Brian Eno once said, “I was talking to Lou Reed the other day, and he said that Velvet Underground’s first record only sold 30,000 copies in its first five years. Still, it was an extremely important record for so many people. I think everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies created a band! So, it seems fitting that when David Bowie raised Mott the Hoople from the heap of history’s ashes, they opened their phoenix record with a cover of “Sweet Jane.”
It would seem that in hindsight, Velvet fanatic David Bowie was determined not to see the Hoople become the last rock ‘n’ roll suicide whose flame was extinguished before their moonlit moment ended. arrived. At first, he offered them the unpublished ‘Suffragette City’. They refused it. Then he offered them “All the Young Dudes”. They agreed, and the rest, as they say, is history.
As well as saving a band he admired, Bowie did so as a way to move Svengali music in a more exotic direction. Mott the Hoople were trying to do Something, and their glamorous approach may not have been realized at this point, but Bowie saw something brilliant in it. Thus, it represented for him a new creative avenue.
This movement is key to understanding how Bowie approached his work. “I never ignored my strength as an interpretive performer,” he once said, “but writing a song for me never rang true. I had no problem writing something for, or working with Lou Reed, or write for Mott the Hoople. I can get into their mood and what they want to do, but I find it extremely difficult to write for myself.
As a producer, Bowie is vastly underrated (I’m still of the opinion that Iggy Pop’s “Nightclubbing” still features some of the best production work of all time), but that wasn’t the heart of his involvement on this occasion. All the young guysskyrockets on sex appeal and that cheeky sense of sexiness is one area Bowie would purr his own. Thunderingly fresh, the album heralded the collision of glam rock with Black Sabbath beef in a mighty fist.
With only eight tracks, All the young guys offers a whirlwind of freshness. It’s a choppy affair, the lyrics don’t always land, and some parts feel weirdly derivative in retrospect, but there’s also a weird foreknowledge for it in so many different areas – it’s like an assortment of what was to come . And it’s a marvel for Saturday.
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