In May 1969, a band from Hereford in the west of England auditioned for Guy Stevens and Island records. He liked them, but not the singer, so he advertised for a singer/pianist. Ian Hunter, who was neither, and who nearly didn't turn up for the audition, got the job. They toured the UK relentlessly, and their explosive stage act soon gained them a live following few bands get. But they couldn't sell albums, and so after four crazed but poor selling albums they split, in March 1972.
Long-time fan David Bowie pursuaded them to reform, offering them All The Young Dudes. Switching to CBS, and with Dudes a hit on both sides of the Atlantic, Mott finally found the success that had eluded them for so long. But the new musical direction didn't rest easily with some band members, and the line-up started to change. Out went Mick Ralphs, in came Ariel Bender. Despite huge live success he was less than inspiring in the studio, and he lasted just one album. In came Mick Ronson, but far from being the band's saviour he proved the catalyst in the band's destruction as finally Ian himself realised he had had enough.
The remnants recruited a new guitarist and a new vocalist, but despite a name change first to Mott, then to British Lions it was never the same, and they finally disbanded for good in 1979.
Ian, meanwhile, has enjoyed a varied and successful solo career, working on and off with Ronson until Mick sadly dies of cancer in 1993. 1997 saw him come back with a vengeance, with a brilliant new album and a string of UK gigs in the spring and autumn. He has continued to tour regularly - another good album in 2001 was followed by live DVDs in 2003 and 2005. The Ian Hunter story is still being written...
It is impossible to summarise Ian's and Mott's career in just a few short paragraphs. I have written a comprehensive treatment of the Mott The Hoople story, with a similar treatment of Ian's career close to completion. Rob Thormeyer and Nick DeAngelis have also sent me their treatments of the subject, which they wrote (separately) as part of their college work, and which they have kindly given me permission to publish here. Finally, I have listed a set of tributes written by fans back in 1996 when a competition was run on the mailing-list to coincide with the Japanese Mott The Hoople tribute album. Enjoy!