David Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes and THAT Video.
David Bowie in the Pierrot Costume he wore for the video shoot.
From the white noise, cranking music and unusual Japanese rapping over the top of the first album track (’It’s No Game’) I loved David Bowie’s Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) album when I bought it in September of 1980.
There was something jarringly discordant about a lot of it, which chimed perfectly with my life back then – as described in Bombed Out! my 1970s-1980s Punk and New Wave memoir.
When I listen to the album today, it still reminds me of trying to get to grips with studying after my band period had ended, when I was on the dole and beset with various personal difficulties, pressures and tensions.
I mention the album in the book as being one of the memorable releases of 1980.
Bowie had released a single off the album a month earlier – Ashes to Ashes, and watching that video was another memorable musical event for me back in 1980. I couldn’t believe what I was watching. It seemed like so much genius in a crazy, tinted video.
The video was actually shot on Southend Beach and the now-departed Steve Strange appeared in it (see above and below)
The video cost a quarter of a million pounds to produce, and was the most expensive music videos ever made back then.
Both the single and the album got to Number 1 in the UK very quickly that year, and I remember playing the album for a long time after that, and I still like it.
This is the official video for Ashes to Ashes on You Tube.