Mott The Hoople “All The Young Dudes” The Bowie Factor
Yes, this is the story of Mott The Hoople “All The Young Dudes” but I chose David Bowie as my lead image. Bowie was the force behind “All The Young Dudes.” The song began as a part of the story of Ziggy Stardust, but Bowie asked Mott The Hoople if they’d like to do the song instead. “I’m thinking, ‘He wants to give us that?’ He must be crazy!” Those are words from drummer Dale Griffin from the Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs of which “All The Young Dudes” ranks at #74.
Is “All The Young Dudes” An Anthem For The Youth?
No, and that’s straight from David Bowie‘s mouth. Bowie told Rolling Stone, “It’s no hymn to the youth, as people thought. It is completely the opposite.” In the storyline of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars concept album, at the point when there is no electricity, Ziggy Stardust uses songs to carry the news.
Lucy looks sweet ’cause he dresses like a queen
But he can kick like a mule, it’s a real mean team
These lyrics may well have been Bowie’s way of tipping his hat to the ’70s glam rockers in the UK… Bowie being one of the biggest influencers of that genre. Our American surge for this style was in the ’80s but glam rock broke in the UK a decade before. A lot of our favorite hair band songs were covers of those ’70s glam bands. Mott The Hoople leaned into their glam rock look after the release of this song.
Ian Hunter (Photo by Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns)
The Bowie Effect
David Bowie was a big fan of Mott The Hoople. The band had some success in the UK but they weren’t selling enough albums and they were ready to call it quits. David Bowie offered them “Suffragette City” first, but the band passed. When he offered them “All The Young Dudes” they decided to accept the offer. David Bowie not only wrote “All The Young Dudes,” he produced the track (and album). Bowie also played guitar and sang backup. Bowie was even a part of the clapping in the song.
In a 2002 interview with Mojo magazine, Bowie said, “I literally wrote that within an hour or so of reading an article in one of the music rags that their breakup was imminent.”
Bowie felt that the song had some lag toward the end of the original song. Mott The Hoople’s lead singer, Ian Hunter came up with the idea for a one-way conversation. “I remembered an encounter I’d had with a heckler during a recent gig at the Rainbow [in London]. He was annoying me, and I ended up pouring beer all over him,” Hunter recounted.
“Hey, you down there, you with the glasses!”
Ian Hunter’s One-Line Retake
Mott the Hoople “All The Young Dudes”
Mott The Hoople made four albums before All The Young Dudes. Once the album was released in 1972, Mott scored another four Top 40 hits in the UK before breaking up in 1974 when guitarist, Mick Ralphs left to join the super-group, Bad Company, with Paul Rodgers.
Mott The Hopple pose for a group portrait (L-R) Verden Allen, Ian Hunter, Dale “Buffin” Griffin (1948-2016), Pete Overend Watts and Mick Ralphs at The Jack Tar Hotel circa August 1970 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Robert Altman/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
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