Mott the Hoople officially entered the second and largest chapter of his career on July 20, 1973, with the release of his sixth album.
The title of the LP, a single MottSaid it all: The group that had launched since 1969 as an often muscular British bluesy rock group led by a singer with a serious Bob Dylan obsession was no more. It was the hour of glamor.
The change actually took effect on the groundbreaking album from the previous year, All the young guys, in which producer and new rock star David Bowie reshaped Mott the Hoople, which was set to turn him after half a decade of failure into glam-rock superstars, thanks to the title track – a song which Bowie wrote especially for the floundering group.
But no one knew if guys was clicking, so when Mott – led by singer and songwriter Ian Hunter, who wrote or co-wrote all of the Mottthe nine songs from – began recording the follow-up LP in late 1972 and early 1973, this time performing on their own, their careers no longer on life support.
However, they still had something to prove. Namely, that Bowie was not 100% responsible for their new success. Hunter, in particular, was keen to prove the group’s contributions to their music. This is one of the reasons he insisted that the band produce Mott themselves and filling the disc with self-written songs (guitarist Mick Ralphs wrote the one in which Hunter had no hand).
Listen to “All the Way From Memphis” by Mott the Hoople
Whether or not it was intended, the album turned out to be a reflection of Mott the Hoople’s rocky road to stardom. The rock stars who populate the record are bitter, downcast and at their wit’s end, physically and emotionally.
The lead track and hit single, “All the Way From Memphis,” were based on a true story about when Ralphs’ guitar was shipped to the wrong town on tour. “Honaloochie Boogie” is all about getting lost in the scene. And the autobiographical “Ballad of Mott the Hoople (March 26, 1972, Zurich)” is as weary as its road-weary melody suggests.
Mott became the only Top 10 of the group in his native country; in the United States it reached No.35 (the next album, 1974 The hoop, climbed to n ° 28). “Honaloochie Boogie”, which was released before the album, peaked at No. 12 in the UK; “All the Way From Memphis” reached No. 10. With All the young guys, it is Mott the Hoople’s greatest work and, in a way, their most representative.
The following year Ralphs had left for Bad Company, Hunter had grown too big for the group, and things were starting to fall apart. After releasing The hoop, they were finished. Mott remains their most personal statement.