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article imageReview: ‘The Ballad of Mott the Hoople’ Special

By Alexander Baron     Mar 10, 2013 in Entertainment
Mott The Hoople combined glam rock with something harder. Although the band itself had a relatively short career, it was and remains a major influence on contemporary music.
One reason for this is that although Mott The Hoople may be no more, individual band members have remained active, in particular Mick Ralphs who went on to form Bad Company, and Ian Hunter who worked with Bowie guitarist Mick Ronson, and whose solo career continues to this day.
Much of the first part of the programme is devoted to producer Guy Stevens, who recruited Hunter and put the band together. Tragically, he died in 1981 at the young age of 38, a sadly familiar story of alcohol and prescription drugs. Hunter dedicated a poem to Stevens, which appears in Campbell Devine's authorised biography of himself and the band.
Guy Stevens (1943-81)   the man behind Mott The Hoople.
Guy Stevens (1943-81), the man behind Mott The Hoople.
Creative Commons
In Switzerland, where they went down like a lead balloon, the band decided to split, and that would have been the end of it if the record company hadn't threatened to sue them, and if a certain Mr Bowie hadn't given them a hit single, All The Young Dudes, with that classic riff.
Then keyboard player Verden Allen quit, big mistake, because then came four big singles:
Honaloochie Boogie, All the Way From Memphis, Roll Away The Stone and The Golden Age Of Rock 'N' Roll, and the albums Mott in 1973 and The Hoople the following year.
That was as good as it got, and eventually Hunter quit too, as he said: "The fun is the ride, but there ain't no station".
The programme includes both archive footage and recent interviewers with all the major players, including Roger Taylor of Queen, who points out that Mott was the only band Queen ever supported.
If you don't recognise the song that introduces the programme, it is The Moon Upstairs. And it plays out with...Hunter's classic autobiographical Ballad Of Mott - what else?
The Ballad Of Mott The Hoople is currently on iplayer for those who can receive it. For those who can't, watch out for it on YouTube, and of course check out the official website, and the website of the man in the shades, Ian Hunter.
More about mott the hoople, ian hunter, mick ralphs, guy stevens
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