"Ashes to Ashes" is a song written and recorded by David Bowie. It was the lead single from the 1980 album Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) and became Bowie's second UK No. 1 single. It is also known for its innovative video, directed by Bowie and David Mallet, which at the time was the most expensive music video ever made.
The lyrics revisit Bowie's Major Tom character from 1969's "Space Oddity" in a darker theme, which he referenced once again in 1995 with "Hallo Spaceboy". The song's original title was "People Are Turning to Gold".
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 rather horrid and had little boys with their ears being cut off and stuff like that." Years later, Bowie said that with "Ashes to Ashes" he was "wrapping up the seventies really" for himself, which "seemed a good enough epitaph for it."
AllMusic critic Dave Thompson described the track and its accompanying music video as "a very deliberate acknowledgement of the then-burgeoning new romantic scene."
It was ranked as the 5th best single of 1980 by the NME magazine.
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 ($500,000), it was at the time the most expensive music video ever made and remains one of the most expensive of all time.