The music for the song was composed by Carmine Appice, Duane Hitchings, and Kevin Savigar, with lyrics written by Stewart. The song, which was released as the first single from Tonight I’m Yours, was produced with synthesizers and a hi-hat played over a drum machine. On the Billboard Hot 100, "Young Turks" debuted at no. 61 on 17 October 1981 and peaked at no. 5 on 19 December 1981 – 9 January 1982. The song peaked at no. 11 on the UK Singles Chart and also was a top 5 hit in Australia, Belgium, Israel (no. 1) and Canada. Released a few months after MTV went on the air, it was the first video they played that contained breakdancing aka b-boying.
The video, directed by Russell Mulcahy and choreographed by Kenny Ortega, was filmed in the central downtown area of Los Angeles in the summer of 1981. The runaway couple ("Billy", played by Dale Pauley, and "Patti", played by Elizabeth Daily) mentioned in the song is juxtaposed by a group of dancers who seemingly intermix with them throughout the video. About 14 seconds after the start of the video, Billy emerges from one floor above the now long abandoned Licha's Santa Fe Grill, in reality at the northwest corner of 7th and Santa Fe Streets in Los Angeles, and descends a ladder before dropping the last few feet down to the street. A little more than one-third of the way through the song, Billy and Patti are shoved toward the entrance of the Hotel Hayward, in reality at the west corner of 6th and Spring Streets, again in Los Angeles, between a mile and a half and two miles to the northwest. The dancers eventually end up in a railway yard just to the east of the grill, to where the couple has returned and Rod Stewart is singing the last half of the song.
Stewart's videotaped rooftop performance of the song in Los Angeles (different from the aforementioned music video) appeared about one-third of the way through Dick Clark's three-hour American Bandstand 30th Anniversary Special Episode on 30 October 1981.