That emotional Wembley performance was a confirmation of the song’s anthemic status. More recently, we’ve heard the song in movies including Juno and two years ago, Rolling Stone formally listed ‘All the Young Dudes’ as #256 of the greatest songs of all time.
The lyrics of ‘All The Young Dudes’, as with many lines on Ziggy Stardust, used gay and African-American slang. A very straight band were now singing the line, “Lucy looks sweet ’cause he dresses like a queen.” It was claimed that the line hampered American radio play and undermined its US sales, although this is difficult to verify.
Bowie injected culture with a new energy, helping rebirth rock & roll as a space-y, gender-bending scene where all freaks were welcome. Bowie distilled this message to its essence in "All the Young Dudes," a song originally released by Mott the Hoople. The glam anthem referenced cultural touchstones like T. Rex, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and harked back to "Five Years," off Bowie's breakthrough album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. Bowie told William S. Burroughs in a that both tracks envision a world that will end in five years. "[It's] a song about this news," Bowie said of the Mott the Hoople single. "It is no hymn to the youth as people thought. It is completely the opposite."