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1980 - "Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)" (AUS/NZ)

1. It's No Game (Part 1)
2. Up The Hill Backwards
3. Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)
4. Ashes to Ashes
5. Fashion
6. Teenage Wildlife
7. Scream Like a Baby
8. Kingdom Come
9. Because You're Young
10. It's No Game (Part 2)

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 or since.

In the UK and US, the album was released on September 27 and charted at numbers 1 and 12 respectively.

Country Chart Entry Chart HP (WI) Label Number
AUS Sept 22, 1980 1 (27) RCA APL1 3647
NZ Sept 19, 1980 1 (33) RCA APL1 3647

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 years.


Ashes to Ashes

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).



AUS 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, Genesis 3:19.

n the 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 be known!!).

Below Left: 'Shed' images of Bowie's recent past - from the back cover of Scary Monsters. Below Right: Article from Melbourne's The Sun newspaper, September 17, 1980 - Page 55. Item from Bruce Butler's collection.

The Continuing Story of Major Tom

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).


Countdown Interview

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 Australia'.


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