Mott The Hoople and Ian Hunter


Universal B07BZC8LJD

Beside Bowie

This Mick Ronson biog film has been a long time coming. Perhaps best-known as David Bowie's guitar player during the "Ziggy Stardust" era, he was not just a great guitar player but also a brilliant arranger and producer. After Bowie disbanded the Spiders Mick launched a solo career, but he was not a natural front-man so he soon preferred to work either as a side-man (Bob Dylan, Ian Hunter) or as a producer and arranger. As a guitar player he should by rights be up there in the public's conciousness with the likes of Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton, so I was hoping this film would go some way to rectifying that.

The film is comprehensive in its treatment of his time with David Bowie - perhaps too much so, for at times it feels like a David Bowie/Ziggy Stardust documentary. Not that there is anything wrong in that, but I was hoping there would be decent coverage of his post-Bowie career. His work with Ian Hunter in particular (1975, 1979-81 and 1988-90) receives scant treatment and although work with John Mellencamp and Morrisey is covered much of his work in the 1980's is either glossed over or ignored completely.

That said, the list of alnumni who contributed is certainly impressive: Bowie himself, Angie Bowie, Suzi Ronson, Rick Wakeman, Joe Elliott and Ian Hunter to name but a few. What comes across is what a humble man Mick was, who perhaps never realised how good he really was. He would never, for example, ask for more money perhaps fearing he would be fired if he did so (as if the people concerned would find somebody as good to replace him). Rick Wakeman is gushing about Mick's piano arrangements for Life On Mars? and how a simple unexpected chord change adds power and drama just when you least expect it. There is also footage of Mick himself explaining how he got exactly the tone he wanted for Jean Genie as if it was all in a day's work for him.

So ultimately a flawed film, but still essential none the less.