Friday, July 28, 1972

Mott the Hoople “All the Young Dudes” released

All the Young Dudes

Mott the Hoople

Writer(s): David Bowie (see lyrics here)

Released: July 28, 1972

First Charted: August 12, 1972

Peak: 37 US, 34 CB, 32 HR, 2 CL, 3 UK, 31 CN, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 4.2 video, 81.12 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

In 1972, Mott the Hoople had released four albums over three years but failed to gain any commercial success. David Bowie, who was well established as a solo artist, was interested in writing for other artists. He was a fan of the band and sent them a demo of “Suffragette City,” in hopes of keeping the band together SF but they rejected it. Bassist Pete Watts told Bowie in March that they band had broken up. Two hours later, Bowie contacted him, saying, “I’ve written a song for you since we spoke, which could be great.” WK

Bowie and Watts met a few days later and Watts said, “He hadn’t got all the words but the song just blew me away.” WK Singer Ian Hunter said, “He just played it on an acoustic guitar. I knew straight away it was a hit.” WK Drummer Dale Griffin said, “He wants to give us that? He must be crazy!” WK

Mott the Hoople agreed not to break up. Bowie’s manager, Tony Defries, also signed on the manage the band. Bowie produced the song, singing backup and playing guitar on it as well. SF They recorded “All the Young Dudes” on May 14, 1972. It became what has been called an “anthem of glam rock” WK which was to that genre what the Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” was to the hippie era. WK Author Dave Thompson called it “the ultimate glam rock rallying cry.” DT

Bowie has said it wasn’t meant as an anthem for glam, but had a darker message about apocalypse. He envisioned Mott the Hoople as a Clockwork Orange-style street gang. SF “With its dirge-like music, youth suicide references and calls to an imaginary audience, the song bore similarities to Bowie’s own ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide,’ the final track from [Bowie’s classic] Ziggy Stardust” album. WK It has also been called a gay anthem, which fit the androgynous and gender-bending styles of glam rock. Lou Reed said it was, “a rallying call to the young dudes to come out in the streets and show that they were beautiful and gay and proud of it.” WK

Whatever the intent of the song, Mott the Hoople parlayed it into their only top-40 hit in the U.S. and their biggest hit in the UK. Bowie performed the song on his Ziggy Stardust tour and it was recorded for the live album which resulted from that tour. It was also featured on his David Live album released in 1974.


Related Links:

First posted 7/23/2022; last updated 4/1/2023.

Friday, July 21, 1972

Gilbert O’Sullivan “Alone Again (Naturally)” hit #1

Alone Again (Naturally)

Gilbert O’Sullivan

Writer(s): Gilbert O’Sullivan (see lyrics here)

Released: February 18, 1972

First Charted: March 4, 1972

Peak: 16 BB, 13 CB, 12 GR, 14 HR, 16 AC, 3 UK, 13 CN, 2 AU, 6 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 3.0 radio, 99.35 video, 160.25 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Raymond O’Sullivan was born in Ireland. His father died when he was 11. Two years later, his family moved to Swindon, England. O’Sullivan started playing music while an art student in the 1960s. Influenced by the Beatles and Cole Porter, FB he started writing songs. When he was 22, he would write in the evenings after his daytime job as a postal clerk in London. SF He was managed by Gordon Mills, who also managed Tom Jones and Englbert Humperdinck. It was Mills who urged the singer to change his name to Gilbert O’Sullivan as a play on the theater composers Gilbert and Sullivan. SG

When Mills took on O’Sullivan, it allowed the singer to quit his job, move into a bungalow, and write every day. That’s when he wrote and produced his biggest hit, “Alone Again (Naturally),” “the first ever British chart-topper to open with the promise of suicide.” DT He sings “about heartbreak — not from lived experience, but from coming up with the saddest, most melodramatic situations that he can imagine.” SG

He insisted it wasn’t autobiographical, which may explain how he “doesn’t sound even remotely broken when he’s singing about being broken.” SG The singer is jilted at the altar, “calmly announces that he’s about to throw himself off of a tower…questions the existence of God, sings about the deaths of his parents, and considers the ways that grief can absolutely destroy people.” SG Musically “it’s an amiable and low-key amble, all fluttery acoustic guitars and woodwind tootles and soft string-swirls. It’s dentist’s-office music” SG “that could’ve been used to advertise laundry detergent.” SG

The song was nominated for Grammys for Song and Record of the Year as well as Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. It was the second best-selling single of the year after Don McLean’s “American Pie.” In 1991, Biz Markie was sued for sampling the song. DT It was a landmark case in setting a precedent tat artists had to clear samples to avoid being sued. SF The song has been recorded by more than a hundred artists including Neil Diamond, Johnny Mathis, Pet Shop Boys, and Sarah Vaughan. SF


First posted 9/23/2023.

Saturday, July 8, 1972

Harry Von Tilzer: Top 30 Songs

First posted 12/8/2019.

Songwriter and vaudevillian performer Harry Von Tilzer was born Aaron Gumbinsky one hundred years ago today on 7/8/1872 in Detroit, Michigan. Also known as Harry Gumm. Died on 1/10/1946. For a complete list of this act’s DMDB honors, check out the DMDB Music Maker Encyclopedia entry.

Top 30 Songs

Dave’s Music Database lists are determined by song’s appearances on best-of lists as well as chart success, sales, radio airplay, streaming, and awards. Many of these songs have been recorded multiple times. Only the highest-ranked version in Dave’s Music Database is included in this list. The recording artist is noted in parentheses. Songs which hit #1 on Billboard’s pop charts are noted.

DMDB Top 1%:

1. Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie (Byron G. Harlan, 1906) #1
2. On a Sunday Afternoon (J.W. Myers, 1902) #1
3. A Bird in a Gilded Cage (Steve Porter, 1900) #1
4. Down Where the Wurzburger Flows (Arthur Collins & Byron Harlan, 1902) #1
5. I Want a Girl Just Like the Girl Who Married Dear Old Dad (Peerless Quartet, 1911)

DMDB Top 5%:

6. The Mansion of Aching Hearts (Harry MacDonough, 1902) #1
7. My Old New Hampsire Home (George J. Gaskin, 1898) #1
8. Alexander (Don’t You Love Your Baby No More?) (Billy Murray, 1904) #1
9. Under the Anheuser Busch (Billy Murray, 1904)
10. Coax Me (Arthur Collins & Byron Harlan, 1905)

11. All Alone (Ada Jones & Billy Murray, 1911)
12. You’ll Always Be the Same Sweet Girl (James Harrison & James Reed, 1915)
13. And the Green Grass Grew All Around (Walter Van Brunt, 1913)
14. I Love My Wife, But Oh You Kid! (Arthur Collins, 1909)
15. All Aboard for Dreamland (Byron G. Harlan, 1904) #1
16. The Cubanola Glide (Arthur Collins & Byron Harlan, 1910)
17. All Aboard for Blanket Bay (Ada Jones, 1911)

DMDB Top 10%:

18. I Remember You (Ada Jones, 1909)
19. They Always Pick on Me (Ada Jones, 1911)
20. Knock Wood (Ada Jones & Walter Van Brunt, 1911)
21. All She'd Say Was "Umh-Hum" (Van & Schenck, 1921)
22. On the Old Fall River Line (Arthur Collins & Byron Harlan, 1914)
23. Down Where the Cotton Blossoms Grow (Frank Stanley, 1902)

DMDB Top 20%:

24. When the Flowers Bloom in the Springtime, Molly Dear (Haydn Quartet, 1907)

Beyond the DMDB Top 20%:

25. Keep the Trench Fires Going for the Boys Out There (1918)
26. IDA-HO (1906)
27. Top O’ the Mornin’ (1907)
28. Summertime (1908)
29. Taffy (1908)
30. You Can Tango, You Can Fox-Trot, But Be Sure and Hesitate (1914)


7/8/1972: “Lean on Me” hit #1 – for the first time

Lean on Me

Bill Withers

Writer(s): Bill Withers (see lyrics here)

Released: April 21, 1972

First Charted: April 15, 1972

Peak: 13 US, 12 CB, 13 GR, 11 HR, 11 DG, 4 AC, 11 RB, 18 UK, 20 CN, 24 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.4 UK

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 3.0 radio, 84.3 video, 266.25 streaming

Lean on Me

Club Nouveau

Released: March 20, 1987

First Charted: February 6, 1987

Peak: 12 US, 12 CB, 2 GR, 12 RR, 12 BA, 31 AC, 2 RB, 3 UK, 13 CN, 5 AU, 5 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 3.0 radio, 6.7 video, 6.74 streaming

Awards (Bill Withers):

Click on award for more details.

Awards (Club Nouveau):

About the Song:

“Lean on Me” is one of the rare songs which topped the Billboard Hot 100 more than once – first in 1972 by Bill Withers and then again fifteen years later by Club Nouveau. It was the fifth song to hit #1 twice in the Hot 100 era by different artists. The others were “Go Away Little Girl” (Steve Lawrence, Donny Osmond), “The Loco-Motion” (Little Eva, Grand Funk), “Please Mr. Postman” (The Marvelettes, the Carpenters), and “Venus” (Shocking Blue, Bananarama). SG2 The two acts had very different careers. Withers was an R&B legend while Club Nouveau was an R&B dance outfit who were practically a one-hit wonder.

Withers was in the Navy for nine years before heading to Los Angeles to try and make it as a songwriter while working in an aircraft factory. He was 32 years old when “Ain’t No Sunshine” gave him his first chart hit – a top-ten on both the pop and R&B charts. He went on to chart with classics “Use Me,” “Lovely Day,” and “Just the Two of Us.”

Withers wrote “Lean on Me” as “a pledge of friendship, of support, through bad times.” SG1 He says his co-workers from the aircraft factory were an inspiration. FB It is “a hymn of deep human connection and mutual support.” SG2 He explained that he wasn’t writing about romantic love which is when “you only wanna touch people because they’re pretty and they appeal to you physically. The more substantial love is when you want to touch people and care for them when they’re at their worst.” SG1

He sings in a “warm, graceful baritone, and his melody is campfire-singalong stuff, direct and uncluttered.” SG1 It is “a perfect song…a soul classic, that’s practically become a folk traditional.” SG2

Withers retired from music in 1985. A year later, Club Nouveau formed by producer/songwriters Jay King, Denzil Foster, and Thomas McElroy, formerly of Timex Social Club, who had a top-10 hit with “Rumors” in 1986. Club Nouveau had a “hard, synthesized, club-ready version of R&B.” SG2 They released six albums, but only Life, Love & Pain left any kind of mark with the chart-topping “Lean on Me” and “Why You Treat Me So Bad,” which barely scraped the top 40.

Their version of “Lean on Me” “is an extremely smart record – cutting-edge trends in Black club-music production, applied to a beloved song that would immediately evoke baby-boomer nostalgia.” SG2 The Club Nouveau version merges electronic sounds with the original song’s piano line which can make for a certain coldness – a “bland, smiley dance track with a sticky hook” SG2 that “vacuum[s] all the nuance and feeling out of the song.” SG2


  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Bill Withers
  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Club Nouveau
  • FB Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Pages 315 and 662.
  • SG1 Stereogum (3/4/2019). “The Number Ones” by Tom Breihan (Bill Withers)
  • SG2 Stereogum (2/8/2021). “The Number Ones” by Tom Breihan (Club Nouveau)
  • WK Wikipedia

First posted 7/13/2023.