Billy rapped all night about his suicide
How he'd kick it in the head when he was twenty-five
Don't wanna stay alive when you're twenty-five

Wendy's stealing clothes from unlocked cars
Freddy's got spots from ripping off stars from his face
Funky little boat race
The television man is crazy
Saying we're juvenile delinquent wrecks
Man, I need a TV when I've got T. Rex
Hey brother, you guessed, I'm a dude

All the young dudes
Carry the news
Boogaloo dudes
Carry the news

All the young dudes
Carry the news
Boogaloo dudes
Carry the news

Now Jimmy looking sweet though he dresses like a queen
He can kick like a mule
It's a real mean team
We can love
We can love
And my brother's back at home
With his Beatles and his Stones
We never got if off on that revolution stuff
What a drag
Too many snags
Well I drunk a lot of wine
And I'm feeling fine
Gonna race some cat to bed
Is this concrete all around
Or is it in my head
Oh brother, you guessed, I'm a dude

All the young dudes
Carry the news
Boogaloo dudes
Carry the news

All the young dudes
Carry the news
Boogaloo dudes
Carry the news

All the young dudes
Carry the news
Boogaloo dudes
Carry the news

All the young dudes
Carry the news
Boogaloo dudes
Carry the news

All the young dudes
Carry the news
Boogaloo dudes
Carry the news

All the young dudes
Carry the news
Boogaloo dudes
Carry the news

All the young dudes
Carry the news
Boogaloo dudes
Carry the news

All the young dudes
Carry the news
Boogaloo dudes
Carry the news


Lyrics submitted by typo, edited by ALBRIGHTON, jwdrummer, drewxs, JimbobAlbobjim

All The Young Dudes Lyrics as written by David Bowie

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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All the Young Dudes song meanings
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49 Comments

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  • +13
    General Comment

    This song is not a "gay anthem." Bowie, and Mott the Hoople, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Marc Bolan, etc, et al, were Glam rockers. Glam was neither gay nor straight. It was a refutation of sexual stereotypes. The movement said, "It doesn't matter what I look like. I can wear a dress and be a man, or a suit and be a woman. I don't care what you think of me, and I will wear makeup if I want." Glam rock was an offshoot of the rebelious hippie movement, and paved the way for the metal image in the 80s. 80s bands like Poison, Montley Crue, Guns and Roses --- long haired guys, wearing makeup and possessing a general "F.U." attitude towards the establishment. Some of the Glam rockers were bisexual (though certainly not all of them), and that was yet another way of thumbing their noses at the people in charge. Just like the hippies of the previous decade had done pot and acid, and had "free love," in order to piss off their parents. The glam generation kicked it up a notch. They had "free love," as well -- regardless of gender -- and they graduated to harder drugs - more club-type varieties - speed and amyl nitrate amongst them.

    Anyway, Bowie sings backup on Mott the Hoople's version of this song (you can clearly hear him singing the main hook, "All the young dudes..." etc...)

    I have to agree with others here, who are complimenting Mott the Hoople. It's a shame they were only a one-hit wonder, because so much of their other stuff deserves more credit, too.

    Sir_Larrikinon May 03, 2006   Link
  • +8
    My Opinion

    Mott the Hoople's version of this song came out back in 1972. I was 13 years old, and I remember the first time I heard it on the radio - it sounded so weird and different from everything else on the radio. That strange chord sequence and the odd chorus anthem with those singalong glam vocals. Back then, radio stations had real humans spinning songs, and somehow this song got just enough attention to get played a few times among all the pop star Carpenters, Jim Croce and Harry Chapins of that era. Eventually it became a very minor radio hit here in the US, barely making it into the top 40 for a week or two. But that was enough for the local K-Mart to carry the 45 single, so I used my allowance that week to buy it, so I could listen to it all summer long. I could never really understand the words except "all the young dudes, carry the news" and something about T.Rex (Bang A Gong was my other favorite song that year) and Beatles and Stones, but it didn't matter. It was the sound and the look - I found a Creem magazine with pics of Mott and Bowie and Bolan and all the British glam rock stars splashed everywhere on the pages. I just went nuts over it all.

    zosanon December 04, 2011   Link
  • +7
    General Comment

    JUst to clue in some American posters to the lyric

    Marks and Sparks - a retail shop ( its actually called Marks and Spencer ) and is a little like a department store.

    Boat race - Rythming slang for 'face'

    I was in the same crowd as Ian Hunter from this period ( and Bowie for that matter ) its really a pastiche of street life.

    Billy talking all night about suicide while being on 'speed'. They dont need TV because they have T-Rex - I'm never sure if thats ironic or fandom there.

    Jimmy looks sweet because he's probably male prostitute or effiminate gay but he can fight hard - not all gays have limp wrists and I used to know a few like that in London in the 70s.

    The late 70s turned their backs on stuff like Lennon and the Beatles and talk of revolution and settled down to get stoned and just have fun being weird.

    Concrete all around - its a townpersons view of England in the 70s when there were vast construction projects turning our inner cities into concrete blocks - or it in in my head - because it was ghastly it was hard to believe it was real.

    clairep1962on January 23, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    Bowie wrote the song for Mott the Hoople. its originally a part of the Ziggy Stardust story:

    ""The time is five years to go before the end of the earth. It has been announced that the world will end because of lack of natural resources. Ziggy is in a position where all the kids have access to things that they thought they wanted. The older people have lost all touch with reality and the kids are left on their own to plunder anything. Ziggy was in a rock-and-roll band and the kids no longer want rock-and-roll. There's no electricity to play it. Ziggy's adviser tells him to collect news and sing it, 'cause there is no news. So Ziggy does this and there is terrible news. 'All the young dudes' is a song about this news. It's no hymn to the youth as people thought. It is completely the opposite. "

    THe_Atomic_Punkon September 22, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    And "boat race" is London slang for "face".

    He's saying "he has a funky little face"

    cj11477193on November 10, 2015   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    It's just a man in his life, out on the tiles trying to escape the rather boring home world with his non revolutionary brother.

    It is really just a rally cry for the youth.

    Koncordeon September 04, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    marcevan, where did you get this infomation from? Every Bowie fan knows that David wrote this and then let Mott the Hoople sing it...he didn't get to cover it cus its his song. He was originally gonna give them Suffragette City, but they refused it, so he gave them All the Young Dudes instead. The "correct" lyrics are still David's, and also, different from the correct lyrics of this version in a few ways

    PtolemyKittyon August 21, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I've heard this is not only an anthem for young gay males, but for old ones......

    lilith2on July 12, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    The song is part of the Ziggy Stardust story. Bowie offered them either this track, or Suffragette City, and they chose this.

    The characters in the song are basically Ziggy Stardust fans. And he's telling them to carry his message.

    cj11477193on November 10, 2015   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    R.I.P. David Bowie.

    I always thought the opening stanza had a Bruce Springsteen-ish feel to it.

    SusanBassPlayeron January 11, 2016   Link

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