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Sunday 29 November 2009

Mott The Hell?


This morning i was listening to the singer Morrissey being interviewed, by Kirsty Young, for the Radio 4 programme "Desert Island Discs". One of the 8 tracks chosen for his imaginary desert island was "Sea Diver", a song from 1970's UK band, Mott The Hoople.
Nothing unusual in that, maybe, except for the fact that Mott The Hoople are hardly the most well known band on the planet. But, it just happens that, at the moment anyway, wherever i turn, the name of Mott The Hoople seems to keep cropping up.

I was recently reading a biography of Joe Strummer, primarily known as the lead singer with UK punk band The Clash. It turns out that The Clash were very much influenced by Mott The Hoople, in their early days. Band member Mick Jones, especially, was a big fan of the band before his days in The Clash.

The Clash even, quite purposely, arranged for ex Mott The Hoople producer Guy Stevens to produce their most famous album, London Calling.

Mott The Hoople were a big influence on a number of the early UK Punk bands. Partly because they were also seen as a kind of early Punk band themselves. A band who wrote about ordinary things.
They obviously also had an influence on 1980's band The Smiths as well, judging by Morrissey's record choice this morning.

For my own part. I vividly remember Mott The Hoople from my own teenage years.

Although, never a huge fan of the band, i do remember seeing them on Top Of The Pops playing their David Bowie written breakthrough single, "All The Young Dudes".
From that point on, i bought all of their single releases, many of which i still have as the original vinyl 45's.
I remember being especially proud to get hold of their "Roll Away The Stone" single, the day before it was officially released & rushing home to play it.

A very good friend of mine at the time went to see Mott The Hoople in concert, supported by a new young band called Queen. He said we might hear more about them in the future!

Recently, apart from reading that Joe Strummer biography, i have also re-bought Ian Hunter's classic rock 'n' roll story, "Diary Of A Rock 'N' Roll Star". One of the truly great books about the music business.
I was originally given a copy as a present by an ex-girlfriend, way back in 1974, when the book was first published. A fact i had forgotten all about, until i noticed an inscription, in pencil, in the back of my original copy, which i'd taken down off of the book shelf the other day.
It's a book i have read & throughly enjoyed on several occasions & i was thinking of reading it yet again. After discovering that my original was not in the best of health, i decided to treat myself to a new copy.

So, a series of coincidences have conspired to get me thinking & reminiscing about Mott the Hoople & my own teenage years, once again. And yet another coincidence is the fact that the band recently reformed & performed two gigs in London.

And, yes, i am listening to Mott The Hoople as i type this. The memories are flooding back.
Music has a way of taking you back to places you thought you'd forgotten about.

"It's a mighty long way down rock 'n' roll"


  1. Mott the Hoople was fantastic, and All the Young Dudes is still one of the all-time great singles for playing in the car at top volume and screeming along with! Ian Hunter had some great solo records as well. But what I remember from those years were the rumors that Ian Hunter didn't really exist, but was just a pseudonym for David Bowie wearing a wig and dark glasses.

  2. Ian Hunter was permamnently wearing sunglasses when Bono was still at school!
    Never heard that rumour myself, but i can see why it might have come about. Can you recommend any of Ian Hunter's solo stuff? I've only ever heard bits, more's the pity.