Ian Hunter - Mott the Hoople
Ian Hunter, “Big Mouth”
What to say about Ian Hunter? He was the main singer and songwriter for Mott the Hoople, which had several hit songs in the first half of the 1970s (the David Bowie penned “All the Young Dudes,” as well as Hunter’s “All the Way from Memphis,” etc.). His solo career since then has included “Cleveland Rocks,” “Once Bitten, Twice Shy,” “Just Another Night,” and “Ships.” The lead guitar player from Mott, Mick Ralphs (who also sang and wrote songs, including “Ready for Love”), went on to form Bad Company with Paul Rogers after Mott broke up.
For a time in my life I listened to Hunter and Mott more than just about anything else. But beyond that, his (and Mott’s) influence has been broad. Go back and listen to the original Mott the Hoople songs and you can hear bits of what would become Queen, The Replacements, and a host of other bands, including Wilco (trust me, go back and listen to Being There), R.E.M., and on and on (think of bands like Camper Van Beethoven and Sparklehorse). The way they, musically and lyrically, were able to go from thoughtful to stupid, from ironic to sentimental (often within the same song) was one-of-a-kind. Go to YouTube and listen to “Crash Street Kids” or “One of the Boys” and you’ll see what I mean. For sheer influence alone, Hunter and Mott deserve a special corner at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
And here he is, at 65 or so years, still cranking solid rock and roll. “Big Mouth” is from his new one, Shrunken Heads, which I just found out about. I’m going to pick it up next week when I head down to Austin.
Here’s a link to a recent live show previewing several tracks, including the very good “When the World was Round.” Live Fridays from XPN:
And here he is doing “Rest in Peace,” back in 2004, one of my favorite Mott songs.