"As an album it's pretty good but as a handbook for Mott's future it's fantastic": Mott The Hoople's All The Young Dudes (50th Anniversary Edition)

Mott The Hoople's David Bowie produced 1972 classic receives the now traditional 50th Anniversary remastered makeover (with bonus tracks)

All The Young Dudes (50th Anniversary Edition) cover art
(Image: © Madfish)

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Hard to believe that it’s 50 years since Mott The Hoople, tired of slogging around the circuit for no reward, decided to split up. Of course, it’s also 50 years since David Bowie stepped in at literally the last minute and offered the band a new song, All The Young Dudes (after they’d famously turned down Suffragette City), changing the band’s fortunes for ever. 

Dudes is one of the great rock anthems, the glam rock Like A Rolling Stone, and the perfect song for Mott, who may have been a bit old for the sentiments (Mott were more like the brother back at home with his Beatles and his Stones than the glittered-up kids in the song), but brought to it a grungey soul (and a world-beating talk-over finale by Hunter) that Bowie’s version lacked. 

Bowie himself would move on after the band turned down his follow-up offer of Drive-In Saturday (causing him to shave off his eyebrows in a sulk, he later claimed) but then 1972 was his great year (as well as Dudes, Bowie also had the Ziggy album and Lou Reed’s Transformer under his belt).

Dudes was the band’s biggest hit and the new album, on new label CBS with shiny production by Bowie and his sideman Mick Ronson, fell into place with ease. Lou Reed turned up to be impressed by Mott’s version of his Sweet Jane. Mick Ralphs introduced both the hefty Ready For Love and the great One Of The Boys (later recycled as Can’t Get Enough for Bad Company). 

Ian Hunter wrote Sea Diver, one of the greatest of his great ballads. As an album it’s pretty good but as a handbook for Mott’s future – mixing the Dylan-sings-Stones heaviness of their late 60s work with the pop snap of early 70s glam to create something new – it’s fantastic: better Mott The Hoople albums would follow, but All The Young Dudes is the template for everything that followed, even down to releasing Ian Hunter’s hitherto unknown talent for writing classic three minute singles.

The extras here on this double vinyl set (there's also a limited edition 5-disc deluxe box edition) are mostly familiar – different takes and so forth – but fans will delight in the "Tippens Tracks", rocking covers sung by road manager and original Mott vocalist Stan Tippins on a night when Bowie didn’t turn up and the band didn’t want to waste studio time. 

David Quantick

David Quantick is an English novelist, comedy writer and critic, who has worked as a journalist and screenwriter. A former staff writer for the music magazine NME, his writing credits have included On the HourBlue JamTV Burp and Veep; for the latter of these he won an Emmy in 2015.