Friday, 13 March 2015

50 songs to take to my grave #26: Ashes To Ashes

There's nothing I can write about this song; you'll know it all anyway. My dilemma was never what to write, it was more what Bowie song to include. I could easily have gone for Absolute Beginners, 'Heroes', Cracked Actor, Wild Is the Wind, I mean the list is potentially endless. The main reason I went for Ashes To Ashes in the end is because it's the first Bowie song I can remember really taking any notice of.

When Ashes To Ashes came out in August 1980, I was a 9-year-old Abba fan and The Winner Takes It All was number one in the charts. I wasn't big on weird pop stars - yet - so this bloke with whom I was unfamiliar in all but name, all bedecked in white and makeup, unusual music and quite a disturbing voice, he was safe to say outside of my comfort zone.

Ashes To Ashes was Bowie's fastest selling single at the time and a fortnight after release it had shot to number one. My problem wasn't so much the song's success, it was that it knocked The Winner Takes It All off the top. That put David Bowie in my bad books. For a while it did anyway. By the time Let's Dance came around, I'd forgiven him that cardinal sin and over the subsequent years Bowie became one of the most important artists in my life. He's close to God, as far as a committed atheist such as myself is concerned.

But among all the hundreds of incredible songs the great man has made over the last 50 years, Ashes To Ashes can still send shivers down my spine. It still sounds like nothing else ever recorded. It's still an incredible record and should be taught in every school around the world.

There's nothing I can write about this song. One listen is all you need - it speaks for itself.


  1. Totally agree with everything you've written - well apart from the ABBA bit (I am 4 yrs older and at the time a tad confused as a lot of new electronic music had me realising my elo fixation wasn't healthy at all)

  2. I always make sure that I do the backing vocals every time I hear this song being played.

  3. Wow, finding THE BOWIE SONG...that's taking on a big load!! Changes? Heroes, Stay? Boys Keep Swinging? Ashes To Ashes? not sure I will ever get to picking just one to include...currently it's Heroes....

  4. Being somewhat older The Jean Genie probably had the same affect on me,
    Scary Monsters was a return to form. Played it for the first time in ages recently and had forgotten how good it was