Saturday, September 8, 2012

40 Year Itch All The Young Dudes


Mott The Hoople had practically thrown in the towel for reasons previously discussed when bassist Pete Overend got a call from David Bowie offering Mott  "Suffragette City". Hours after Overend idiotically declined, Bowie called back with a new song he had written, a glam rock anthem that would revive Mott.  The single "All The Young Dudes" was released in July of 1972 and  peaked at #3 in the UK and #37 in the US.

On September 8, 1972 the Bowie produced album All The Young Dudes, one of my favorite albums of all time, was released. I knew nothing of Bowie swooping in to save the band. I just heard greatness.I found a cassette copy of the album in a Reno pawn shop. There was no case. No cover. I made my own cover using the bubblegum card photo of Elvis sailing.

Well, it is better than the album cover Mott used.And surprisingly, not that different from the originally planned cover photo -shot by Mick Rock. It might have been one of the seminal rock n roll photos of all time had it been used. No one from Mick to Ian Hunter can remember why it wasn't.

All The Young Dudes has one of the greatest A sides in rock history. It's also extremely sexual with sadists, evil mothers, schoolgirls in need of "reincelibation", a black man's balls and a singer who's been wanting to do "this" for years.

    It kicks off with a cover of the Velvet Underground's "Sweet Jane" written by Lou Reed who was also in the process of getting a make-over from Bowie. The result would be Transformer and  the single "Walk On The Wild Side".

Love the second cut, "Momma's Little Jewel", with its false beginning ( that's Bowie supposedly saying "Don't stop ...No...Carry on" and playing the dissonant sax at the end) and made up word: "Don't know why but I'm gonna try/ to reincelibate you ".

That's followed by the glorious title track and then another favorite of mine, "Sucker" , with its opening line " Hi there, your friendly neighborhood sadist want to take you for a ride".

The great "A" side ends with "Jerkin' Crocus", the Sticky Fingered tale of an aggressive "nads puller". There's the oft quoted line "I know what you want, just a lick from an ice cream cone." Jesus the riffs on this one!

It's a shame Side Two can't keep up the momentum. It's probably mostly noted for the single "One Of The Boys" and the first appearance of "Ready For Love" which Mick Ralphs would take with him when he joined Bad Company after 1973's classic Mott. Yes, a lot of fans say the best was yet to come for Mott The Hoople but All The Young Dudes will always be my favorite.

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