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01-18 Mott The Hoople drummer dies


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Mott The Hoople

Mott the Hoople are one of the great also-rans in the history of rock & roll. Though Mott scored a number of album rockhits in the early '70s, the band never quite broke through into the mainstream. Nevertheless, their nasty fusion of heavymetal, glam rock, and Bob Dylan's sneering hipster cynicism provided the groundwork for many British punk bands, mostnotably the Clash. At the center of Mott the Hoople was lead vocalist/pianist Ian Hunter, a late addition to the band whodeveloped into its focal point as his songwriting grew. Hunter was able to subvert rock & roll conventions with his ...read more

Mott the Hoople are one of the great also-rans in the history of rock & roll. Though Mott scored a number of album rockhits in the early '70s, the band never quite broke through into the mainstream. Nevertheless, their nasty fusion of heavymetal, glam rock, and Bob Dylan's sneering hipster cynicism provided the groundwork for many British punk bands, mostnotably the Clash. At the center of Mott the Hoople was lead vocalist/pianist Ian Hunter, a late addition to the band whodeveloped into its focal point as his songwriting grew. Hunter was able to subvert rock & roll conventions with his lyrics,and the band -- led by guitarist Mick Ralphs -- had a tough, muscular sound that kept the group firmly in hard rockterritory, even when flirting with homosexual imagery and glammy makeup. However, their lack of success meant thatthey inevitably splintered apart in the '70s, with Ralphs forming Bad Company and Hunter launching a cult solocareer.Mick Ralphs (lead guitar, vocal), Verden Allen (organ), Overend Pete Watts (bass), and Dale "Buffin" Griffin (drums)formed Silence in 1968 and began playing around their hometown of Hereford, England. Early in 1969, the band addedvocalist Stan Tippens and landed a record contract with Island (Atlantic in the U.S.), heading to London to record withproducer Guy Stevens, whose first move was to change the band's name to Mott the Hoople, after a Willard Manus novel.By the summer, Tippens was fired, later becoming the band's road manager, and was replaced by Ian Hunter. Mott theHoople's eponymous debut album was released in the fall of 1969 and it became an underground hit, known for its fusionof Blonde on Blonde-era Dylan and heavy metal, as well for its straight cover of Sonny Bono's "Laugh at Me" and itspounding instrumental version of the Kinks' "You Really Got Me..

Despite all of the attention, Mott the Hoople received, it didn't sell well and neither did its poorly reviewed 1970 follow-up,Mad Shadows. The band returned in 1971 with the country-tinged Wildlife, which was its least popular record to date.Despite their lack of sales, Mott the Hoople had gained a cult following in Britain through their constant touring. At aconcert at the Royal Albert Hall in July 1971, the band sparked a mini-riot that led the venue to ban rock concerts for anumber of years. More than any of their previous releases, Brain Capers (1971) demonstrated the band's live power, butwhen it failed to sell, the group was prepared to disband.

Just as the band was about to split, David Bowie intervened and convinced the group to stay together. Riding at theheight of his Ziggy Stardust popularity, Bowie agreed to produce Mott's next album and offered "Suffragette City" for thebandmembers to record. They refused the song, asking for "Drive-In Saturday" instead. They eventually settled for "Allthe Young Dudes," which became the group's breakthrough hit. An explicitly gay anthem recorded by a heterosexualband, "All the Young Dudes" became the anthem for the glam rock era, becoming a number three hit in the U.K. and aTop 40 hit in the U.S. in the summer of 1972. An album of the same name was released on Columbia Records in the fall,and it became a hit in the U.K. and the U.S.

Allen left the band before the recording of the group's follow-up to All the Young Dudes, citing Hunter's reluctance torecord his songs. A concept album about a rock band struggling for success, Mott, released in the summer 1973,expanded the band's success, receiving good reviews and peaking at number seven in Britain and number 35 in America."All the Way from Memphis" and "Roll Away the Stone" became Top Ten hits in the U.K., confirming the band's status asone of the leaders of the glam rock movement. In the summer of 1974, Hunter published Diary of a Rock Star to greatacclaim in the U.K.

While the bandmembers were finally experiencing the success that they had desired, the group was beginning to fallapart. Frustrated with Allen's departure, as well as the fact that his song "Can't Get Enough" was out of Hunter's range,Ralphs left Mott in late 1973 to form Bad Company with Paul Rodgers. He was replaced by former Spooky Tooth guitaristLuther Grosvenor, who changed his name to Ariel Bender upon joining the band; keyboardist Morgan Fisher also joinedthe group. The new lineup toured in late 1973, and the concerts were documented on 1974's Mott the Hoople Live. Thelive record was released after The Hoople appeared in the spring, peaking at 11 in the U.K. and 28 in the U.S. on thestrength of the singles "The Golden Age of Rock & Roll" and "Foxy Foxy." Former Bowie guitarist Mick Ronson replacedBender in the fall of 1974 upon Hunter's request. Within a few months, the pair left the band to begin working as a duo.The remaining members of Mott the Hoople added guitarist Ray Major and vocalist Nigel Benjamin, truncating their nameto Mott. The new incarnation of the group released Drive On (1975) and Shouting and Pointing (1976) to little attentionbefore adding John Fiddler as their lead singer and changing their name to British Lions. They split up two years later.

Though the allegiance between Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson was short-lived, it was well-received and the two wouldcontinue to sporadically work together until Ronson's death in 1993. Hunter pursued a moderately successful solo career,highlighted by his eponymous 1975 album and 1979's You're Never Alone With a Schizophrenic. Hunter's "Ships" wascovered by Barry Manilow in 1975, while Great White took his "Once Bitten, Twice Shy" into the Top Ten in the early '90s.~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide « hide

Similar Bands: T. Rex, Lou Reed, James Gang, David Bowie, Ian Hunter

LPs
The Hoople
1974

4.4
7 Votes
Mott
1973

3.8
30 Votes
All the Young Dudes
1972

3.9
49 Votes
Brain Capers
1971

4
5 Votes
Wildlife
1971

4.2
3 Votes
Mad Shadows
1970

3.9
4 Votes
Mott The Hoople
1969

3.4
8 Votes
Compilations
Super Hits
1997

4
2 Votes

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