All the Young Dudes – Mott The Hoople

Mott the Hoople were a 1970s English rock band with strong R&B roots and known for being part of the popular glam rock scene of the early to mid-70s. They are best known for the song “All the Young Dudes”, which was written for them by their fan David Bowie which appeared on the 1972 album of the same name.

David Bowie had long been a fan of the band, and heard that they were about to split. He persuaded them to stay together and offered them “Suffragette City” from his then yet-to-be-released Ziggy Stardust album. They turned it down so Bowie wrote “All the Young Dudes” for them instead. Released as a single in July 1972, it was a success in the UK, with the band using Tippens – who by this time was their tour manager – to sing backing vocals during live gigs. A Bowie-produced album, also called All the Young Dudes, sold well. Late in 1972 they were going to record another Bowie song, “Drive-In Saturday”, but their intended arrangement did not satisfy him and their professional relationship effectively ended.

All the Young Dudes

All the Young Dudes” is a song written by David Bowie, originally recorded and released as a single by Mott the Hoople in 1972.

Regarded as one of glam rock’s anthems, the song originated after Bowie came into contact with Mott the Hoople’s bassist Peter Watts and learned that the band was ready to split due to continued lack of commercial success. When Mott rejected his first offer of a composition, “Suffragette City” (from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars), Bowie wrote “All the Young Dudes” in short order specially for them, allegedly sitting cross-legged on the floor of a room in Regent Street, London, in front of the band’s lead singer, Ian Hunter.

With its dirge-like music, youth suicide references and calls to an imaginary audience, the song bore similarities to Bowie’s own “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide”, the final track from Ziggy Stardust. Described as being to glam rock what “All You Need Is Love” was to the hippie era, the lyrics name-checked contemporary star T.Rex and contained references to The Beatles and The Rolling Stones (“My brother’s back at home with his Beatles and his Stones/We never got it off on that revolution stuff”) in a “wearied swipe at the previous generation”.

Bowie himself once claimed that the song was not intended to be an anthem for glam, instead it carried a darker message of apocalypse. According to an interview Bowie gave to Rolling Stone magazine in 1973, the boys are carrying the same news that the news guy was carrying in the song “Five Years” from Ziggy Stardust, a message that the Earth only had five years left to live: “‘All the Young Dudes’ is a song about this news. It’s no hymn to the youth, as people thought. It is completely the opposite.”

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Well billy rapped all night about his suicide
How he kick it in the head when he was twenty-five
Speed jive don’t want to stay alive
When you’re twenty-five
And wendy’s stealing clothes from marks and sparks
And freedy’s got spots from ripping off the stars from his face
Funky little boat race
Television man is crazy saying we’re juvenile deliquent wrecks
Oh man I need tv when I got t rex
Oh brother you guessed
I’m a dude dad
All the young dudes (hey dudes)
Carry the news (where are ya)
Boogaloo dudes (stand up come on)
Carry the news
All the young dudes (I want to hear you)
Carry the news (I want to see you)
Boogaloo dudes (and I want to talk to you all of you)
Carry the news

Now lucy looks sweet cause he dresses like a queen
But he can kick like a mule it’s a real mean team
But we can love oh yes we can love
And my brother’s back at home with his beatles and his stones
We never got it off on that revolution stuff
What a drag too many snags
Now I’ve drunk a lot of wine and I’m feeling fine
Got to race some cat to bed
Oh is there concrete all around
Or is it in my head
Yeah
I’m a dude dad
All the young dudes (hey dudes)
Carry the news (where are ya)
Boogaloo dudes (stand up)
Carry the news
All the young dudes (I want to hear ya)
Carry the news (I want to see you)
Boogaloo dudes (and I want to relate to you)
Carry the news
All the young dudes (what dudes)

Carry the news (let’s hear the news come on)
Boogaloo dudes (I want to kick you)
Carry the news
All the young dudes (hey you there with the glasses)
Carry the news (I want you)
Boogaloo dudes (I want you at the front)
Carry the news (now you all his friends)
All the young dudes (now you bring him down cause I want him)
Carry the news
Boogaloo dudes (I want him right here bring him come on)
Carry the news (bring him here you go)
All the young dudes (I’ve wanted to do this for years)
Carry the news (there you go)
Boogaloo dudes (how do you feel)
Carry the news

  • Audio from the 1972 album, All The Young Dudes:

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About DJ Allyn

DJ Allyn is a burned out radio guy who went on to become a burned out sound engineer for a few Seattle area grunge bands in the 1980s and 1990s. Left the madness of worldwide tours with bands, cleaned up my act and went into the relative sanity of sound engineering for television series. Currently working as the Director of Sound for a television series being filmed in North Vancouver, British Columbia. I am always on the lookout for interesting videos, old music, and fun.

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