Mott the Hoople

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Mott the Hoople were a popular 1970s British rock and roll band that maintained a large audience without ever achieving mainstream success.

Mick Ralphs, Verden Allen, Overend Pete Watts and Dale Griffin (often referred to as 'Buffin') formed a band called Silence in 1968, playing near Hereford. Adding high-voiced lead singer Stan Tippens in 1969, the band recorded early tracks at a studio in Monmouth, later dominated by Love Sculpture and Dave Edmunds. Stan was soon injured and could not sing but the band lobbied and eventually signed with Island Records and moved to London to record with Guy Stevens as producer.

Stevens changed the band's name to Mott the Hoople, taken from a Willard Manus novel. Tippens became the road manager for the band; he was replaced by Ian Hunter who had replied to a music magazine advertisement which read "Singer wanted, must be image-minded and hungry". Mott the Hoople (1969) was a cult success that included memorable cover versions of "Laugh at Me" (Sonny Bono) and an instrumental version of "You Really Got Me" (the Kinks).

The second album, Mad Shadows (1970), sold poorly and received generally negative reviews, as did Wildlife (1971). Even with a large following, Brain Capers (1971) also did not do well and the band was close to breaking up.

David Bowie had long been a fan of the band and heard that they were about to split (allegedly when Overend Watts contacted him asking if he needed the services of a bass player). Bowie convinced them to stay together and offered them "Suffragette City" (off his then massively popular Ziggy Stardust), but Mott the Hoople refused and asked for "Drive-In Saturday" and eventually received "All the Young Dudes". The song was a major success in the United Kingdom - using Stan Tippens to sing the higher notes of its chorus during live gigs. A David Bowie-produced album, also called "All The Young Dudes" was a major success. Allen left the band after All the Young Dudes and before the release of a concept album, Mott, which was quite successful.

Mott the Hoople's popularity helped lead to the band's break-up, along with an exposť in New Musical Express of Tippens' role in singing the chorus of "All The Young Dudes" from a hidden microphone backstage. Ralphs left in 1973 to form Bad Company; he was replaced by former Spooky Tooth guitarist Luther Grosvenor who, for contractual reasons changed his name to Ariel Bender for his stint with the band. Morgan Fisher also joined as keyboardist.

After The Hoople, a live album was released and Mick Ronson replaced Bender in 1974. Ronson and Hunter soon left the group to form a duo, while Ray Major and Nigel Benjamin were added to continue the group, which soon changed its name to Mott.

After releasing two albums which met with little success, Mott added John Fiddler and became British Lions, soon to split up without any major success. Hunter and Ronson worked and toured together sporadically until 1993, when Ronson died, after which Hunter continued his solo career.

Mott The Hoople discography

  • Mott The Hoople (1969)
  • Mad Shadows (1970)
  • Wildlife (1971)
  • Brain Capers (1971)
  • All The Young Dudes (1972)
  • Mott (1973)
  • The Hoople (1974)
  • Live (1974)

Mott discography


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