The release

Mott The Hoople’s version of ‘All The Young Dudes’ was released as a single on 28 July 1972.

Its b-side was ‘One of the Boys’, written by Ian Hunter and Mick Ralphs from the band.

The single was a hit for the band, reaching number three on the UK singles chart. In the US it peaked at number 37, while in Canada it reached number 31, both in November 1972.

The success of the single and album temporarily put paid to intra-band talks of splitting up, and they enjoyed a string of further hits, although none were as successful as ‘All The Young Dudes’.

In 1998 a Mott The Hoople box set, All The Young Dudes: The Anthology, was released. This included a new mix of the song with Bowie’s guide vocal over the band’s studio backing track. It was also included in a 2006 reissue of the All The Young Dudes album.

Bowie’s own studio recording of the song was left off the Aladdin Sane album. It wasn’t until 1995’s grey market release RarestOneBowie that it was finally released.

Thereafter it was included on the compilation The Best of David Bowie 1969/1974 and some countries’ versions of Best of Bowie.

Bowie’s recording was also included on 2003’s 30th anniversary reissue of Aladdin Sane, and on the later compilations Nothing Has Changed and Legacy.

A new arrangement of ‘All The Young Dudes’ was included in Bowie’s 2015 stage musical Lazarus. In the early shows it was performed by Nicholas Christopher, Lynn Craig, Michael Esper and Sophia Anne Caruso, who also recorded it for the following year’s Original Cast Recording album.

Move On

In September 1978, during the recording sessions for the Lodger album, Bowie experimented with new forms of songwriting. These included writing the songs ‘Boys Keep Swinging’ and ‘Fantastic Voyage’ in the same key with the same chords and structure, though with different tempos and instruments; and repurposing the backing track of Iggy Pop’s ‘Sister Midnight’ for the closing song ‘Red Money’.

Another song, ‘Move On’, was based on ‘All The Young Dudes’. Bowie played the 1972 song backwards and asked guitarist Carlos Alomar to write down the chords. He then instructed the studio musicians to play the new sequences.

Once the backing track was recorded, producer Tony Visconti flipped the tape around and recorded Bowie singing the chorus tune of ‘All The Young Dudes’, so the melody was reversed when played back normally.

One of the best experiments had accidentally begun with David playing Mott The Hoople’s recording of ‘All The Young Dudes’ backwards at home and asking Carlos to jot down the chords in the studio. After jamming on the chords for a bit the song ‘Move On’ evolved from the results. For backing vocals we tried various ideas that were OK, like the high vocals singing under the lyrics ‘Somewhere in a place like that’. But it occurred to me that if we played ‘Move On’ backward, by flipping the multi-track tape over, we’d hear the chords of All The Young Dudes in the correct order, but with all the instruments sounding backwards – very disarming! Listening a few times backwards we learned where to come in with the melody of ‘All The Young Dudes’.

I know, this is hard to follow, but when we flipped the tape over back to normal we heard those bizarre vocals that are now in the instrument breaks and under the lyrics, ‘Somewhere, someone’s calling me and when the chips are down…’ You’ll understand clearly if you have the means to play a music file backwards in a computer program. You’ll hear it!

Tony Visconti, April 2017
A New Career In A New Town (1977-1982) book

Listen to ‘Move On’ reversed: