All the Young Dudes

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"All the Young Dudes"
Alltheyoungdudes sing.jpg
Single by Mott the Hoople
from the album All the Young Dudes
B-side"One of the Boys"
Released28 July 1972[1]
Format7" single
RecordedMay 1972
GenreGlam rock
Length(3:32) (LP Version)
(4:25) (Non-fadeout Version)
Songwriter(s)David Bowie
Producer(s)David Bowie
Mott the Hoople singles chronology
"All the Young Dudes"
"One of the Boys"
Music video
Mott The Hoople - All the Young Dudes (audio) on YouTube

"All the Young Dudes" is a song written by English musician David Bowie, originally recorded and released as a single by Mott the Hoople in 1972. In 2004, Rolling Stone rated "All the Young Dudes" No. 253 in its list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and on its 2010 update was ranked at number 256. It is also one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.


Regarded as one of glam rock's anthems,[2][3] 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 the band rejected his first offer of a composition, "Suffragette City" (which later appeared on The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars), Bowie wrote "All the Young Dudes" in short order especially for them, allegedly sitting cross-legged on the floor of a room in London's Regent Street, in front of the band's lead singer, Ian Hunter.[4]

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 stars T. Rex and contained references to The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.[4] NME editors Roy Carr and Charles Shaar Murray have described the track as "one of that rare breed: rock songs which hymn the solidarity of the disaffected without distress or sentimentality".[2]

Bowie himself once claimed that the song was not intended to be an anthem for glam, that it actually 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 newscaster was carrying in the song "Five Years" from Ziggy Stardust; the news being the fact that the Earth had only five years left to live. Bowie explains: "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."[5] "All the Young Dudes" is also thought of as a gay anthem.[6] Lou Reed said "It's a Gay Anthem! A rallying call to the young dudes to come out in the streets and show that they were beautiful and gay and proud of it."[7] The song contains the line "And Wendy's stealing clothes from Marks & Sparks", Marks & Sparks being a British colloquialism for the shop chain, Marks & Spencer.

Release and aftermath[edit]

Mott the Hoople's single was released in July 1972 and made No. 3 in the UK Singles Chart,[8] No. 37 in the US (in November), and No. 31 in Canada (also in November), and appeared on their album of the same name in September of that year. In November 1972, Bowie introduced the band on stage at the Tower near Philadelphia and performed the song with Hunter (released on All the Way from Stockholm to Philadelphia in 1998 and the expanded version of All The Young Dudes in 2006).

The original Mott the Hoople release had to be changed lyrically in order that it might be played on UK radio and TV. The line in the second verse: "Wendy's stealing clothes from Marks and Sparks" was a reference to UK retailer Marks & Spencer, also known by that colloquialism. As such, air play of the song in its original form would have breached broadcasting regulations relating to advertising in force at the time. The line was replaced with: "Wendy's stealing clothes from unlocked cars".

Bowie took to performing "All the Young Dudes" on his Ziggy Stardust Tour, and a medley version appears on the album Ziggy Stardust – The Motion Picture, the live recording of the last Ziggy show that was finally released officially in 1983. Bowie's first released version of the song was in 1974 on David Live. Bowie had also offered "Drive-In Saturday" to Mott the Hoople following "All the Young Dudes", but they turned down this offer, at least partially owing to the then-current success of their own "Honaloochie Boogie".[9] According to an anecdote by Bowie on the VH1 Storytellers (2009) album (track 7), his annoyance at the rejection prompted Bowie to shave his eyebrows while in Florida.

In 1992, twenty years after their duet in Philadelphia, Bowie and Hunter again performed the song together with the surviving members of Queen, Mick Ronson, and Def Leppard's Joe Elliott and Phil Collen at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert. The song was also featured during the Outside Tour as well as the A Reality Tour, and is included on the video and audio releases of the latter.

Bowie's own studio version, recorded in December 1972[10] during the sessions for Aladdin Sane, went unreleased until 1995 when it appeared in mono on the album RarestOneBowie. It was subsequently included, again in mono, on The Best of David Bowie 1969/1974, the 2-disc U.S. version of Best of Bowie, and the 30th Anniversary edition of Aladdin Sane. A stereo version, which is around a minute shorter than the mono version, circulated unofficially among collectors and finally saw official release in November 2014 on Bowie's Nothing Has Changed compilation set. There also exists a version consisting of the backing track for Mott the Hoople's version with Bowie's guide vocal. A variant of this version, combining Bowie's vocal on the verses with Ian Hunter's on the chorus, was released on the 2006 reissue of All the Young Dudes. Bowie also used the music in reverse as the basis for "Move On," a track on his 1979 album, Lodger.

"All the Young Dudes" was featured in the 1995 film Clueless, the 2007 Jason Reitman film Juno and the 2008 film The Wackness. It is also used in Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's 2010 film, Cemetery Junction.[11]


List Publisher Rank Year of Publication
500 Greatest Songs of All Time Rolling Stone 256 2010
500 Songs That Shaped Rock Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 253 1995
The 20 best glam-rock songs of all time[12] The Guardian 5 2013

7" single track listing[edit]

  1. "All the Young Dudes" (David Bowie) – 3:32
  2. "One of the Boys" (Mick Ralphs, Ian Hunter) – 6:46


Cover versions[edit]

"All the Young Dudes" has been covered by many artists as album tracks, B-sides and in live performances.

Bruce Dickinson (of Iron Maiden) released the song as a single in 1990, which became a minor hit in the UK, peaking at number 23 in the UK singles chart.[13] The song also features on his first solo album,Tattooed Millionaire.

World Party covered the track on the soundtrack to the 1995 movie Clueless.

Hello covered the song in their 1996 album, Glam Rockers.

Valensia covered the song on his 2004 album, Queen Tribute.

Ozzy Osbourne covered the song on his 2005 cover album Under Cover, with guest vocals from Ian Hunter.

A cover version of the song by Russian post-punk band Shortparis is featured in the 2018 rock film Leto.

Lisa Loeb released a version of the song through online music sites in 2019; she had previously performed her version on a Howard Stern show tribute to David Bowie.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 45cat - Mott The Hoople - All The Young Dudes / One Of The Boys - CBS - UK - CBS S 8271
  2. ^ a b Roy Carr & Charles Shaar Murray (1981). Bowie: An Illustrated Record: p.117
  3. ^ Betts, Stephen. "Mott the Hoople, 'All the Young Dudes' - 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  4. ^ a b David Buckley (2005). Strange Fascination – David Bowie: The Definitive Story: p.131
  5. ^ Copetas, Craig (28 February 1974). "Beat Godfather Meets Glitter Mainman". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  6. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "About Mott The Hoople". MTV. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  7. ^ Goddard, Simon (2013). Ziggyology. Random House. p. 226. ISBN 9781448118465.
  8. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 381. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  9. ^ Pegg, Nicholas (2016). The Complete David Bowie: New Edition: Expanded and Updated. London: Titan Books. ISBN 978-1-7856-5533-3.
  10. ^ Kevin Cann (2010). Any Day Now - David Bowie: The London Years: 1947-1974: p.277
  11. ^ "Ricky Gervais on the Cemetery Junction soundtrack". The Guardian. 9 April 2010.
  12. ^ Savage, Jon (1 February 2013). "The 20 best glam-rock songs of all time". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 September 2019.
  13. ^ "BRUCE DICKINSON | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Retrieved 24 August 2019.

External links[edit]