Tag Archives: Mott the Hoople

Golden Years

Paul Fitzpatrick: London, May 2021

Every generation tends to think there era was best.

And why wouldn’t they… typically, every era has access to more ‘stuff’ and better lifestyle choices than the previous one.

For our generation (late Baby-Boomers born between 1954-1964), I think we hit the sweet spot culturally…. particularly when it comes to music.

My musical awareness began around 1968, just in time to catch the Beatles, and all the brilliant 70s artists that followed.
I look back now and realise that the 70s wouldn’t have been so prolific without the 60s…. with The Beatles, Dylan, Hendrix, Motown, Stax and the Laurel Canyon scene inspiring what was to follow.

And what was to follow was pretty special…….

The Rolling Stones, The Who, Steely Dan, David Bowie, Marvin Gaye, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, The Eagles, Earth Wind & Fire, James Brown, The Doobie Brothers, Roxy Music, T-Rex, Little Feat, Fleetwood Mac, James Taylor, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklyn, Carole King, Carly Simon, Bob Marley, Parliament/Funkadelic, Bobby Womack, Pink Floyd, Al Green, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Queen, McCartney, Lennon, Harrison , Yes, Genesis, AWB, The Bee Gees, Deep Purple, Linda Ronstadt, Curtis Mayfield, George Benson, Rory Gallagher, John Martyn, Todd Rundgren…. and many more

Whether you were a fan of some of these acts or not, the one thing they all shared was a prolificacy of output…. amazingly they all managed to release multiple albums of exceptional quality, whilst still finding time to compose, record, tour, collaborate and live a 70s rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, with all the excesses that entailed.

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I’m with the band – On the road with Zep

Indeed, there was so much quality being produced in the 70s that for the first five or six years of the decade it seemed like there was a landmark release every other week.

Take 1971 as an example.

  • The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers
  • Carole King – Tapestry
  • Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV
  • David Bowie – Hunky Dory
  • Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On
  • Rod Stewart – Every Picture Tells a Story
  • John Lennon – Imagine
  • Joni Mitchell – Blue
  • The Who – Who’s Next
  • T Rex – Electric Warrior
  • Cat Stevens – Teaser and the Firecat
  • The Doors – LA Woman
  • Sly and the Family Stone – There’s a Riot Goin’ On
  • The Faces – A Nods as Good as a Wink to a Blind Horse
  • James Brown – Sex Machine
  • Don McLean – American Pie
  • Gil Scott Heron – Pieces of a Man
  • Jethro Tull – Aqualung
  • Pink Floyd – Meddle 
  • James Taylor – Mud Slide Slim 
  • Isaac Hayes – Shaft 
  • Yes – Fragile
  • Paul McCartney – Ram 
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71 A Classic Year

Included in this list from 71 are two of the top three albums of all time, according to Rolling Stone magazine….
Marvin Gaye’s – What’s Going On and Joni Mitchell’s – Blue.
Both seminal and often cited as landmark recordings by other artists and critics, but in truth just two excellent albums from a catalogue of exquisite releases.
There is a neat book about the quality of the music released in 1971 by David Hepworth who describes the year as ‘the most creative in popular music’

Anther remarkable thing about the 70s was the diversity of the music.

Rock, pop, soul, reggae, jazz, punk, folk, glam, funk….. it was one big melting pot where you could find Benny Hill rubbing shoulders at the top of the charts with Jimi Hendrix, Abba with Pink Floyd, and The Wombles with Stevie Wonder.

The 70s record buying public represented a ‘broad church’ of musical styles and tastes and they were all represented in the weekly top 30.

There was also a constant flow of talent breaking through in the 70s.
Take the chart below from July 1972 and you will see the emergence of a few acts making their chart debuts that month, who went on to do pretty well….
Roxy Music, Mott the Hoople, Alice Cooper, ELO

Another barometer of how good an era is, can be measured I think, by the interest in it from future generations.

Based on my own anecdotal evidence, I have a daughter who loves Gladys Knight and Marvin Gaye as much as she loves Beyonce or John Mayer and I have sons who dig Steely Dan, The Rolling Stones and Stevie Wonder as much as they dig Kings of Leon, Foo Fighters or Kanye West.

That only happens when the music is timeless…..

Talking of timeless music, the updated 70s Jukebox links are below.
There are 250 songs on the master playlist now, with the common thread being that they are all singles that would almost certainly have been playing on a jukebox somewhere in the 70s.

Thanks to everyone who contributed, it’s a playlist that’s been curated by you and not surprisingly our choices have proved to be a microcosm of the record buying public with a wide range of tastes and musical styles covered.

It was clear from the song choices coming through at the start that there were two distinctive threads –
Soul/Disco
Classic Pop/Rock

Therefore I’ve prepared two playlists….

1) The Ultimate Playlist which is the master playlist and features all 250 songs, tracks 1-150 are classic pop/rock songs and tracks 151-250 are soul/disco tracks…. select shuffle and it will churn out 17 hours of hit after hit, just like a great jukebox should.

2) The Boogie Nights Playlist features the 100 soul/disco tracks taken from the master playlist which you can boogie or smooch to….. just like a night up Joannas or your favourite 70s nightclub of choice!

Within each playlist I have tried to group the songs in a running order that makes sense but if you’re like me you’ll probably just hit ‘shuffle’, pour out your beverage of choice and boogie round the kitchen like it’s 1975…

To save the playlist to your Spotify library….. press the Spotify icon in the top right hand corner of the playlists above and when you’ve been transferred to the playlist on your own Spotify account, click the Heart icon to save the playlist to your library.

a journey through life with mott the hoople.

(Post by Alan Fairley, of Edinburgh – February 2021)

There can’t be too many people who have set out planning to attend a T Rex concert only to have ended up at a Mott the Hoople gig but that particular quantum leap was one which I experienced as 1971 drew to a close, and one which, in musical terms, proved to be a seminal moment in my life.

Both myself and my long term school friend James Meldrum had recently scaled (metaphorically) the stifling walls of Bearsden Academy to embark on our respective career choices. James had headed off to Portsmouth to join the Royal Navy while I merely made the 15 minute walk over Pendicle Road to start my job in the less exotic environment of Bank of Scotland’s Bearsden Cross branch.

James and I had bonded over the years due to our communal interest in football and music and it was around this time that the latter was, within our respective psyches, beginning to vie for attention with the former. As James’ first shore leave approached, he called me and suggested getting tickets for the T Rex gig at Greens Playhouse which was coinciding with his period of leave. I dutifully hopped on to the No13 bus from Maxwell Avenue to Renfrew Street and legged it along Sauchiehall Street before heading to the oasis-like ticket desk which lurked in the dark corners of House of Clydesdale only to be told that T Rex was completely sold out. Deflated, but determined to avoid a wasted journey, I asked the salesgirl what other shows were on around that time. She handed me a list and three words jumped off the page –  Mott. The. Hoople.

I didn’t know much about them. I’d read in the Melody Maker that they did a great live show and I’d seen them once on Top of the Pops performing their spectacularly unsuccessful debut single Midnight Lady. I duly purchased the tickets and recall vividly the seat numbers -D7 and D8. Four rows from the front, the nearest I’d ever been to the gargantuan Playhouse stage.

The gig itself was amazing. We didn’t know any of the songs but they all sounded great, the fans rushed the stage toward the end and the cops were called in as the management clearly feared a riot. No Neanderthal Rock Steady stewards in these days as Glasgow’s finest restored order –  but only after the band had completed no less than three encores.

From then on, Mott became my favourite band and I saw them again a few months later at the Kelvin Hall. By this time I had acquired my first proper girlfriend, Marion, who I had met at the Christmas dance in Bearsden Burgh Hall (no disco thankfully, just a couple of great live bands one of which featured recently departed Marmalade guitarist Hughie Nicholson).

Pretty, intelligent, sensible and a lover of classical music, Marion, a former Hillhead H.S. pupil was the polar opposite of me and it was probably a serious error of judgement on my part by taking her along to the Kelvin Hall show.  Our contrasting reactions to the entertainment on offer merely accentuated the vast cultural chasm which existed between us and it was no real surprise when she gave me the Spanish Archer not long afterwards.

I addressed the disappointment of being issued with the Red Card from Marion by immersing myself further in music, forsaking the questionable delights of following Partick Thistle by spending my Saturday afternoons browsing through, and usually purchasing, albums from the city centre record shops such as Listen, Bruce’s and 23rd Precinct. I also became a regular patron of Greens Playhouse, checking out any acts I thought would be worth listening to and I scoured the music papers diligently every week to check when my favourite band would again be touring.

Thankfully their next visit to Glasgow coincided with James’ shore leave and this time we had front row tickets – a first for us both. The fourth Mott gig I attended occurred after Greens had morphed into the Apollo following a major aesthetic overhaul, something which had also happened to the band itself. Gone were the five working class lads from Hereford, a quintet to whom their fan base could easily identify. Instead  there was glitter, peroxide, suits and platform boots as the long waited Bowie-influenced chart success of All the Young Dudes had propelled the band into the Glam Rock genre.

(Speaking of genre propulsion, the support act on that occasion was a relatively unknown outfit called Queen who, at the end of the tour, released their debut single Seven Seas of Rye. To quote Charlie Nicholas, ‘the rest is geography.’)

Mott split up shortly after that gig, around the time that I moved to Edinburgh and met the girl of my dreams, rapidly finding myself struck by the triple whammy of marriage, mortgage and children  resulting in my  obsession with music soon giving way to the new responsibilities which altered my outlook on life.

Mott’s lead singer Ian Hunter toured extensively thereafter but I was in my 40s by the time I saw him on stage again. The venue was for the gig was…er…’The Venue’, an imaginatively named building tucked away in a cobbled street within the dark confines of Edinburgh’s Old Town. After the show I hung around, along with a few other ageing fans, at the stage door hoping for a glimpse of, or even a chat with, the man himself.

A burly roadie then appeared and announced that Ian wouldn’t be seeing anyone.

My subsequent anger, fuelled by the casual dismissiveness of my own loyalty, exploded as I responded with-

‘Tell him if it wasn’t for us, he’d be working in a f***ing factory’.

I only realised the misguided nature of my knee jerk reaction when this behemoth of a roadie advanced angrily in my direction but the situation was resolved when Hunter quickly appeared, shaking hands and signing autographs for his small band of admirers.

I saw him in concert maybe a dozen times, in three different countries, after that, the two most memorable being when I was reunited with my old pal James (after a gap of almost 40 years) at Londons’ Shepherds Bush Empire and another in the picturesque enclave of San Juan Capistrano, California, the last gig I attended with my wife Pamela, who passed away three months later.

The subsequent Mott the Hoople reunion shows came and went amidst much hype. I attended the London and Glasgow events but by then they had become akin to a tribute band and I realised that the magic of 1971 had gone forever.

The band, and its members, provided me with some great memories over a period of almost 50 years —-and all because T Rex had been sold out.

As they say in France, ‘je ne regret rien’

summer 1972 – School’s out.

(Post by Paul Fitzpatrick, of London – February 2021)

1972 in Scotland – The Eurovision Song contest is held in Edinburgh (New Seekers, Beg, Steal or Borrow comes 4th); The Average White Band are formed.

I can’t remember what I had for dinner last night, but I can remember watching Top of the Pops nearly 50 years ago in the summer of 1972.

The summer had already got off to a great start when it was announced that the summer school holidays had been extended by two weeks to align the school leaving age in Scotland to 16 with the rest of the UK.

On top of that I had been invited to go on a camping holiday to Ayr by a good mate Alan McGuire and his family, so five of us and a dog made our way down the old A77 to join the other happy campers at Ayr Racecourse in August 1972.

The next 10 days were among the best of my young life.

Ayr racecourse was closed for the summer and being utilised as a camping site that year.

We were a 20-minute walk from the beach & harbour, a 20-minute walk from the town centre and there were great facilities on site.

Every day was an adventure, and we’d literally collapse into our sleeping bags at night exhausted from the day’s events which included nightly footie matches between the Scottish and the English, all ages and abilities welcome. Matches that went on for ever with the cry of ‘next goal the winner’ never being adhered to.

The sun was shining, there were no midges, everybody was really friendly, and the days seemed to last forever, right up until it got dark at what seemed 10pm most nights.

And if that wasn’t enough, there was the most unbelievable soundtrack being played in the background on the radios and on TV.

I usually missed Top of the Pops (TOTP) because it clashed with football training on a Thursday, but I always made an effort to watch it during the holidays, and I was glad I did that summer, as there were so many memorable moments.

Leading up to our holiday, TOTP was getting interesting; first there was Bowie who had come from nowhere, I’d never heard of him, and the song he was playing (Starman) wasn’t one I’d heard before.

I wasn’t even sure what I was watching, he was strange but cool at the same time, the rest of the band were pretty weird as well, apart from the guitarist who looked reasonably normal, (in a ‘glam-rock normal’ sort of way), but there was no mistaking the quality of the music, it was incredible, and I rushed out to buy the single from Woolies the next day.

The following week Alice Cooper exploded onto our screens for the first time, all menacing in black with ghoulish eye makeup and a sword. It was all theatre of course but we didn’t know it at the time, and we were suitably shocked.

During his performance I remember a girl in a pink smock innocently dancing on stage beside him and thinking ‘you need to be careful hen; he could have your eye out with that sword’.

During his performance I remember a girl in a pink smock innocently dancing on stage beside him and thinking ‘you need to be careful darling; he could have your eye out with that sword’.

Once again Woolies duly received my hard-earned paper-round money.

Cooper with his cutlass on TOTP 1972

So, the hits kept on coming and the following week another band I’d never heard of dropped into my orbit. They were called Mott the Hoople and they rocked up with the anthemic All The Young Dudes, another jaw dropper, which we discovered came from the pen of Bowie.

Woolies, here I come!

We arrived in Ayr on a Thursday, settled in and happily realised that watching TOTP was a communal, must-do activity, so a large group of teenagers including my pal’s older sister Elaine gathered round the TV in the racecourse clubhouse to see who would be appearing that week.

It would be fair to say that the majority of the assembled audience were female and were there in anticipation that their current crushes – David Cassidy or Donny Osmond would be making an appearance on screen.

Unfortunately for the girls there would be no Donny or David that week but they weren’t disappointed as it was the evening that You Wear it Well was performed by Rod Stewart with The Faces in tow. Everybody seemed to love Rod back then and he was back on form larking around, presumably bevvied, which was The Faces de-facto state in those days.

I found a record shop in Ayr the next day.

The following Thursday, our last in Ayr, would be no let down in form as we gathered round the TV to watch the unfortunate Jimmy Saville introduce another new band, called Roxy Music, who were like aliens from another planet.

This bunch of misfits had a vocalist who looked like an Elvis impersonator, and an androgynous silver glove wearing character with a Max Wall haircut playing some sort of box/keyboard, that made weird but wonderful sounds.

The rest of the band looked like extras from Star Trek, but like Bowie and Mott, they jumped out of the screen demanding your attention and the music was captivating. As soon as I got home, I was heading to Woolies for sure.

There were so many highlights on that holiday, I even went to my first gig, to see a band called Chicory Tip. Although we only knew one of their songs, their number one hit Son of my Father.

Little did we know at the time that this one hit wonder would be a precursor to Donna Summer’s I feel Love and all her 70’s disco hits, as it was written and produced by the legendary Giorgio Moroder. On reflection the little moog synthesiser hook is a giveaway.

Our days at Ayr Racecourse raced by and sadly the adventure came to a close, but the memories of that holiday didn’t end there.

My pal’s family dropped me off at my house on our return and I rang the doorbell to be met by a perfect stranger, we both stood there looking at each other for a minute, him wondering who the hell I was, me thinking the same, but with a look of panic etched on my face.

The man broke the deadlock by very reasonably asking what it was I wanted and looked confused when I blurted out, “where’s my Mum”?

He replied that he didn’t know where my Mum was, which was a bit disconcerting, and it was at this point that the penny must have dropped for the bemused chap, when he saw my holdall, sleeping bag and crushed look and said “Ah, we just moved in here a few days ago, you must be the son of the people we bought the house from”.

Yep, my family had moved and had forgotten to tell me.

Having moved myself a few times over the years now, I know it’s stressful and I know there’s a long to-do list, but we usually remember to take the kids with us.

I remembered there had been talk of moving as I had been told to keep my room tidy for people viewing the house, but the fine details and timelines had not been important to a 14-year-old who expected to be packed and transported with the Tupperware, plus like I said, I never got the memo!

The new house was only half a mile away and as I made my way there, I got excited about the prospect of my new home and all that that entailed and reflected on the great holiday I had just experienced.

I had spent time away from my loved ones for the first time but with people who had welcomed me into their family with open arms.

I had experienced much independence, went to my first gig, kissed a girl, had an amazing time and on top of all that, I had all these great songs washing around in my head.

Further grown-up adventures obviously lay in wait, but for my 14-year-old self, this was the perfect summer holiday.