“All the Young Dudes” by Mott the Hoople

A seemingly almost nonsensical novelty song by cheesy one-hit wonder band Mott the Hoople, this song actually makes perfect sense in its original context…it was originally written by the great David Bowie, and was intended to be part of his legendary album Rock Opera The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. People would probably have a completely different attitude about this goofy novelty song from the Seventies if they knew that the ‘young dudes’ in question are living in a world they know is going to end within five years, and that they are pretty much running wild because all the adults have simply withdrawn from reality. As Bowie once observed in an interview, this is not really the hymn to youth that it seems on the surface, but a testament to the destructive power of youth’s selfishness, shortsightedness and wastefulness. Despite the cheerful music, it’s actually quite dark and disturbing when you really pay attention to the lyrics and fit them into the Ziggy Stardust universe, although that subtext is much more evident in Bowie’s own rendition of the song than in Mott the Hoople’s cover. If this song had actually made it onto the album, it would be taken far more seriously, but as it is, most people don’t look closely enough to see its real meaning, which is a shame.

Verdict: Much more interesting than it is generally given credit for.

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