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Monday
Jun032019

Happy birthday, Ian Hunter

Ian Hunter, who I saw play Birmingham Symphony Hall six weeks ago, is 80 today.

Born in 1939, he was already 35 when he appeared on German TV with Mott the Hoople in 1974 (above).

The song is Mott’s most successful single, sales wise, but watch the audience's reaction. It's priceless.

The irony is that before the band achieved commercial success with 'All The Young Dudes' in 1972 they were best known for the exuberance of their boisterous fans:

Recently-discovered letters have revealed that Mott the Hoople were one of the bands responsible for the Royal Albert Hall’s infamous ban on rock and pop concerts in 1972.

The behaviour of their fans at their concert on 8 July 1971, their first and only at the venue, was so enthusiastic that thousands of pounds worth of damage was caused to the venue.

Writing to Mott's record company ahead of the concert, an already nervous Marion Herrod, secretary and lettings agent for the Royal Albert Hall, commented:

I was rather alarmed to hear on the radio this morning a description of the group ‘Mott the Hoople’ ... as being one at whose concerts the audience habitually participate and one which often causes a ‘riot’.

In response, John Glover of Islands Records, wrote:

... the report you heard on the radio about the group was greatly exaggerated. ‘Mott the Hoople’ usually get a very good reception at all their concerts [but] as far as we know there have never been any riots or damage caused to any of the places where they have appeared.

Following the concert, Herrod wrote again to Glover:

I am sorry but in spite of your assurances that there would be no trouble at last night’s ‘Mott the Hoople’ concert, some members of the audience in Second Tier boxes became so enthusiastic and jumped and stamped around so much that the ceilings in two boxes in the Grand Tier below fell in. It is for reasons like this that we here do not like concerts at which the audience stamps and dances.

See: 8 July 1971: Mott the Hoople, and the Royal Albert Hall's rock and roll ban.

I also recommend an interview with Hunter that appeared in the Guardian last year. It includes a typically laconic anecdote plus some sage advice:

“I don’t have a stereo. People are horrified. They come to stay and they expect a stereo. When I was in London I went to Johnny Depp’s house and he’s got a complete wall. Massive speakers and a huge screen and it’s going on 24 hours a day. And I said, ‘Can you turn it down a bit?’

And the advice?

“If you’re lucky enough to have a passion – most people aren’t – grab it. And that’s what you do for the rest of your life. It might take a while and it might not be easy. But grab it and you’ll be happy. Fuck the money. That’ll come or it won’t. But you’ll be doing what you want to do and that’s what life is supposed to be.”

See Ian Hunter, rock's great underdog: 'Bowie thought I was the head of a motorcycle gang'.

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Reader Comments (1)

All you have to do is catch the famous Australian film crew video of their Paris Olympic Tavern September 1971 show, especially Rock and Roll Queen and always the raucous Keep A Knocking finale to see why to be half as good as MTH is twice as good as anyone else.

Thursday, June 6, 2019 at 0:16 | Unregistered CommenterAlan in Portlandia USA

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