Mott the Hoople


All the Young Dudes

Mott the Hoople

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 what.

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!")

The Linear Canvas