In Australia and
New Zealand, Scary Monsters was
a major hit album.
In New Zealand, the album remained on
top of the album charts for 3 weeks
while in Australia, it remained for an
unprecedented 5 weeks - a record Bowie
has not matched in that country before
In the UK and US, the album was
released on September 27 and charted
at numbers 1 and 12 respectively.
The album was released by RCA with the
promo line "Often Copied,
Never Equalled". It was
seen as a direct reference to the New
Wave acts Bowie had inspired over the
The first taste of the Scary Monsters
album was 'Ashes to Ashes' (RCA
103671) which appeared on a kahki
label with a picture sleeve. The
single reached number 6 in New Zealand
(16 weeks on chart) and number 3 in
Australia (22 weeks on chart).
issue of 'ASHES TO ASHES'
issue of 'ASHES TO ASHES' -
picture sleeve. It
is fairly certain that the local
edition did not come with stamps
as per overseas.
Both the title and the pun of the song
were derived from the English Burial
Service (1692) which in turn was
adapted from the Biblical text,
years immediately preceeding Scary
Monsters, it even turned up as a
popular pun among sports crowds -
"Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, If
Lillee don't get you, Thommo must".
(Whether Bowie had heard the pun when
he played the MCG in 1978, is yet to
Below Left: 'Shed'
images of Bowie's recent past
- from the back cover of Scary
Right: Article from
Melbourne's The Sun
newspaper, September 17, 1980
- Page 55. Item from Bruce
Continuing Story of Major
The promotional 12 inch single known
as 'The Continuing Story of Major Tom'
('Space Oddity' segued into Ashes to
Ashes') was an American release that
made its way to some local radio
stations. Likewise, some local fans
managed to find copies.
The second and final downunder single
to be released was 'Fashion' (RCA
103709) which appeared on a kahki
label with an RCA sleeve. It reached
number 22 in New Zealand (16 weeks on
chart) and number 27 in Australia (16
weeks on chart).
Towards the end of 1980, Ian 'Molly'
Meldrum interviewed Bowie for
Countdown. The interview took place in
a Japanese cafe in New York City
during the run of The Elephant
Man. It begins with Molly's
greeting 'Well David, welcome back to