Tuesday, October 27, 2015

David Bowie - Ashes To Ashes

What better way to continue the Halloween celebration than with a song from the Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) album.  Many critics view Scary Monsters as the last great David Bowie record, and while that is somewhat debatable, it was a classic Bowie album; odd, artistic and interesting.  In addition, it had more than a bit of funk added to the mix.

A discussion of David Bowie could fill a blog, making it hard to do justice to him in a few sentences.  The lazy narrative is that he is a musical chameleon, shifting his style to capitalize on emerging trends in popular music.  While there is some truth to this, I have always though of Bowie (especially in the 1970's through Scary Monsters period) as more of a restless artist, indulging in whichever tickles his fancy.  Although the results were inconsistent, there were more highs than lows.

"Ashes to Ashes" was the lead single off Scary Monsters, and plays like a requiem for the 1970's.  The video was rumored to be the most expensive music video made to that point (at £250,000; this was still a year before MTV).  Bowie wanders about in a Pierrot costume with strange color effects and odd characters (including many Blitz Kids).  The video is iconic in Britain, and some critics believe that it accelerated the New Romantic movement that would dominate the British charts for most of the early 1980's.

The song would go on to become a #1 hit in the U.K., but it barely dented the U.S. charts at #101.  Scary Monsters also did better in the U.K. (#1) though it did reach #12 on the U.S. album charts.

Bowie would of course go on to significant commercial success in the 1980's and would remain active in the industry until his untimely passing in January of 2016.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, I agree. (Though it's hard to compete with "Rebel Rebel" and "Suffragette City".)