|When I was ready to move to a more serious type of music, after years of bubble
gum, soul, and other top 40 hits, I found myself listening to whatever was popular with my
friends. Grand Funk Railroad comes to mind. I'm not slamming Grand Funk. Personally I
think their pre-Craig Frost (keyboards) days were some of the best times of my life. I
always wanted to be a little ahead of the others in my crowd musically. I read Rolling
Stone magazine regularly and had been reading Cream and Circus magazine for years. I think
I found out about Mott the Hoople from one of those magazines. They had been getting a lot
of press for holding shows in England that usually ended in a riot. They were kind of
artsy mayhem. They were led by a cork screw haired guy who always wore black sunglasses,
Ian Hunter. But to me, they were all equally Mott the Hoople. Ian Hunter always seemed to
have a bit of an ego problem. The band was also the start for Mick Ralphs (Bad Company).
He would get to write a few songs per album, but even those, Ian Hunter would add his
personal touch to. They were a band, but it always was the Ian Hunter show, no matter
They got their lucky break when David Bowie saw them play, got them signed and
gave them the song "All the Young Dudes". That certainly was their trademark
song, as was the riot inducing "Violence". They would always end their
shows with "Violence", probably so they could play their whole set before the
police arrested everyone. Ian Hunter always saw himself as an English Bob Dylan. I bet
there weren't any Dylan fans that rioted after any of his shows.
Probably the biggest mistake Ian Hunter made with Mott was losing Mick Ralph's guitar
and musical talents. Mick took the song "Can't Get Enough" to Ian and was told
the song was no good. I guess Mick knew better, quit the band, formed Bad Company and
became rich. "Can't Get Enough" probably falls into that classics of all time
category and Ian Hunter turned it down and insulted Mick Ralphs doing it. They went
through several good and mediocre guitarists after that and finally disbanded.
The last guitarist for Mott, was probably added just to fulfill contractual obligations
for Mott. Mick Ronson had been known for his guitar work with David Bowie's Spiders from
Mars band. Most people will remember his opening guitar line in the song "Suffragette
City" the best. I believe it was Ian Hunter's plan to bring Mick Ronson on board ,
finish any obligations as Mott, ditch the rest of the band and regroup as The Ian
Hunter Band. I saw The Ian Hunter Band on their first tour. They were promoting their new
album, simply called "Ian Hunter". It was a big hit for the band. Years later
the song "Once Bitten, Twice Shy" from that album, was remade by Great White.
Mick Ronson died a few years back of cancer.
The rest of the Mott the Hoople band carried on as "Mott" (as opposed to
"Not the Hoople"), then reformed as The British Lions. They had a minor hit
called "Eat the Rich". Their album was very well done, and they probably made a
little money at it. A few years later some of them got together with "A Box of
Frogs"(with a little help from Jeff Beck) They put out two very popular albums and
then disappeared. Currently Ian Hunter's , "Cleveland Rocks", is being
used as the theme song for the Drew Carey Show.
Where's Mott today? Who knows? I'll never forget them though, as long as I live.
("I won't forget you neither Nancy!")