"Life on Mars?" is a song by David Bowie. Originally released on his 1971 album Hunky Dory, it became a top 10 hit in the UK when it was released as a single in 1973. The song was covered by many artists, including Barbra Streisand, and re-entered the pop charts in the UK when the TV show Life on Mars, named after it, premiered in 2006.
The chorus goes as follows:
Sailors fighting in the dance hall
Oh man, look at those cavemen go
It's the freakiest show.
Take a look at the lawman, beating up the wrong guy
Oh man, wonder if he'll ever know
He's in the best-selling show
Is there life on Mars?
It is ironic that (in the context of Life on Mars) "the lawman" mentioned is actually DCI Gene Hunt, who would occasionally accuse the wrong person of commiting a crime or not believe who the actual guilty person was.
The song "Life on Mars?" was first heard in DCI Sam Tyler's car on his iPod just moments before he was hit by another car. When Tyler woke up in 1973, his iPod was replaced by an eight-track tape player in another car. (Series 1: Episode 1) The song is heard again in the series 1 finale when Tyler's 1973 counterpart of his father walks out on his family. (Series 1: Episode 8)
The song was not heard again until Series 2: Episode 8, when Tyler committed suicide by jumping off the Stopford House police station roof in 2006, and during the end credits. The song reappears in series 3 of Ashes to Ashes as fragments which are heard individually by WPC Sharon Granger, DS Ray Carling and DC Chris Skelton in Luigi's trattoria at the end of three episodes (A2A Series 3: Episode 2, Series 3: Episode 3 and Series 3: Episode 7).