Saturday, November 1, 2008

All the Young Dudes, Mott the Hoople (1972)

All the young dudes (hey dudes)
Carry the news (where are ya)

Boogaloo dudes (stand up come on)
Carry the news

Songs that have anthemic qualities are usually great songs even if they're not your own particular anthems. Whenever I hear - or heard - the defiant, exuberant All the Young Dudes, I am/was drawn to it immediately, despite it having no particular relevance to my life then or now.

Written and produced for Mott the Hoople by David Bowie (who shared a manager with them) at a time when Bowie's career was really starting to ignite as he toured on a large scale for the first time (as Ziggy Stardust) , All the Young Dudes was named by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. It wasn't necessary to be an English working class adolescent to prick up your ears when it burst out of the airwaves.

Though they seemed like overnight sensations to many, Mott the Hoople had had three prior unremarkable LPs, and were in debt and on the verge of breaking up when bassist Pete "Overend" Watts approached Bowie seeking a spot in his band. Instead Bowie offered to produce them on his dime and throw in one of his own songs for them to record. Suffragette City was the first song proposed - Mott turned it down for whatever reason but agreed to record All the Young Dudes. (Bowie recorded it himself in a later cover.)

In many ways a bookend on the original squeakier-clean British Invasion, the song took the disaffected youth concept into a new realm, Ian Hunter and the band raising their voices in glorious unison to rail in solidarity not only against the Establishment but also the older young people and bands who themselves were seen as passé and conventional. Glam rock was on the rise.

1 comment:

cornbread hell said...

i should have sound tomorrow. gosh i hope so. mott the hoople!