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2023 Albums Thing 234 - Mott The Hoople “Mott”

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I’m not sure where my liking for Mott the Hoople came from. It wasn’t an at the time thing as I was so focussed in on Slade back then that I wouldn’t have noticed them. It may be the “All The Young Dudes” Bowie connection that intrigued me. It may well have been at the prompting of my old friend Philip Barlow who is also a massive Mott fan. Whatever it was I’m a big fan of Mott the Hoople and they are possibly not regarded as highly as they should be.

Mott The Hoople released their first album for Island Records in 1969. After three more albums in a heavy rock style, with no success forthcoming, they were on the verge of breaking up. Enter David Bowie who was a fan. He originally offered them “Suffragette City” to record and try and get them a hit. They turned it down (!) so Bowie wrote for them (?)/offered them “All The Young Dudes” which they loved. Bowie’s management, Mainman, did a deal to move Mott from Island to CBS and Bowie and Mick Ronson produced an album of the same title. The single peaked at #3 and the album #21 in the UK. Mott were back.

“Mott” is the follow up to “All The Young Dudes” (the album) and Mott’s 6th album. They were now writing their own material again, singer Ian Hunter being the primary writer. The album features 2 great Glam Rock singles in “All The Way From Memphis” and “Honaloochie Boogie”, hard rock tracks that hark back to their earlier years, “Whizz Kid” and “Drivin’ Sister” and one thing that Mott were really good at, self referential songs. On this album those would be “Hymn For The Dudes” and "Ballad of Mott the Hoople (26th March 1972, Zürich)”. “Hymn For The Dudes” possibly includes a couple of digs at Bowie (“You ain't the nazz, You're just a buzz, Some kinda temporary”) and “Ballad…” is the story of the band set to music

Buffin lost his child-like dreams, And Mick lost his guitar

And Verden grew a line or two, And Overend's just a rock'n'roll star

Behind these shades the visions fade, As I learn a thing or two

Oh but if I had my time again, You all know just what I'd do

The line about Mick losing his guitar even refers back to “All The Way From Memphis” (“Forgot my six string razor, Hit the sky, Halfway to Memphis ‘fore I realised” also telling of the time guitarist Mick Ralphs lost his guitar on tour). The other great song on “Mott” is “Violence”, a real theatrical piece about the sort of guy who likes, well, violence. The album ends on “I Wish I Was Your Mother” an almost Irish Folk ballad, it’s great BTW.

Bowie had given Mott their mojo back and “Mott” gave them another pair of hit singles. Said to have been a great live band in their pomp (I only saw them once in 2013 and sadly they were bloody awful !), they were the only band that Queen ever supported. If you’re not a fan I don’t think we can be friends. They deserve to be remembered as a great 70’s rock band.

Ballad Of Mott The Hoople (26th March 1972, Zürich) - https://youtu.be/sJeU37u6kU8?si=N646kU5rTBIc0MZo

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