Album review of the week: Mott The Hoople – The Hoople

Mott The Hoople – The Hoople

Mott The Hoople - The Hoople

1. The golden age of rock’n’roll
2. Puppet
3. Alice
4. Crash Street Kidds
5. Born at the end of 58 (Overend Watts) 6
6. Trudi’s song
7. Pearl ‘n’ Roy (England)
8. Through the looking glass
9. Roll the stone

Order on Amazon

Mott The Hoople‘s seventh album was released in March 1974 with a title, The hoop, who suggested that it was a complementary piece to its predecessor, Mott. The album contained the classic Roll the stone, originally released as a single four months earlier, but now featuring guitar overdubs from new member Ariel Bender (known to his mother as former Spooky Tooth man Luther Grosvenor, Mick Ralphs’ replacement, who had left to form Bad Company).

It also included the life affirming single The golden age of rock’n’roll, epic Puppet and proto-punk Crash Street Kidds.

Each week, Album of the Week Club listens to and discusses the album in question, votes on its quality, and publishes our findings, with the goal of giving people reliable reviews and the wider rock community an opportunity to contribute. Join the group now.

Here is what we learned The hoop!


In August 1973, Mott The Hoople was playing in Washington DC. This would be Mick Ralphs’ last gig with the band. The guitarist was uncomfortable with how the success of All The Way From Memphis had changed the direction of the band. “We would have become a stylized pop group without excess,” he says. After Mott, he formed Bad Company with former Free frontman Paul Rodgers. a group whose commercial success would eclipse that of its former group, especially in the United States.

Ralphs’ replacement was former Spooky Tooth guitarist Luther Grovsenor. The fact that he was a childhood friend of the man he replaced ensured there was no animosity. He also happened to be a high level madman who would bring unbridled energy to Mott’s stage show.

The only catch was that Grovsenor was still under contract with Island, so he was forced to use a pseudonym. British singer-songwriter Lynsey De Paul, a friend of the band, once dubbed Mick Ralphs “Ariel Bender” after watching the drunken guitarist hurtling down a street in Germany, folding car antennas, before dipping his head in a drinking trough for horses. Hunter remembered the name and put it on the ready-made Grovsenor.

On November 12, Mott began what would be their biggest and most successful UK tour to date, supported by an up-and-coming group called Queen, going on to promote their debut album. Bender made his career on the stage, playing with Hunter and living up to his statement that he would give Mott a chance.

Of course, the wave had to break. The electrifying buzz Bender brought to the live show didn’t translate into the studio, so Hunter had to carry all the weight of being a leader, songwriter, and producer.

Other albums released in March 1974

Aerosmith – Get your wings
Camel – Mirage
Rush – Rush
Three Dogs Night – Hard Work
Queen – Queen II
Chicago – Chicago VII
Frank Zappa – Apostrophe
Eagles – At The Border
King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black
Kansas – Kansas
Bob Seger – Seven
Grand Funk Railway – Shinin ‘On
Boz Scaggs – Slow Dancer
Peter Frampton – Something Happens

What they said

“Has success ruined Ian Hunter? Mott received and deserved a lot of praise. It seemed like a post-scintillating breakthrough, demystifying superstar and demystifying rock: “Rock’n’roll is a game for losers.” But since then, Hunter and Mott the Hoople have become stars themselves, and sadly they seem to have lost the detached perspective that distinguished Mott. Instead of self-awareness, The hoop offers self-pity; instead of insight and irony, he provides Alice Cooper’s cheap histrionics. “(Rolling stone)

Roll the stone and maybe The golden age of rock’n’roll are classics in their neoclassical fashion, which is also to say that they are not new, and the marginal thing is quite undifferentiated. I suspect that Ian Hunter’s ego, which he deserves, crowds out others. And I know for sure that Ariel Bender displays more ego than Mick Ralphs ever did, and that he doesn’t deserve any of that. “(Robert Christgau)

“The record feels a bit uneven, both in terms of writing and sound, but it’s not without merit. Roll the stone, a remainder of Mott, is first rate; Crash Street Kidds tilts viciously; The golden age of rock & roll is a nice spin on Bowie-esque nostalgia (think Drive-in Saturday); and Overend Pete Watts continues on this theme with Born end of ’58, a perfectly believable rocker. All this does The hoop entertaining listening, even if it doesn’t compare to Mott’s earlier masterpieces. (AllMusic Guide)

What you said

Brian Carr: Keys to my musical tastes: melody / hook, especially vocals, and some degree of musical talent, especially guitar. Other things help, but these two are almost a must-have (which is why I really don’t like punk).

The hoop does not have any of those things. “Ariel Bender” is of sorts sloppy on this album and the melodic vocals certainly aren’t Ian Hunter’s strength. To go further, the songs are not even of very good quality (what happens in Crash Street Kidds? First the fade out of less than two minutes, then a noisy outro). Despite these drawbacks, I like it. The ambiance (almost) makes up for the general neglect throughout. I voted 6/10.

Marc McCullagh: Not a band that I’ve had a lot of exposure with other than Memphis and Dudes but it’s a pretty solid album. The club member who stopped at track 4 missed another track later with “Through The Looking Glass”. Every club album needs a fair hearing.

Ed brown: Sorry guys, I’ve always struggled with Mott The Hoople, Roll Away The Stone is a great jam but the rest of this album could easily be dropped. Maybe they should have asked David Bowie to write all of their songs for them because All The Young Dudes is the best song they’ve ever recorded. Of all their albums, I really only like three or four songs, it’s a shame because they have very good company musically like T-Rex and David Bowie.

Richard Cardenas: I remember when this came out. Formulation stage of my life and this record opened me up to glam even before Bowie.

I don’t think they’ve ever been better than that overall and moving forward I liked Ariel Bender’s project Widow Maker better than any MtH product.

Jim linning: Mott the Hoople (backed by Queen) was the first gig I attended, so I always had a soft spot for the band. Having said that, I never thought they’d ever released this ‘killer’ album. There always seemed to be a few tracks that let them down, and in my opinion, it’s Pearl ‘n’ Roy and Through the Looking Glass that do the trick on this one. I’m not a huge Crash Street Kidds fan either, mainly because it always felt like a missed opportunity. A catchy straight track abandoned by this reversal fades for a few minutes and an awkward guitar superimposed on the chorus. Nonetheless, Golden Age, Roll Away the Stone and Marionette are classics and Rest in Peace – an addition to the deluxe reissue and the Golden Age B-side is one of my favorite MTH tracks. 7/10

Tony collins: After the album ‘Mott’, I was actually quite disappointed. Other than ‘Marionette’, personally I don’t think any of the songs match anything on ‘Mott’. But that’s just my opinion. Of course, some will disagree.

Maxwell Martello: A fairly decent record. “Golden Age Of Rock and Roll” is one of my favorite MTH songs. I have always had a weakness for “Roll Away the Stone”. If I had to pick just one MTH album, it would definitely be “Mad Shadows”. HEAVY.

Alistair Gordon: Probably not musically the best hour of Mott The Hoople but this is my favorite Mott album no particular rhyme or reason why I love it too I liked the live album which came soon after.

Lee jones: A little behind compared to previous records. Solo guitar is a glaring problem. Now, if Mick Ronson (or even Ray Majors) had joined in place of Luther Grosvenor, this would have been a much better album. Bender’s severed-fisted guitar bludgeon every song into a bloody mess. Which is odd since he’s generally a great player (see Spooky Tooth & Stealers Wheel for proof). Still, the majority of the songs on the record are top notch and a class above most rock songs released in the past 25 years or so. However, keep in mind that the single version of Roll Away the Stone with Mick Ralphs is much better than the album cut with Bender. Iconic album cover though: I remember when this came out. Formulation stage of my life and this record opened me up to glam even before Bowie.

I don’t think they’ve ever been better than that overall and moving forward I liked Ariel Bender’s project Widow Maker better than any MtH product.

Final score: 6.89 ⁄10 (98 votes cast, with a total score of 685)

Join the Album Of The Week Club on Facebook to participate. The history of rock, one album at a time.

Previous Mott the Hoople and Mountain Supergroup will release a lost album
Next The Roxy Music Guide for Beginners