Scoring a big hit is a life-changing event for any artist, but for Mott the Hoople, their cover of David Bowie’s “All the Young Dudes” came at a particularly crucial time.
Guitarist Mick Ralphs looked back at this time in the band’s history in a recent interview with TeamRock Radio (via Classic Rock Magazine), recalling how the song came to them after “an unrewarding and disappointing European tour” that s ‘finished with them in “this club that was a converted gas tank, apparently.”
Naturally, the members of the group were somewhat disillusioned after this experience. “We said, ‘Is that really all there is in our lives? It’s pretty sad. We don’t seem to get to where we wanted to go – why don’t we go home and do something else? Ralphs admitted. “The thing is, we didn’t know how to write a hit record.”
Their problem was solved when Bowie came with the gift of a career. According to Ralphs, he told the band, “Please don’t go your separate ways, but if you have to listen to my song and consider doing it.” After hearing the song, they knew they had no choice; as Ralphs remembers, “We said, ‘Damn, this is a hit – that’s what we’ve been looking for for years. It really saved our bacon. “
Even though it has been decades since the band recorded any new material, they are still active; in November, they will follow their well-received reunion concerts in 2009 with another round of UK dates. “We’re going to do songs that we didn’t do in 2009. I said to Ian Hunter, ‘Let’s do some newer stuff from your solo career that would be fine,’” Ralphs revealed. “What we don’t want to do is do what we just did in 2009. Last time we did this little acoustic set, which was cool. We’ll have to find something good.”