'All The Young Dudes' - Mott The Hoople

Writer: David Bowie

Producer: David Bowie

Recorded: May 14th, 1972, at Olympic Studios in London, England

Released: Fall 1972

Players: Ian Hunter -- vocals, guitar, piano
Mick Ralphs -- guitar, vocals
Overend Watts -- bass
Verden Allen -- organ
Dale "Buffin" Griffin -- drums
Mick Ronson -- arranger
Album: All The Young Dudes (Columbia, 1972)

Mott The Hoople had been kicking around for three years and four albums, with only modest success, prior to breaking through commercially with All The Young Dudes.

Frustrated with their commercial lot at the time, Mott had actually disbanded before hooking up with David Bowie, who gave the band "All The Young Dudes." The collaboration came from a call bassist Overend Watts made to Bowie, looking for work. Instead, Bowie suggested Mott record some of his songs.

Bowie originally offered the bad "Suffragette City," but frontman Ian Hunter turned it down, saying, "It wasn't good enough." When Bowie played "All The Young Dudes," Hunter said, "I knew immediately that was it. I'd been waiting all my life to hear something like that."

Mott also tried to get "Drive-In Saturday" from Bowie, but he wouldn't give it up. He did convince Mott to record Lou Reed's "Sweet Jane" for the All The Young Dudes album, though.

Besides hooking up with Bowie as a producer and songwriter, Mott also signed on with Bowie's management company.

"Dudes" and another track for the album, "One Of The Boys," were recorded in secret, since Mott was just extricating themselves from a contract with Island Records at the time.

When recording "Dudes," Mott did take some liberties with the acoustic arrangement Bowie presented them. "I heard it as an anthem, and I think that goes for all of Mott The Hoople," said drummer Dale "Buffin" Griffin. "I'm not sure David thought of it that way, and this is probably why our approach to it worked so well. It sounded like a great rallying call to all the disaffected and dispossessed youth, worldwide.''

Hunter's rap at the end of the song was inspired by a run-in with a heckler at one of the group's shows.

"Dudes'' was labeled as a gay anthem, but Hunter says that's always baffled the band. "I never saw anything all that sexual about 'Dudes' as a lyric. I know it sounds daft, but to me it was just a great song. I just did the rap to brighten the song up a bit. After 'Dudes,' we were considered instant fags. It was comical. A lot of gays followed us around, especially in America. We were scared at first because we all happened to be straight, but then we started talking to people and there wasn't anybody pushing you."

Another controversy involving the song was a line about "stealing clothes from Marks And Sparks," which the British retailer feared would encourage fans to do just that. The reference was later changed to "unmarked cars."

"Dudes" was Mott's one and only Top 40 hit in the U.S., peaking at Number 37 on the Billboard Hot 100. It peaked at Number Three on the British pop chart.

The Dudes album reached Number 89 on the Billboard 200 and Number 21 in the U.K.