Friday, January 13, 2012

Mott The Hoople (Bonus Video Friday)

January 6, 2012

This is installment one of "The Five Best Bands That You Never Saw" segment of Growing Old With Rock & Roll.

(Those of you who know me well might realize that this classification may grow to include seven, to ten, to 37 "Five Best Bands That You Never Saw.")

Mott The Hoople

I first saw Mott The Hoople on June 13th, 1970, exactly one week after I graduated from high school, at the Cincinnati Pop Festival. (Other bands on the bill that day: Alice Cooper, Traffic, The Stooges, Mountain, plus down-the-bill acts like The Damnation Of Adam Blessing, SRC, etc.) (I fell over a fence and split my head open within 20 minutes of getting out of the car that morning in Cincy. It was a banner day for rock & roll. There may be an entire Growing Old With Rock & Roll entry on that festival someday, but not today.)

Anyway, Mott The Hoople was one of the best live acts I ever saw that day and it kick-started a love affair with the band for me that persists to this day. Ian Hunter was a GENIUS front man, pulled out his entire Jerry Lee Lewis bit that summer afternoon; pushing over his electric piano, playing it behind his back, generally raving & looning like a rock & roll madman. But Mick Ralphs (later of Bad Company, bad move, Mick) on lead guitar, Overend Watts on bass, Verden Allen on organ and Buffin on drums were not some hired-hand back-up group, Mott The Hoople were a BAND, Jack. Those five guys played live like a burning bush out of some Biblical vision.

The fact that Mott The Hoople has never been nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, let alone inducted, to me invalidates the very concept of that Cleveland landmark. Ian Hunter wrote the song "Cleveland Rocks" and put our North Shore Ohio cousins on the rock & roll map, for Chrissakes, what more should it take? (And before any of you rock aficionados out there point out that The Band’s "Look Out Cleveland" predates Ian’s tune, let me say; 1) "Look Out Cleveland" was not a very good song, and, 2) The Band were hippies and Mott most definitely were not. So, advantage Mott The Hoople, Mott The Hoople wins, Mott The Hoople RULES!)


I saw Mott The Hoople do this "Sweet Angeline" stage bit (bringing a woman out of the audience for Ian Hunter to sing to) twice, in 1973 and 1974. It went great both times; the participants were in their twenties, loved being serenaded by Ian, loved being onstage with the band. The teenager in this video, however, is THE MOST uncomfortable person I have ever seen in a rock video. I've seen prison footage where people appear to be having a better time than this girl. Hilarious and rocking.

© 2012 Ricki C.

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