Every week, Rich Terfry looks back in our Rear-view Mirror at a great song from the good ol’ days. This week, how David Bowie helped the careers of Iggy Pop and Mott the Hoople.
This is the story of how David Bowie saved rock 'n roll for two legendary acts. He rescued Iggy Pop in 1983 and ten years earlier, he did it for Mott the Hoople.
In 1983, Iggy Pop was regarded as a rock 'n roll legend, but he was broke. Due to a combination of bad luck and bad decisions, Iggy had never really been financially stable. But his long-time friend and collaborator David Bowie changed that. Bowie offered to record a song they had written together six years previous and release it as a single. The song was "China Girl" and it was a worldwide smash for Bowie in '83.
Receiving a big chunk of the royalties as co-writer of the song, Iggy Pop was now financially stable for the first time in his life. This may seem like an unbelievably generous gesture on the part of David Bowie, but it wasn't the first time he'd done this kind of thing.
In 1972, David Bowie had a chance encounter with Peter Watts, bass player for the band Mott the Hoople. Watts explained to Bowie that the band was about to call it quits due to a lack of commercial success. Bowie asked if he could help out, but his offer was rejected... at first.
He was a big fan and insisted on giving the band a helping hand. According to legend, he got together with the band's lead singer Ian Hunter in a hotel room in London. As Hunter looked on, Bowie sat cross-legged on the floor and wrote a song in a matter of minutes. When he was done, he handed over a song called "All The Young Dudes."
The song was an anthem for the glam generation and a doomsday warning. It struck a chord with the public and was a giant hit for Mott The Hoople, reaching number three on the charts. The band never had a bigger hit, but they did enjoy several more years of success before finally calling it quits for good in 1980.
The song that made Mott The Hoople rich and famous with a helping hand from David Bowie: "All The Young Dudes."
Listen to the entire audio version of Rear-View Mirror by hitting the play button below.
Here are some other great editions of Rear-view Mirror:
Beach Boys "Sloop John B"
Amy Winehouse "Rehab"
New York Dolls "Personality Crisis"
Modern Lovers "Roadrunner"
George Jones "He Stopped Loving Her Today"
Bruce Springsteen "Born in the USA"
The Beatles "With A Little Help From My Friends"
Rolling Stones 'Miss You'
The Coasters 'Run Red Run'
Elvis Costello, 'Alison'
James Brown, 'Hot (I Need to be loved loved loved)'
Inner Circle, 'Tenement Yard'
Ray Charles, 'I Don't Need No Doctor'
Curtis Mayfield, 'Freddy's Dead'
Gang Starr, 'Beyond Comprehension'
Bo Diddley, 'Bo Diddley'
Aretha Franklin, 'Rocksteady'
CCR, 'Have You Ever Seen the Rain'
Howlin' Wolf, 'Smokestack Lightning'
Bobby Womack, 'Across 110th Street'
Roy Orbison, 'In Dreams'
Foggy Hogtown Boys, 'Man of Constant Sorrow'
Pink Floyd, 'Wish You Were Here'
Neil Young, 'Cortez The Killer'
Bob Dylan, 'Subterranean Homesick Blues'
Little Eva, 'Loco-Motion'
Elvis Costello, 'Watching the Detectives'
Jimmy Cliff, 'The Harder They Come'
The Verve, 'Bittersweet Symphony'
Roberta Flack, 'Killing Me Softly with his Song'
R.E.M., 'Radio Free Europe'
Radiohead, 'No Surprises'
Led Zeppelin, 'Ramble On'
Glen Campbell, 'Wichita Lineman'
Rolling Stones, 'Beast of Burden'
John Cougar Mellencamp, 'Pink Houses'