Mott The Hoople and Ian Hunter

Letter To Britannia From The Union Jack

(Ian Hunter)

Poor Britannia - drowning in your waves
With the Body of the unknown soldier and the best of the brave
I have known you ever since I was a child
How come you don't salute me - now - when I smile

You was always so young and on all o' that money
How come new mourners pass you by and think it's so funny
I'd be there with you but I'm chained unto this stake
For I am loyalty but my mast I cannot forsake

I looked down on a bunch of amusements, I looked down walls
I've looked on hangings 'n parades 'n city halls
And I've seen love in so many living rooms
And I've seen rich men slowly die inside their tombs

I know we're just two charms but it's heavy on my mind
Have faith in me I said, now, look at time
I know you're just a victim of your history but
Have faith in me, I said and you would be free....

You pull me up and you pull me down
And when the Queen's in residence I hang around
I don't wave madly 'cos the climate's civilised
Just flutter sadly 'cos I'm old 'n I'm wise

And you-you been up, and you - you been down
You been through many things I know you been around
I have fought armies for you in the conflicts of the past
Britannia, I implore you, do not lower me by half.

All American Alien Boy

(Ian Hunter)

I packed my bags - in the land of rags
'Cos I don't believe in them dimmo drags
Don't wanna vote for the left wing - don't wanna vote for the right
I gotta have both-to make me fly

Just a whitey from Blighty - heading out west
Got my little green card 'n my bulletproof vest
Goin' to old tube city - where the buzz is the best
On down the line (down the line) down the line (down the line)

Well I was born (on the line) 'n I was raised (on the line)
I was schooled (on the line) 'n I was fazed (on the line)
'N I was used (on the line) 'n I was dazed (on the line)
Just had to split (off the line) 'cos I was crazed (off the line)

'N I remember all the good times - me 'n Miller enjoyed
Up and down the M1 in some luminous yo-yo toy
But the future has to change - and to change I've got to destroy
Oh look out Lennon here I come - land ahoy-hoy-hoy

All American Alien Boy 
All American Alien Boy

Don't look down put your feet on the ground don't drown in the big aquarium 
Don't walk slow - put on a big show - shove your meat down vegetarians
Don't get slugged, get mugged, get bugged, or they'll sling you in the jug
Shove you under some rug, give you some drug - pull out the plug and then...

And they're telling me this hamburger's cheaper than the other
'N this television's cheaper than the other
And they're selling me hotdogs cheaper than the other
'N these pizzas cheaper than the other
And I don't understand all this - I'm just an All American Alien Boy

'N they're telling me rifles are shot in Connecticut
They're telling me pistols are shot in Westchester
You can get a Saturday Night Special on Flatbush, on the Bowery, or the Bronx
Or on 42nd Street - And I don't understand all this - 
being an All American Alien Boy

I've got sodium nitrate rotting in my guts
My head's full of ulcers I got lungs full of butts
My heart wants a transplant - it thinks that I'm nuts
My logic won't open - my eyes won't shut
'N I'm beginning to dig all this - being an All American Alien Boy

And your women are always right (alright)
They always know so much more
'Cos the women came from heaven
'N the men came outta some store
'N they don't know who they are and they don't know what they're for

I'm an All American Alien Boy - look out Mary Tyler Moore - All American
Alien Boy - etc.


Ten Bears, Two Bears, Standing Bear, Plenty Bear,
Old Bear, Brave Bear, Hollow Horn Bear
Silver Knife, Spotted Tail, Yellow Hand, Red Cloud,
Red Fox, Red Horse, Black Kettle,
White Ghost, White Bull, White Thunder, White Hog,
hold on a minute gotta frog in my throat
Cochise, Alchise, Roman Nose, Geronimo - hold on a minute - more to go
Sitting Bull, Tall Bull, Crazy Horse and Short Bull,
Low Dog, Red Dog, Yellow Wolf, Low Wolf
Loco, Victorio, Chato, Little Crow, Dead Eyes, Jak, Taza 'n Colorow
My mouth's exploding that's enough of this noise
I guess we're all - All American Alien Boys.

Irene Wilde

(Ian Hunter)

When I was just sixteen - I stood waiting for a dream - 
at Barker Street bus station every night
When I tried to get it on - she just looked at me with scorn - my courage
turned to dust and I took flight

For those looks they seemed to say
You ain't nuthin' - Go away
You're just a face in the crowd so I went home and I vowed
I'm gonna be somebody - someday

Her name was Irene Wilde - Oh such beauty for a child
When she started dating boys - I nearly died
For I could not barely stand to see someone hold her hand
I felt I had to crawl away and hide
In my mother's living room I composed so many tunes
All the same - just a frame - for her name, and just to say
Gonna be somebody - someday

Wild as your name I soon left that country town
I been around, seen some fame, seen some ups and seen some downs
Smile through your shock when you hear your name aloud
It's that face in the crowd - didn't dig it - much too proud...

When I was just sixteen I stood waiting for a dream
A Barker Street bus station non affair
At the time it seemed so sad, but it did not turn out bad
If you hadn't messed me up I'd still be there
And I think most folks agree, a little put-down makes them see
They ain't no chain - just a link and that's why you made me think
Gonna be somebody - be somebody - be somebody - someday

Restless Youth

(Ian Hunter)

He's much the same as anyone - He don't do what he's told
He got hostile on his school report - and he leaves his mother cold
His father owned a bakery - one day they found him hanged
It ain't good to be free in Little Italy - his son's the leader of the gang


He soon found out he could not work - the money was no good
This child of the city hit the welfare kitty - did some runnin' for the hoods
And the logic of the street was such - that everything was bent
There's a lot of white collars - stealing government dollars - wouldn't notice
such a little percent.


Now I went to his graduation - in some Brooklyn overnight jail
He said he was a member of the rock'n roll nation - 
but his face was drawn 'n pale
They gave him a suspended sentence - 'n he got straight on the phone
Called a big, big, man with a Miami tan 'n said
"Hi I'm Al Capone - the 2nd Restless Youth"


Now his first hit came at seventeen - his second was his last
Some dealer ran screaming from the scene - as the bullets whistled past
'N the cop that killed him shook his head 'n said "I swear the truth
When I know it was some old, old man 'n not a restless youth."


Now the moral of this story is that all he saw was greed
Legal, illegalities 'n all them politician thieves
Good people of the U.S.A. if you want your kids to grow
Then check your harvest carefully - Don't reap; before you sow



(Ian Hunter)

He searched through his love like a thief on the run
He searched through his face - to see the guilt water run
But he's fresh out of tears and nobody has come
And justice has got to be done

Oh moon in the city stay open and clear
For his vision ain't good and his mind's disappeared
"Get along mother nature" they spat at your son
So justice has got to be done

And beauty is lying alone in the park
Her friend has gone bowling in the alleys so dark
Where's her knight in white armour who rides a chrome Ford
Justice would seem to be bored
Justice would seem to be bored

A knife full of life penetrated the bait
While he thinks 'o the sister and the mother that he hates
And he thinks he'll get off 'cos he's sick, and stoned
And justice was made to be honed
And justice was made to be honed

And his lawyer is smiling one hell of a smile
'N he's lying all the lies - of the lies in exile 
While she's dying of grief he's defending his brief
And justice would seem to be cheap
And justice would seem to be cheap

Well I've searched through the falling, and I searched through the failed 
I've searched through the jury - the judge and the jailed
But sleeping beauty is dead no use pricking her thumb
And justice has got to be done

Justice just is - justice just is - justice just is - Not!

You Nearly Did Me In

(Ian Hunter)

See lonely shadows - silver needles
Abandoned in the evening war
Lost children of the night - come catch the candle bright
I hear a hollow sound - falling to the ground - she's lost before she's found
Sad broken angels takin' rainbows
Out on the street for all to see
If we are the chosen few - what ever happened to
All those things we knew, if this is being free - I'd rather search for me


You nearly did, you nearly did, you nearly did
You nearly did me in, you nearly did me in
And I need some place to hide - my weary anger down

Out on some misty distant highway
Feel like I though a million miles
Is my search nearly done - I think I see someone
I get the urge to run on blindly through the rain,
and I fool myself again


What ever happened to dignity
What ever happened to integrity
What ever happened to honesty
Well I'll tell you something baby - I feel the pain just like the sea


Apathy 83

(Ian Hunter)

Standin' on the edge of Vesuvius - my mouth is runnin' dry
Drunk on wine & wisdom - giving it all away
Old enough to hate tomorrow - young enough not to know where to run
Oh there ain't no rock'n roll no more - just the music of the young

Apathy for the devil Apathy for the devil
Apathy for the devil ,N Apathy for the son.

The moon shines brightly on some summer lawn - and envy caught like a leaf
Comes floating down upon this frozen desert sand - 
spitting bullets through the night
The siren wails on the ambulance - compassion touches my head 'n it bleeds
There ain't no rock'n roll no more just the sickly sound of greed.

And it's Apathy for the devil And it's Apathy for the devil
And it's Apathy for the devil 'N Apathy for the creed

No more gardens for the gardenless - no more - havens for the havenless
No more helpers for the helplessness - no more - somethings for a less
For the law is now the lawless
'N the flaw is now the flawless
'N the crime is now accepted
'N the criminal respected
'N now evil gets elected
'N now sinful get selected
Heed a president proven rotten Now officially forgotten

Was it your General Sheridan who once said 
"The only good, good man is a dead good man."
It was not me babe
I just said keep your head 'n your bread well down under them floorboards

'N you - you look like you gone with the wind
Running naked through the streets
Wired out - tired out - transcendental mental - only laughing in your sleep
Nostalgia is starting to focus too late, imagination is starting to itch
There ain't no rock'n roll no more just the music of the rich

'N it's Apathy for the Devil 'N it's Apathy for the Devil
'N it's Apathy for the Devil Apathy's at fever pitch

God (Take 1)

(Ian Hunter)

God said to me "Gonna kick your ass - 'cos all you do is ask ask ask 
All that energy looking for me when I'm sitting here inside you - plain to see 
How I built you cell for cell gave you sights to see - gave you tales to tell 
Even let you help yourself for a while - to take some weight off this busy child"

I said to God "I found you out - I know what this world is all about!"
God said "Stop - don't scramble your brain - 
my opponent's been messing you around again
See him and me are enemies and we play little games for galaxies
And he's inside you - 'n I am too - so here we are - just the three of you"

"Oh we made mistakes - too many cards - but making human beings can be hard
A God gets tired of playing so much chess - 
he wishes his God would get him out of his mess"
I said to God "What's it like to die" He said "It's as plain as the sea and sky
Conception was him and me and you - when your batteries fade we all just move on"

I said to God "Who's winning this game - is the devil in front" 
He said "Is that his name
You know I've been so busy I never asked - 
I never looked up from this awesome task"
I said to God "What's good 'n bad" 
He said "It's just something you've got to have
It don't mean nothing to us up here - 
but your primitive people - you gotta have fear"

I said to God "Do I think for myself" 
He said I told you once you just help yourself
Don't forget you're composed of three, your thinking comes from him and me"
I said to God "How big are you, is there a religion - is it true
How big's the universe - is time - the same for you as my life is to mine"

God said "If all the things that made worlds float - 
were all to part - then you would note
The size of him and the size of me - and that's how big we both shall be"
He said "The universe is small - just like some fortune-teller's ball
And we both sit down - and we play the game - 
when somebody wins it all starts again"

"There's no religion - you did that - it helps to keep your little leaders fat
Like faith 'n superstition stay - to help you pass the time away
But when you talk of time and life - it makes me think of circles, heights
Expansion is the clue - your dreams - are nearer than you've ever been"
"You see my little toy to think - is from two bowls of wine to drink 
Don't take too much or you may drown - behave yourself - see you around..."

These lyrics have been determined after careful listening to the tracks in question, and are provided for educational purposes only. Due to the possibility of mis-hearing, we cannot vouch for their accuracy. Copyright remains vested in the lawful copyright holders.


Transcribed by Jim Madden; minor corrections by Pierre Douglas; minor correction to All American Alien Boy by Ged Haney