All The Young Dudes

Album: All The Young Dudes (1972)
Charted: 3 37


  • This was written and produced by David Bowie. Mott The Hoople had a cult following in England and Bowie was a big fan. The problem was, they weren't selling many albums and were about to break up. Bowie heard about their impending breakup when Mott bass player Pete Overend Watts called looking for work, and in an effort to keep the band together, he offered to produce their next album and provide them with a song he was working on. The challenge was getting Mott in the studio to record the song, since they had alienated their record label, Island. Bowie got them some time at Olympic Studios in London in the middle of the night, and that's where they recorded the song. Besides producing the track, Bowie played guitar, sang backup, and clapped.
  • Mott The Hoople didn't know this when they recorded it, but Bowie intended this song for his The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars concept album. The, "All the young dudes carry the news" line refers to part of Bowie's story where there is no electricity, and Ziggy Stardust uses songs to spread the news.

    Said Bowie: "'All the Young Dudes' is a song about this news. It's not a hymn to the youth, as people thought. It is completely the opposite."
  • When Bowie first offered this song to Mott The Hoople, they recognized its potential straight away. The band's drummer Dale Griffin is quoted in Rolling Stone magazines Top 500 Songs: "I'm thinking, 'He wants to give us that?' He must be crazy!"
  • Even though the band was heterosexual, this became a gay anthem, at least in America, thanks to lyrics like "Lucy looks sweet 'cause he dresses like a queen." This was the nature of glam rock, a style that emerged in England in the early '70s where singers performed in makeup and feminine clothes while playing bombastic rock songs. The performers were not necessarily gay, but they definitely blurred gender roles. Bowie may have been the biggest influence on glam rock.
  • After the first recording session for this song, Bowie thought it was lagging at the end. Mott lead singer Ian Hunter responded with the idea for the one-way conversation, which begins with him saying, "Hey, you down there, you with the glasses!"

    Said Hunter: "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."
  • Mott The Hoople released four albums before All The Young Dudes and their near demise. When this song was released, they quickly found a following in the UK and scored five more Top 40 hits before breaking up in 1974, with guitarist Mick Ralphs moving on to form Bad Company.
  • This was Mott The Hoople's only US Top 40 hit and their biggest hit in England. It is the only Mott The Hoople song many people have heard, but the band has a large following of fans who think they have a number of great songs, but were never appreciated.
  • In April of 1992, Mick Ronson, David Bowie, and Ian Hunter performed this song along with the surviving members of Queen at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert. It was especially symbolic because Queen was another great band from the glam rock era and then recently deceased lead singer Freddie Mercury had spent his life "carrying the news."
  • The lyrics were inspired by Bowie's vision of Mott the Hoople as a Clockwork Orange-style street gang.
  • The lyrics, "Lucy's stealing clothes from unlocked cars" were written as, "Lucy's stealing clothes from Marks and Sparks," Marks and Sparks being the nickname for the British store Marks & Spencer. Mott ran into the same problem The Kinks had with "Lola": The BCC refused to play songs if they thought it contained lyrics advertising a product. The Kinks had to turn "Just like Coca-Cola" to "Just like cherry cola" at the last minute, and Mott had to get rid of Marks and Sparks. At the insistence of their record company, Ian Hunter flew from New York to London to re-sing the line as "unlocked cars" before heading right back to America.
  • According to the Songfacts dictionary, a "dude" is a "fop or dandy" who lives in a big city. The word was first used in print in 1870, in Putnam's magazine. Other songs that incorporate the word in their title include Aerosmith's "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)," Jessie J's "Do It Like a Dude" and Kesha's "Paty At a Rich Dude's House."
  • In October 1973, after this song caught on, Mott The Hoople went on tour with a young Aerosmith as their opening act. Mott played up the Glam image to the hilt, enlisting former Spooky Tooth guitarist Luther Grosvenor to play with them and having wear outrageous platform shoes and go by the name Ariel Bender - "Bender" being British slang for homosexual. Aerosmith was a good choice to open for Mott, as their lead singer Steven Tyler had a similar fashion sense to Ian Hunter.
  • David Bowie recalled to Mojo magazine in 2002: "I literally wrote that within an hour or so of reading an article in one of the music rags that their breakup was imminent. I thought they were a fair little band, and I almost thought, 'This will be an interesting thing to do, let's see if I can write this song and keep them together.' It sounds terribly modest now, but you go through that when you're young."
  • British alt rockers World Party covered this for the Clueless soundtrack in 1995. In the movie, it plays as Cher (Alicia Silverstone) voices her disgust over modern teenage boys and their sloppy attire.

Comments: 54

  • Kjak from San FranciscoThere was no AIDs epidemic in 1972. Mott The Hoople was big on FM stations but never was an AM hitmaker.
  • Michele from New YorkI've been listening to this song for 35+ years and have always heard the "Marks and Sparks" lyric, never the "unlocked cars" one, hmmmm.
  • Will from Philadelphia Kevin- Nyc There was no AIDS epidemic in 1972. It's racing a cat to bed. Bowie wrote the song and denies that its about anything gay. T. Rex was a glam rock band.
  • Kevin from NycAll the young Dudes was about the AIDs epidemic of the time. The "young dudes" refer to gay men and "spreading the news" refers to the virus. Some of the other sexual references take a little more imagination. Racing a cab (older gay man) to bed. Concrete, t rex, use your imagination. DB was pretty creative.
  • Max from OxfordAs a Brit I can vouch that 'bender' as slang for homosexual is not at all a common term. The only time I have ever heard it in such a context was in episode 1, series 2 of tv's Blackadder. Luther changed his stage name for contractual reasons after joining MtH and 'aerial bender' was suggested to him by Ian Hunter who got the idea from the late Lynsey de Paul after she had seen Mick Ralphs bending car aerials in frustration whilst in Germany. 'Aerial' was quickly changed to 'Ariel'. Incidentally Lynsey provides the spoken bridge in 'Roll Away the Stone'.
  • Glenn from Melbourne, AustraliaThe song was always intended for Mott The Hoople, Bowie offered them Suffragette City because Dudes wasn't really finished at that time. The song had no intro when Bowie first did his vocal run through with the band, it was Mick Ralphs who wrote the famous intro piece. Hunter kept his audience rap in the song and they made it their own, the song was arranged and finished with Mott The Hoople and Bowie together. I doubt the song would've been anything more than just another Bowie song if he had just done it himself. The definitive version is the Mott The Hoople version , he again offered them Drive In Saturday which was written specifically to suit Hunter's vocal range, but they declined.
  • Paul from Rothesay, Nb, NbFor the idiot in Chicago. I said, "Even though he didn't write "Dudes", Ian Hunter is one of rock's greatest songwriters". Of course I know Bowie wrote the song.
  • Budoshi from Sandnessjøen, NorwayWhenever I think of Mott the Hoople, this song is the first in my mind:D
  • Marlene from Montreal, QcIt is kind of funny that they turned down "suffragette city" because it's a good song for them.
  • Micheal from Noneofyourbusiness, BelarusDoes anyone have any idea what the lyrics "gonna raise some counterfeit" mean ? I've always wondered...
    - Michael, Collingswood, NJ

    The line is actually, I believe, "gonna race some cat to bed." "Cat" in this context might mean "dude." David Bowie wrote the song, remember, and he was into androgeny and stuff. Another line from the song says "he dresses like a queen," and another song from this album is a cover version of "Sweet Jane" by the Velvet Underground, which features the line "Jack is in his corset, Jane's in her vest, and me, I'm in a rock n roll band.
  • Michael from Staten Island, NyI just heard the same version of the song on the radio and the radio said it was Mott the Hoople so I guess there isn't an Ozz Osbourne version of this song. However, I know for sure this song has a guitar solo in the middle of it, but everytime I hear this song on the radio is doesn't have the solo.
  • Michael from Staten Island, NyHas anyone heard anything about Ozzy Osbourne covering this? I swear once on the radio this song came on but it was definetly Ozzy's voice. The song was also different, like there was no guitar solo in the middle of the song, and after the two verses, they just repeated the chorus for a few minutes. Anybody help me with this one?
  • Michael from Collingswood, NjDoes anyone have any idea what the lyrics "gonna raise some counterfeit" mean ? I've always wondered...
  • Michelle from Linden, NjThis is such a great song! Before the 'Juno' movie, this song was in the movie 'Clueless', when Cher is complaining about high school boys and why she chooses not to date them!!!
  • Kevin from Los Angeles, CaTO Jeremy from RI..actually, the great guitar intro to MTH's version of ATYD was played by MTH's guitarist Mick Ralphs, who later was in the original Bad Co. Mick Ronson played guitar on MTH's last single "Saturday Gigs"
  • Marissa from Akron, OhI'm glad Juno introduced this song to people who might not have known it otherwise. Juno is a not-so-great movie with a GREAT soundtrack.
  • Melissa from Newtown, Paoh god i love it when bowie shares the magic.
  • Howard from St. Louis Park, MnThis was the song that saved Mott the Hoople from breaking up and it turned out to be their lone American hit. Thirty five years after All the Young Dudes was released, it turned up on the soundtrack of the Oscar nominated movie Juno.
  • Aaron from Boston, Mawhen i first heard this song on guitar hero aerosmith i thought it was a bout commiting suicide by hanging himself at age twenty five. When it syas carry the news i thought the lyrics were carry the nuse
  • Scott from Boston, MaThis song is featured in Guitar Hero: Aerosmith. Besides Aerosmith songs, it contains songs from artists that Aerosmith has toured with and artists that influenced the band.
  • Allie from A Little Ol' Town In, MiEveryone should know this song. This song is calling out a bunch of stars. The backup singing sounds like Bowie to me!!!!!!
  • Halloween Jack from St. Louis, MoI meant, what are the "stars" he is referring to in the line "Freddie's got spots from ripping of stars from his face."
  • Al from Cleveland, OhI got in trouble for stealing this album from my older sister back in '73. I traded her Edgar Winter's "They only come out at Night", boy did she get ripped off! I was 12 and bought every album they put out, yeah, Mad Shadows and Brain Capers too. I bought Ian Hunters paperback "Diary of a Rock 'n Roll Star", when I went to Ireland in '75, it changed my life. I gave up sports and learned how to play guitar. I've always felt "Cleveland Rocks" was Ian's way of paying me back for all the M.T.H. albums I've bought. It's my fantasy. But I'm a metal head now and they're always in my repetoire.
  • Paul from LondonIt is not true that Marks and Spencer wnated to sue: the lyrics were changed to "unlocked cars" in the Bowie version, because he thought Marks and Sparks would be unknown in the US.
  • Lester from New York City, NyH. Jack, the line seems pretty self explanatory
  • Halloween Jack from St. Louis, MoI've always wondered what the line "Freddie's got spots from ripping off the stars from his face" meant.
  • Lester from New York City, NyMott the Hoople remains a group I listen to often. First album (with 'Rock & Roll Queen' and instrumental version of 'You Really Got Me'), Mad Shadows, Brain Capers (with a great version of 'Darkness, Darkness'), ATYD (with the original version of 'Ready for Love), MOTT, and MTH Live are all great albums. I saw them on Halloween at Radio City Music Hall. Zacherly popped out of his coffin to introduce them (older New Yorkers will know who Zacherly is).
  • Michael from San Diego, CaJoe Elliott of Def Leppard has always listed Mott The Hoople as one of his favorite bands. He & Leppard guitarist Phil Collen joined Mick Ronson, David Bowie, Ian Hunter, & the surviving members of Queen onstage when they performed this song at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert.
  • Ocean from Amsterdam, NetherlandsFor the guy from Chicago who thinks that the guy in Canada thinks Bowie didnt write "Dudes": I think the guy from Canada says that Ian Hunter didn't write this song, but still is a great songwriter.
    You're right about that homework remark though...
  • Malcolm from Tauranga, New ZealandIan Hunter did a brilliant version of ATYD with Ringo Starr's Allstar Band, which also featured Sheila E, Greg Lake (ELP), Howard Jones, and Roger Hodgeson (from Supertramp). Actually sounds better then the original version!
  • August from Minneapolis, MnFollow up to previous comment: I heard that Paul Simon had to get permission from Kodak to use the word "Kodachrome" in his song by that name.
  • August from Minneapolis, MnI heard that Marks and Spencer ("Marks and Sparks") sued or was going to sue Mott the Hoople for using its name in the song, and that was why alternate wording ("unlocked cars") was later used. I heard a similar story regarding the song "Lola" by the Kinks, where "Coca Cola" was changed to "cherry cola."
  • Freddie from Chicago, IlFor the guy in Canada who thinks Bowie didnt write "Dudes":
    David Bowie had long been a fan of the band, and heard that they were about to split. Bowie convinced them to stay together, and offered them "Suffragette City" (off his then massively popular Ziggy Stardust). They refused the song and Bowie wrote "All the Young Dudes" for them instead. Released as a single in July 1972, it was a major success in the UK, with the band using Tippens to sing the higher notes of its chorus during live gigs. A Bowie-produced album, also called All the Young Dudes, sold well. Late in 1972 the band was going to record another Bowie song, "Drive-In Saturday", but their intended arrangement dissatisfied the composer, and their professional relationship effectively ended. Another casualty in the wake of All the Young Dudes was Verden Allen, who departed before the release of their next album, Mott.
    It's always best to do your homework before showing your ass to the whole world. With that aside, cool tune.
  • Jer from London, Canadacan someone tell me what this song means I have my own theroy but I am not going to say for fear of sounding stupid
  • Paul from Rothesay, New Brunswick , CanadaBowie is of course, a sheer genious. But I gotta say, even though he didn't write "Dudes", Ian Hunter is one of rock's greatest songwriters. He
    should be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
  • Nathan from Defiance, OhBowie is a musical genuis, thats undeniable
  • Kika from Nyc, NyBowie did this song by himself too, but I don't think it was half as good.
  • Jeremy from Warren , RiIm sure that Bowie didn't play guitar on this one, it was the best guitarist of the glam era, Mick Ronson.
  • Jeremy from Warren , RiT.Rex was the first to bring glam into the mainstream, being one of Bowies biggest influences,Bowie soon followed.
  • Mark from Hexham, EnglandThe Skids did a really cool cover of this fantastic song
  • Paul from Newton, NmI don't know how anybody else feels about it, but the reason I liked, and still like, MTH -- despite what was then my reactionary mindset and preference for non-glam rock, e.g., Tres Hombres-style ZZ Top -- was MTH's irony and refusal to take things seriously.

    "You gotta stay a young man, you can never grow old"
    "I changed my name in search of fame, to find the Midas touch. Oh, I wish I'd never wanted then what I want now twice as much. ... Rock'n'Roll's a loser's game, it mesmerizes and I can't explain the reason..."
    "You look like a star, but you're really out on parole."

    D'Oh! Gotta love it. On the other hand, I'm not sure Mick Ralphs got the joke. And "All The Young Dudes" is uncharacteristically serious, isn't it?

  • Ross from Independence, MoThis was #253 on Rolling Stone's list of 500 greatest songs
  • Duncan from Herefordshire, EnglandMott the Hoople rule! Pure and simple, and not just to people around in the 70s, im only 17 and I love them. Songs likeAll the Young Dudes, Cleveland Rocks, Drivin Sister, Sweet Jane, Roll away the Stone, all the way to Memphis (to name a few) are just total classics and should be remembered forever! So im going to have to carry the news to a new generation!
  • Stiv from Bathurst, CanadaI did hear Bruce Dickinson's version of this song and I thought it was great. Sounds a lot different from what we usually hear from Bruce.
  • Rob from Chicago, IlOzzy just did a cover of this tune on Prince of Darkness recently.
  • Paul from Rothesay, Nb, CanadaAnyone ever hear Bruce Dickinson's version of "All the Young Dudes"?
  • Daryl from Stoke, EnglandI prefer Bowies has better guitar licks...
  • Harvey from Jackson, Mithis track eventually was recorded by Bowie,but..stick to the Hoople version!'s much more superior!
  • Shana from Pembroke, CanadaI love this song!!! It doesnt make much sense to me, but its super good!
  • Teresa from Fishguard, WalesI've always wondered what the ad lib meant at the end of Mott The Hoople's live version of this song. The part where he sounds as if he's calling a young man (wearing glasses) to the front of the stage. I finally got the chance to ask an expert. Adrian runs a Mott The Hoople fan site. This is what he said:

    "I don't think Ian actually invites anyone down. The ad lib is just a development of what's on the studio version which was a take on the Billy Cotton Show (UK radio show in the 50's), where he is addressed by an alien in a spaceship. So when Ian says something like "Hey you there... with the glasses... I want you!" he's really addressing himself." He then went on to explain a difference in the lyrics. The version of the song that I own has the line "And Wendy's stealing clothes from Marks and Sparks" (slang for Marks and Spencer, a UK department store chain.) However, the lyrics you find most often on the internet have the line "And Wendy's stealing clothes from unlocked cars." This is what Adrian had to say:

    The 'unlocked cars' version is on a bootleg CDR, I think it is "Rarities", the first in the Handmade For Fans series. There's another story behind the rest of the ATYD rap. MTH knew immediately ATYD would be a hit and the comments were a kind of 'yah boo sucks' at their old label for giving up on them. "I've wanted to do this for years" (have a hit record) and "How do you feel, sick?" (we're successful now, and you
    ain't getting a penny!)."

  • Marty from Perth, AustraliaOne of the best songs of the early seventies. Typical Bowie.Went to see him in Melbourne in Feb. and he had us all singing along to it.Mott's other great song was "Honaloochie boogie"All the young dudes has probably one of the most exciting intros to a song, I can still see them on Top of the Pops back in September '72."Well Billy rapped all night......
  • Geoff from Adelaide, AustraliaMy introduction to this song was at a David Bowie concert in Adelaide. He got us to all sing it, and it really got the crowd excited.
  • Randy from Beaumont, TxMartyn you are soooooo right. If all lieteners know of Mott is "dudes".. mannnn, go back and catch up on their early stuff. Saw them in '70 with Traffic and Mountain in Houston.
  • Martyn from Walsall, Englandthe glorious mott the hoople towered above all the other glam bands of the time, they had there own songs, image, and a live following that most bands of the time would have killed for .mott and the hoople albums really put them on the map and in the pop charts who can forget honaloochie boogie , all the way from memphis etc.long may their name live on ! THE MOTTSTER !
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