Ralphs recalls how Bowie saved Mott’s bacon
Mick Ralphs has recalled just how close Mott The Hoople had come to splitting before David Bowie’s track All The Young Dudes turned their career around.
The guitarist admits the band were at a “low ebb” in 1972 – and they’d already decided to call it a day when they got the call asking them to consider recording the song.
Ralphs tells Nicky Horne on TeamRock Radio‘s Classic Rock Magazine Show: “We were in Switzerland towards the end of an unrewarding and disappointing European tour. We ended up in this club that was a converted gas tank, apparently.
“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?’
“The thing was we didn’t know how to write a hit record. When we got back Bowie got in touch and said, ‘I love your band, please don’t split up – but if you must, please listen to my song and consider doing it.’ He sent us All The Young Dudes, and we said, ‘Bloody hell, this is a hit – this is what we’ve been looking for for years.’ It really saved our bacon.”
Ralphs has been kept busy with Bad Company, who have been touring the US with Lynyrd Skynyrd, and he’s also gearing up for a European tour with his own blues band. After that he’ll turn his attention to Mott’s run of reunion shows in November, which follow their previous gathering in 2009.
“Last time we tried to play a cross-section, but we ended up doing all the familiar ones at the end,” he says. “When bands are of a certain age that’s expected. But 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.’
“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.”
The Classic Rock Magazine Show is broadcast on TeamRock Radio every weeknight from 6pm.