Published by Cherry Red Books; ISBN 1901447057
Mott The Hoople were one of the seminal British rock bands of the early 70's. Undervalued at the time, they have since been cited as major influences by members of Queen, Def Leppard, Oasis, REM, Kiss, Motley Crue and The Clash. Some 24 years after their demise, they still have a loyal and fanatical following, so it is surprising they haven't been covered in any great depth in the printed media. Until now.
This, the definitive biography of Mott The Hoople and their vocalist Ian Hunter, finally puts that right. Written by long-time fan Campbell Devine, this book has been some six years in the making. Campbell has wisely avoided recycling old press clippings but has instead interviewed all the members of Mott The Hoople. The result is an entirely fresh treatment of the subject, and for that he is to be commended.
Running to some 400 pages of close type, this book is no lightweight but is absolutely fascinating from start to finish. It traces the early (pre-Mott) careers of all band founder members, through their time at Island, their meeting with Bowie and the switch to CBS, the rise to international stardom and on to their break-up, their subsequent careers up to the present day.
Fresh insights are provided into various aspects of Mott's career including much-debated topics such as Mott's break-up at the end of 1974, Ian's relative inactivity during the 1980's, and the chances today of a fully-fledged reunion. It seems there is something on every page I didn't know before, so thorough is Campbell's research.
The book runs to 26 chapters, with coverage as follows:
- It's a Mighty Long Way Down Rock 'n' Roll. Covers the early careers of Mick Ralphs, Pete Watts, Dale Griffin, Verden Allen and Stan Tippins from leaving school until the end of 1968.
- The Loner. Covers the early career of Ian Hunter until the end of 1968.
- Little Flame, Tormented Soul covers Guy Stevens' career, Silence's career in early 1969, and their auditions for Guy Stevens.
- Two Miles From Heaven covers Mott's formation and their eponymous first album.
- When Both Of My Minds Have Gone covers the Mad Shadows album and tours in 1970.
- Maybe I'm Just A Loser covers the Wildlife album and subsequent tours, including their famous Royal Albert Hall gig in 1971.
- We Ain't Bleeding You, We're Feeding You covers the recording of Brain Capers, subsequent tour and 'split' early in 1972.
- I'm a Dude, Dad covers David Bowie's involvement with Mott and their successful tours of the UK and USA in 1972.
- Verden Grew a Line or Two covers the departure of Verden Allen in 1973.
- '73 Was a Jamboree covers the recording of the Mott album.
- I've Got To Move On covers Mick Ralphs' departure and the forming of Bad Company.
- Ladies and Gentlemen, The Golden Age of Rock 'n' Roll covers Ariel Bender, the Autumn 1973 tours of the USA and UK and the recording of the Hoople album.
- It's Got To Be The Greatest Show On Broadway covers Mott The Hoople's 1974 American tour and their historic shows on Broadway.
- Ziggy Played Guitar covers Mick Ronson's career up to when he joined Mott The Hoople.
- I'm Just a Marionette covers Mott The Hoople's European tour with Mick Ronson and their subsequent split.
- Trapped Halfway Up covers Ian Hunter's first solo album in 1975.
- Just a Whitey From Blighty covers Ian's second solo album All American Alien Boy in 1976.
- Don't Let Them Tell You That You'll Never Find Fame covers Mott's career 1975-76.
- Can You Hear Us? covers Ian Hunter's Overnight Angels project in 1977.
- Give Me One More Chance To Run covers British Lions career from 1977 until their demise in 1979.
- Noises covers Ian's years with Chrysalis 1979-81.
- God Bless You, Guy covers Guy Stevens' career from his split with Mott until his death in 1981.
- Take Another Roller Coaster Ride covers Ian's career in the mid'80's, his All Of The Good Ones Are Taken album, and his movie soundtracks work.
- Never Too Small To Hit The Big Time covers Ian's YUI Orta album and tours 1988-1990.
- Michael Picasso, Goodnight traces Mick Ronson's final years until his death from cancer in 1993.
- Something To Believe In brings the story up to 1998 (when it was published), with recent MTH releases and Ian's late-90's career moves.
The book also has several appendices:
- Chronology chronicles the major events in the MTH/IH story between 1963 and 1988
- Discography lists all the major album and single releases by MTH, IH, Mick Ronson, Mott and British Lions
- Sessionography lists all the players, dates and tracks recorded by MTH and IH
- Live Dates lists all the known live dates by MTH and IH
There are also over 40 rare/previously unseen photos covering all stages of the band's career.
This book is by far the most comprehensive work on the subject, and could well be the best book written about any band. As such, it is unsurpassable and essential reading not just for fans of Ian Hunter, Mick Ronson and Mott The Hoople but for the casual fan as well.
Only a few copies of this book are still available, although some stockists may still posess copies. You can order this book from your local book seller, or by using the mail order form on Cherry Red's website.