of the singer in a space suit—which suggested a hospital life-support system—and others showing him locked in what appeared to be a slog room, made address to both Major Tom and to Bowie ‘s new, contrite interpretation of him. Contrary to popular impression, the aged woman lecturing Bowie at the end of the snip was not his veridical mother.

Record Mirror readers voted “ Ashes to Ashes ” and Bowie ‘s next one, “ fashion “, the best music video recording of 1980. [ 23 ] The television was filmed at Pett Level, East Sussex, six miles east of Hastings. [ 24 ] MTV ranked the song ‘s music television at number fifty eight on its “ 100 Greatest music Videos Ever Made ” tilt in 1999. [ 25 ] The stagecoach set from the music television is besides used for the sung Space Oddity as shown on the Kenny Everett Show in 1979. [ 26 ] Bowie would late use the same method of putting the television in concert, including storyboarding the visuals, for his 1987 video recording for “ Day-In Day-Out “. He said of that video recording, “ I started working this way on the ‘Ashes to Ashes ‘ television with David Mallet. It was my first real big attempt and it won awards at the time for being a modern way of doing video recording. ” [ 27 ]

track list [edit ]

All tracks written by David Bowie. [ 28 ]

  1. “Ashes to Ashes” – 3:34
  2. “Move On” – 3:16

Personnel [edit ]

Charts [edit ]

Chart (2016) Peak
France (SNEP)[44] 14

alternative versions [edit ]

There have long been rumor of an elongated unreleased adaptation of the song, allegedly some 13 minutes long and featuring extra verses, a longer fade-out and a synthesizer solo. A 12:55 version that appeared on the bootleg From a Phoenix… The Ashes Shall Rise was a talk through one’s hat, repeating the birdcall ‘s instrumental breaks to achieve its extra length. [ 46 ] similarly, an 11:44 version on bootleg albums such as Glamour, Vampires of the Human Flesh and Monsters to Ashes was again nothing more than the master cut with segments repeated and looped. In August 2020, producer Tony Visconti claimed that he is unaware of any other versions of the song existent, besides saying that no extra verses were recorded. [ 47 ]

alive versions [edit ]

other releases [edit ]

In popular culture [edit ]

For the 2008 sequel to their 2006 BBC TV serial Life on Mars, the writing team of Matthew Graham and Ashley Pharoah decided to transplant the characters from 1973 to 1981, and chose the claim Ashes to Ashes because they thought of it as “ that year ‘s adult Bowie track ”. [ 49 ] They besides borrowed the celebrated Pierrot iconography from the television of the Bowie unmarried as separate of the broadcast ‘s ocular design. [ 50 ] In the first series ‘s finale, a car fail goes murder at the cable “ One blink of an eye of light ” .

References [edit ]

See besides [edit ]

Citations [edit ]

Books [edit ]

  • Pegg, Nicholas (2011). The Complete David Bowie (6th ed.). London: Titan Books. ISBN 9780857682901.
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Category : music

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