Mott The Hoople and Ian Hunter

Review

Published by Omnibus Press; ISBN 978-1787601543

Rock n Roll Sweepstakes Vol 1

In 1998 we saw the publication of a long-awaited Mott/Hunter biog to accompany a 3-CD box set. While it was received with enthusiasm by fans it was soon disowned by some band members and with hindsight the book came across as a little 'dry' and lacking in polish.

I am pleased to say that in 2019 Campbell Devine's Mott/Hunter biography has been completely revised and updated. Over the past 20 years many more people have provided much-needed input, insights and updates resulting in a much more comprehensive treatment of the subject. This is not a simple re-publication, but is a complete rewrite and as such should be looked upon as a completely new work.

The Ian Hunter story is now far too big to fit in a single volume, and so is split into two - volume one covering his formative years and his time in Mott The Hoople until their disbandment at the end of 1974. Volume two will cover Ian's solo career from 1975 to the present day and will be published early in 2020.

This is an astonishingly good read. Twice the size as its predecessor, fresh insights are provided to every stage in the Mott story, from the early days at Island, the 'split' in Switzerland and subsequent involvement of Bowie, long-awaited commercial success through to the final (inevitable) disintegration in late 1974. Indeed, it is that final chapter in Mott's story that is given by far the most comprehensive coverage to date.

All the highs and lows are here. Ian's early career and seemingly endless gigs in Hamburg... the stuttering start in Mott followed by live acclaim... the deteriorating relationship with Island until the "split" after a gig in Switzerland... the dizzying highs of finally achieving commercial success... the pressures caused by that commercial success and the need to continually deliver new "product". Yes, there was fun and it is clear that through all the struggle group morale was high, but after Mick Ralphs left to form Bad Company the pressures on Ian (as sole songwriter) increased until it was simply no fun at all. By the time he left it is plain to see that he'd had enough (and who can blame him).

All in all, a fascinating read. Even if you have the 1998 biog, you need this. Essential reading.