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Mott the Hoople’s Mick Ralphs Remembers How David Bowie ‘Saved Our Bacon’

Mott the Hoople
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Scoring a big hit is a life-changing event for any artist, but for Mott the Hoople, their career-defining cover of David Bowie‘s ‘All the Young Dudes’ came at a particularly crucial moment.

Guitarist Mick Ralphs looked back on that period in the band’s history during 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 ended with them performing in “this club that was a converted gas tank, apparently.”

Understandably, the members of the group were somewhat disillusioned after that experience. “We said, ‘Is this really all there is to our lives? This is pretty sad. We don’t seem to be getting to where we wanted to get — why don’t we go home and do something else?,’” admitted Ralphs. “The thing was we didn’t know how to write a hit record.”

Their problem was solved when Bowie came calling with the gift of a career. According to Ralphs, he told the band, “Please don’t split up — but if you must, please listen to my song and consider doing it.” After hearing the song, they knew they had no choice; as Ralphs remembers it, “We said, ‘Bloody hell, this is a hit – this is what we’ve been looking for for years.’ It really saved our bacon.”

Although it’s been decades since the band recorded any new material, they’re still a going concern; this November, they’ll follow their well-received 2009 reunion shows with another run of U.K. dates. “We’re going to do some songs we didn’t do in 2009. I said to Ian Hunter, ‘Let’s do some more recent stuff from your solo career that would fit,’” Ralphs revealed. “What we don’t want to do is do what we just did in 2009. Last time, we did that little acoustic set, which was sweet. We’ll have to come up with something good.”

Next: Top 10 Mott the Hoople Songs

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