All the Young Dudes: Why Glam Rock Matters, by Mark Dery -- Boing Boing's first ebook!


49 Responses to “All the Young Dudes: Why Glam Rock Matters, by Mark Dery -- Boing Boing's first ebook!”

  1. Halloween_Jack says:

    Relevant to my interests!

    • Mark_Frauenfelder says:

      I had it feeling it might be! :)

      • Virginie says:

         This looks amazing, but will there be a non-Kindle edition available at some point?

        • Mark_Frauenfelder says:

          What platform do you use, Virginie?

          • Virginie says:

             I have access to a Sony Reader.

          • Noddy93 says:


          • Mark_Frauenfelder says:

            We could make it available as paper booklet, but it would be cost-prohibitive.

          • Noddy93 says:

            sadly i realize that people these days would rather have digital files than paper (and so easily forget that Amazon has deleted said files from people’s machines) and that costs for a low-run print make it improbable.

            howzabout a printable pdf in booklet format? I know Cory manages to lose multiple long-reach staplers a year but mine is hankerin’ for another reason to exist. :-)

            and if you think of me a Luddite, i’ll probably borrow my 67 year-old mother’s kindle just so i can read it.

  2. crenquis says:

    Two words that sum up why glam rock matters:  Gary and Glitter

    • timquinn says:


    • niktemadur says:

      Roxy fucking Music.

      • euansmith says:

        I’d say more Art Rock than Glam Rock… rubs chin…

        • Mark Dery says:

           Glam was a many-splintered thing. We can’t be purists when it comes to the polymorphous perversity, and promiscuous aesthetics, of pop-music subcultures, I think. Roxy certainly had its glam *moments*: Ferry in his jaw-droppingly over-the-top quiff, Eno in screaming drag (or something damn close to it). Early on, Queen crossed glam with Zeppelinesque metal, the Victorian fascination with fairyland, Bloomsbury dandyism, and Freddie’s Lisztian excesses at the piano. Was Steve Harley glam? Sparks? Again, these are Deep Questions, all. Of course, the music-geek/cultcrit hairsplitting is half the fun!

    • euansmith says:

      Reading the article I was thinking maybe it is an American thing to select “All the Young Dudes ” as the epitome of Glam, when, as a Brit, I’d go for “Do you wanna be in my gang”. It is blokey, boisterous, and, these days, an embarrassment. That pretty much covers Glam… oh, and addictive and fun too… 

      • Mark Dery says:

         Fascinating point. But I’d apply the lowbrow/middlebrow/highbrow taxonomy to glam, as to so many other aspects of pop culture. Slade, Sweet, Gary Glitter: lowbrow. Suzi Quatro: Low middlebrow. Marc Bolan/T. Rex, Roy Wood’s Wizzard, Mott, New York Dolls. High middlebrow/highbrow: Bowie, Queen, Roxy (but only in those instances were the songs in question are, arguably, glam, given the stylistic experimentation for which all three are noted). If you get around to reading “All the Young Dudes,” you’ll be intrigued to note, I think, that I spend some time distinguishing UK glam from glam in the USA.

        • Beanolini says:

          But what does the low/middle/highbrow distinction tell us apart from ‘not all glam bands were the same’?

          I feel that there was a difference between ‘idealistic’ and ‘opportunistic’ glam bands- the ‘opportunistic’ ones merely using the glam idiom because it was in fashion at the time, the ‘idealistic’ ones being more committed to what they thought glam should represent.

          I guess this is true of a lot of movements that reach the mainstream, though.

  3. Vickie Kostecki says:

    Sounds fascinating. I love Glam rock. Oh, wait a minute, “Not available in your country.” *sigh*

  4. hardcase says:

    In the ’70s, Bowie pushed the theatrics of music. Liking him was liking edgy rock, a badge of distinction. Sucks that the author had a different suburban experience. As far as style, great that Glam’s androgynous fashion helped embolden gay kids, though it was quickly picked up by the hair bands of the ’80s, who flipped it to suit their own personal preferences. 

  5. adonai says:

    It appears that the author has essentially novelised Velvet Goldmine.

    Not that it’s a bad thing.

  6. jmidden says:

    Mott the Hoople? No. Just no. No one owns All the Young Dudes other than Bowie.

  7. SedanChair says:

    I want that graphic on a shirt. And on the side of my house

  8. timquinn says:

    I will read your book, Mark, but would like to comment here and now that Ziggy Stardust was absolutely my own liberation as a hetero male teen in 1972. I was so floored by the whole experience that I had to accept other ways of being sexual too. I don’t think I was aware at all before that. 

    Another use of dude is in “dude ranch” which implies roll playing and dressing up. 

    • euansmith says:

      There was a similar explosion of possibilities in the 1980′s when electro-pop opened the doors to all kinds of life style options. Pop music is great!

  9. Greg Osborne says:

    Yes, David Bowie (a huge Mott The Hoople fan) very generously wrote, gifted and produced an all-time rock classic for a band that was all but over.

    Mott The Hoople, however, OWNS the definitive version of this song. The iconic (yes, I’ll say it!) guitar intro was devised by Mick Ralphs and the hilarious rap during the song’s outro is all Ian Hunter’s doing. Those contributions, plus the outright musical muscle of the band, Mick Ronson’s unsung musical arranging ability AND the snide irony of the GREAT Ian Hunter’s voice helped to lift an already brilliant tune into the stratosphere of Rock immortality.

    But, yeah, nothing would’ve happened at all without The Great One. I will always feel a huge debt of gratitude towards David Bowie for plucking my all-time favourite band off the ash heap of rock and roll obscurity.

  10. Greg Osborne says:

    Can’t wait to read your book Mr. Dery…guess I’ll have to find a Kindle somewhere.

    • Mark Dery says:

      Thanks, Greg. No need to buy a Kindle, unless you *want* to; just download the free Kindle app (Kindle for PC or Kindle for Mac) from Amazon, drop your .99 to download my longform essay, and you’re rolling. (Sorry for the Pepsodent-smiling sales pitch, but that’s what us hacks are reduced to, in the age of social-media gladhanding and Brand Me.)

      • Greg Osborne says:

        Will do, Mark.

        I do agree with Luddite, Aram John, though as far as having a real book in my grubby little hands (cheap saddle-stich and everything!)  It’d be great to have your treatise next to Ian Hunter’s  Diary of a Rock’n’Roll Star and Campbell Devine’s Mott the Hoople/Ian Hunter biography.

        I know, I’m a dinosaur with one foot in the tar pit.

      • Virginie says:

         Fantastic! I was wondering how to read it without a Kindle.

  11. Aram Jahn says:

    I’ve loved everything I’ve ever read by Mark Dery, and this subject is right up my alley. However, I too am Luddite-ish when it comes to reading books. Please let me know when a paper version is available – even with staples – and I’ll fork out some dinars. 

    Someone needs to come along and top Dick Hebdige’s _Subculture: The Meaning of Style_, and the smart money is on Dery here. 

    The hair metal bands did some appropriation, yes, but the significance of non-faux androgyny in suburban Unistat in the early 1970s ought not be sneezed at.

    • Mark Dery says:

      Couldn’t agree more, Aram Jahn, and thanks for the kind words. Actually, I cite Hebdige in my essay; he’s thoughtful on the subject of glam, though his perspective is that of a British Marxist, which is useful regarding the economic subtext of glam’s escapist visions of luxury, elegance, and a world where aesthetics trump all else (“she keeps Moet et Chandon/ in a pretty cabinet/ let them eat cake she said/ just like Marie Antoinette”) but not so much when it comes to questions of gender and sexuality, which he’s largely silent on. And how can you be silent on gender and sexuality when you’re talking about glam?

      As for your unabashed Luddism, why not do as I’ve advised Greg Osborne, above—download the free Amazon app (Kindle for PC or Mac) and read it on your desktop or laptop or iPad, if you’re averse to e-readers? I honestly don’t know if the download will allow you to print it out, but it just might.

      If *that* doesn’t work for you, hell, PayPal .99 to Mark Frauenfelder and I’ll *personally* e-mail you a Word doc of the thing. Hath a writer any greater love for his readers? (That’s John 3:1, if you have your bible open as I preach…)

Leave a Reply