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Young Turks

by

Rod Stewart



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

Carmine Appice was the drummer in Stewart's band. He wrote the music for this song with Duane Hitchings, a songwriter who also worked on Stewart's hit "D'ya Think I'm Sexy." Appice told us: "Rod was always trying to be on the cutting edge at that time, so we did drum machine stuff. Duane had just gotten a sequencer, so we started screwing around and came up with the chords and melodies. We presented it to Rod. This one was easy because we used the whole concept that we came up with. We just transferred it from the 8-track that Duane had going right onto the 24-track. We used the drum machine and everything. Once we gave Rod the music, he wrote the lyrics."

Hitchings adds: "I put together the whole song at my house with Carmine's help and used an Oberheim OBX-A, Oberheim DMA sequencer and the Oberheim DMX drum box. It was really one of the first one-man-band setups. We took the whole setup in the studio and recorded straight to tape. I started the idea because Devo was real big and one of my favorite groups, thus the fast pulsing synth groove. And of course Rod did a great job!! Got a bit of help with a nice instrumental line from Kevin Savigar also!" (Thanks to Carmine and Duane for telling us about this song.)
In English slang, a "Young Turk" was a rebellious kind of teenager who would go against the grain.
Many of Stewart's songs tell stories. This tells the story of Billy, a kid who leaves his hometown and gets his girlfriend pregnant.
Appice: "Rod would put the lyric melody to the music we came up with. On that one, we used a drum machine, and I played hi-hat and cymbals overdubbed to the drum machine."
This was the first video played on MTV that contained breakdancing. It was released a few months after MTV went on the air, and benefited from lots of play on the channel. Of about 200 videos in MTV's rotation, Stewart had about 40. Says Appice: "The videos were cutting edge. He had top-of-the line people. When I first joined him, the first video we did was for 'Hot Legs,' and that was a great video. It was played all over the world. For every album we did with Rod, we did 2 or 3 videos. There were a lot of stations that would play videos. There were video outlets in Australia and England. Top Of The Pops would play the videos all the time."
Rod Stewart
Rod Stewart Artistfacts
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More songs in heavy rotation in the early days of MTV

Comments (17):

Rod got the phrase "Young Turks" reading an article that said, "All the young turks where lined up around the block......." I guess he just liked that phrase. I would imagine the guitars are Jim Cregan & Robin LeMusier(sp) Perhaps Wally Stocker?
- Greg, New York City, NY
American Idol Taylor Hicks covered this song on his US tour in 2006-07.
- Thomas Leonard, Pittsburgh, PA, PA
these lines are very deep
Because life is so brief and time is a thief when you're undecided.

And like a fistful of sand, it can slip right through your hands.
- kilroy, gdl, Mexico
Who played guitar on this track, it sure sounds like Mark Knopfler?
- Tim, albany, NY
hey Shelli and Tonya, the actress to which you refer, Elizabeth Daily ("Valley Girls" was nicholas cage's 1st movie) and she is the voice of Tommy in the "Rugrats" cartoon, voicing a baby boy.
- Brad, Long Island, NY
The song was recorded on the Oberheim OBX-a, the Oberheim DMA sequencer and the Oberheim DMX drum machine, not the Linn. I know - it was my equipment and I co-write it with Rod and Carmine with a little help from Kevin Savigar. We brought the gear into the studio and dumped directly to 24 track. And of of course, Rod did his usual brillant job at melodies and lyric/story telling. Not many people know this but Rod co-wrote just about ALL of his hits. Great writer !!
- Duane Hitchings, Hendersonville, TN, TN
Just one question? Why in the Sam Hill do they call this song "Young Turks" when it has NOTHING to do with Turkey or Turkmenistan?
- Darrell, Eugene
has anyone realized if england ever gets into a war they are screwd? they have Rod Stewart, Mick Jagger and Elton John to fight... whats the queen doing over there
- Adrian, Kingston, Canada
I was a teenager in love when this song came out, and I have to admit, the idea of running away and living out my own life, free of my parents, was a fantasy I held quite dear at the time. Now, I'm a parent of a sixteen year old girl. It's funny how your perspective of a song changes in 25 years....
- Stephanie, Houston, TX
Young Hearts be Free Tonight. Thank you Sir Rod.
- Matthew, East Brunswick, NJ
This is the first video that featured Popping on MTV. Performed by legendary OG Dancemaster Cool Pockets Paul form OG Chain Reaction Dancers also featured in Xanadu which was the first time Locking and Popping had ever been shown in the movies. www.dancemaster.com
- T Guzman-Sanchez, northridge, CA
Inspiring stuff, this song.... Created the year of my birth: 1981! And like Billy and Patti's baby boy, I too am a love child. Rock on! Screw formal nuptials! Just kidding, I'm marrying my bf before I have his babies, but you gotta admit free love is where it's at!
- Leigh, Chicago, IL
The drum machine used for this song was the Linn LM-1 - THE drum machine of the 80s.
- Chris, Charleston, SC
"Young Turks" is a Victorian phrase meaning reformer or radical seeking change or enlightenment in culture. Young Turks were in actuallity, twentysomething Turkish politicians who attempted to reform the ailing Ottoman empire in the late 19th century. They met with little success and the empire collasped shortly afterward.
- Nathan, Defiance, OH
The main chorus line is not "Young Turks...", but in fact "Young HEARTS run free tonight". The song is about two young lovers who elope, and later try to explain to their heartbroken friends and family back home why they did it and why they can never return. The song reached No.11 in the UK as a double A-side with "Hot Legs".
- Dave, Cardiff, Wales
The word "Turks" is never mentioned in the song. The actress in the video is E.G. Daily. She was also in the movie "Valley Girl".
- Tonya, Mobile, AL
The actress who played "Dottie" in Pee-Wee's Big Adventure was the female lead in this video.
- Shelli, Madison, WI
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