Ian Hunter (singer)


Ian Hunter (singer)

Infobox musical artist
Name = Ian Hunter


Img_capt = Ian Hunter in 2004
Img_size = 180
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name = Ian Hunter Patterson
Born = birth date and age|df=yes|1939|6|3
Died =
Origin = Shropshire, England
Instrument = Guitar, piano, harmonica
Genre = Rock
Hard rock
Glam rock
Occupation = Singer-songwriter
Years_active = 1958 – present
Label = Yep Roc
Jerkin' Crocus
Chrysalis
Island
CBS
Columbia
Associated_acts = Mott The Hoople
Mick Ronson
URL = http://www.ianhunter.com/
Current_members =
Past_members =
Notable_instruments =
Ian Hunter (born Ian Hunter Patterson, 3 June 1939, Oswestry, Shropshire) is an English singer-songwriter. He was the lead singer of the English rock band Mott the Hoople from its inception in 1969 to its dissolution in 1974. Hunter was a musician and songwriter before Mott the Hoople, and he continued in this vein after he left the band. As the leading figure in Mott, but facing ill-health and disillusioned with commercial success, he embarked on a solo career, often in collaboration with Mott's final guitarist Mick Ronson, who was well-known as David Bowie's sideman and arranger from the "Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars" period.Walker, Bruce. [http://www.musicianguide.com/biographies/1608004651/Ian-Hunter.html "Ian Hunter Biography"] , "musicianguide.com", retrieved 18 February 2008.]

Mott the Hoople achieved a certain level of commercial success and a small but devoted fan base. As a solo artist Hunter at times made the charts while most consistently releasing lesser-known but more wide-ranging works outside the rock mainstream. Among his best-known solo records are "Once Bitten, Twice Shy" and "Cleveland Rocks," made famous from a cover version on "The Drew Carey Show", an American TV series.

Early years

Hunter's entry into the music business came after a chance encounter with Colin York and Colin Broom at Butlin's Holiday Camp, where the trio won a talent competition performing "Blue Moon" on acoustic guitars.cite book | last = Devine | first = Campbell | authorlink = Campbell Devine | title = Mott The Hoople and Ian Hunter: All The Young Dudes - The Biography | publisher = Cherry Red Books | date = 1998 | isbn = 1901447057 York and Broom were members of a Northampton-based band called The Apex Group, fronted by bass player and band leader Frank Short. Ian soon left his home in Shrewsbury, transferred his apprenticeship from Sentinel/Rolls Royce to British Timpken in Northampton, and joined The Apex Group on rhythm guitar. Ian recalls jumping around like a lunatic on stage: "Music affected me so much. The rest of them just stood there. It was funny, I had kids who came just to watch me do this, and I can't imagine what it looked like."

Hunter left The Apex Group in 1958, just before they recorded their first single "Yorkshire Relish, Caravan" for John Lever Records. [Purington] (Lever, the owner of a local record shop, had recently joined as the band's drummer). Ian kicked around in a few local groups, but eventually his financial situation forced a change. "I wasn't making my hire-purchase payments, and 'little jobs' were getting done and people were getting smacked. I was never in the middle of it, but I was always somewhere in the area." He returned to Shrewsbury, ostensibly to become more responsible in his personal life, and settled down enough to have a steady girlfriend in Diane Coles. Outside his day job with McGowans fruit and vegetable company, he formed a harmonica duo with Tony Wardle, inspired by Morton Fraser's Harmonica Gang, a local variety act.

Once out of debt and seemingly settled, Ian returned to Northampton and The Apex Group. Diane soon followed and the two married and settled in St James End. Their first child, Stephen, was born there in 1962. Tensions were in the air though, both musically and in his personal life. While his wife attended to home life, Hunter resumed his wild ways with his Northampton mates.

Although The Apex Group had steady regional work at clubs and military bases, Hunter eventually bristled at the formality of The Apex Group, who wore matching stage jackets and were moving increasingly toward an R&B-like stage review. So in 1963, while still a group member, Ian formed his own band in direct competition to them: Hurricane Henry and the Shriekers, with Tony Marriott on drums and Julian Coulter on guitar. They worked steadily in Northampton and eventually attracted the attention of pianist and frontman Freddie 'Fingers' Lee. Lee joined in March 1964 and Ian moved from frontman to bass player. Eventually, Frank Short learned of Hunter's duplicity and he was kicked out of The Apex Group.

It was during this period - late 1963 or early 1964 - that The Apex recorded a second disc for John Lever records, released as The Apex Rhythm & Blues All Stars. The four-song EP included their own "Tall Girl", and covers of Chuck Berry's "Reeling and A'Rocking", "Down the Road A'piece", also recorded by Berry and later The Rolling Stones, and "Sugar Shack" by Jimmy Gilmer and The Fireballs. Hunter probably does not appear on this record; the EP was recorded around the time Hunter left the group for the second time. [Purington]

At Freddie Lee's suggestion, The Shriekers began taking jobs in Germany, playing the same clubs where the Beatles had cut their teeth a few years earlier. In an interview taped in 2004 Hunter volunteers that Lee and their gigs in Hamburg were a major turning point, when he first began to "think maybe I could do this instead of working in factories." [Hunter, 2005]

In 1966 Hunter moved to London, where he joined The Scenery with guitarist Miller Anderson, drummer Dave Dufort, and keyboard player Dante Smith. Within a year Anderson introduced Hunter to another guitarist, Mick Ronson, whom Hunter would later collaborate with a great deal since Ian was keen on Mick when he first met him. Ian first saw Mick when Miller took him to see Ronson's band, the Voice at the Swan public house in Tottenham. A few months later Hunter and Ronson actually met when Anderson introduced them when Mick was playing in another band, The Rats, at the Flamingo Club in London. According to Anderson, "Mick was coming down the stairs . . . and we were going up and I said, `Mick, this is my friend, Ian Patterson.'" [Devine, p. 41] By 1967 Smith and Dufort had left The Scenery while John Vernon Smith joined on drums. The Scenery recorded some material with Bill Farley at Regent Sound, but without knowing about a release, two Scenery tracks were licensed overseas. Hunter and Anerson both remember writing and recording "To Make a Man Cry," but neither artist recalls the B-side "Thread of Time." Scenery drummer John Vernon Smith appears on the picture sleeve, but Johnny Banks from The Merseybeats played on the record. Miller recollects that Johnny Gustafson was also included in the session work. Released on the Impact label, it is unclear whether they originated from France or Belgium. Both are marked BIEM, which administered royalties in both countries prior to the formation of SACEM in France (1972) and SABAM in Belgium. The Impact label appears to have issued records in both countries. [Purington] In any case, by early 1968, The Scenery had run its course and Miller Anderson joined Dave Dufort in Paper Blitz Tissue.

By 1968 Hunter remained in the band to back up Freddie Lee in the At Last The 1958 Rock and Roll Show, along with drummer Pete Philips and guitarist Chris Mayfield. The group got a regular booking at The Angel in Edmonton, and drew interest from both Chrysalis Records and NEMS but the group was never signed by either. Mayfield was replaced by the ever travelling Miller Anderson, and the group released a single on CBS called "I Can't Drive." As the short-lived rock and roll revival began to wane, At Last the 1958 Rock and Roll Show changed its name to Charlie Woolfe and released a final single, "Dance, Dance, Dance".

Hunter played sporadically with various other artists throughout the 1960s, including The Young Idea, Billy Fury and David McWilliams. In late 1968 Mickie Most hired Hunter and Dufort to play in a band that was to be called "The New Yardbirds" -- a name that Jimmy Page had been using for his post-Yardbirds group before discarding it in favor of "Led Zeppelin". This led confused fans to think Hunter had been a member of Led Zeppelin. Explained Hunter: "See this is rubbish, but people read it and believe it." [Hunter, 2003] Hunter also worked as a journalist and staff songwriter for the firm Francis, Day & Hunter (no relation). Other jobs he took during these years included road-digging for a local council, and reporting for a local newspaper. During the same early years of Hunter's obscurity, Hereford's Shakedown Sound gigged in roughly the same circles as Ian but without any sort record company interest at all. [Clayson] Ian and the band were to meet up presently.

Mott the Hoople years

By 1969 Hunter had two children, but he was still hoping for a return to making music full time. Meanwhile, guitarist Mick Ralphs joined organist Verden Allen in Jimmy Cliff's backing band, The Shakedown Sound. Eventually Ralphs, Allen, vocalist Stan Tippins, bassist Overend Watts, and drummer Dale Griffin united to become Silence, who auditioned for British impresario Guy Stevens. Silence soon renamed themselves after a novel by Willard Manus, published in 1966: Mott the Hoople. [Manus] Lacking a credible singer with stage presence according to Stevens, the band auditioned a considerably seasoned Hunter, who auditioned for the band on a lark. By this time Hunter had taken to wearing the sunglasses that have long since become his trademark (photos of him without his "shades" are rare). The band was a critical success in the UK; some of the earliest and most dedicated early fans of the band included future members of the Clash. [Gray] However, they could not sustain their commercial appeal, and their early American tours on the east and west coasts were slow in building a following. After releasing several LPs, Mott attracted enthusiastic live audiences but dismal sales despite the svengali-like leadership and promotion of their manager, Guy Stevens. [Stevens] After a dreary 1972 concert in a "gas cylinder" in Switzerland, the band announced their end.

David Bowie, a fan of the band, offered them a song he had just written. As Hunter recalled in a 2004 DVD interview, "He offered us "Suffragette City", which I didn't think was good enough. And then he sat down on the floor, Regent Street it was, in a publisher's office, and plays 'All The Young Dudes' on an acoustic guitar." [Hunter, 2005] It shot to No. 3 in the UK Singles Chart and Mott had new life. The band generally were appreciative of Bowie who had rescued them from an early demise. The guitarist Mick Ralphs relates that Bowie taught Mott studio tricks, but one of the best-known sounds during the period was a 'hand-clap-in-the-toilet' routine that relied more on Hunter's vision than it did on Bowie's clearly more experienced studio abilities. [Tremlett] Mick Ronson, Bowie's guitarist, also significantly contributed to Mott's sound, a fact noticed by Hunter who would later collaborate a great deal with him, although Ian had actually met Mick years before in a pre-Bowie band. [Devine]

The post-Bowie Mott the Hoople then had notable commercial success with the albums "All the Young Dudes" (1972, produced by Bowie); "Mott" (1973) and "The Hoople" (1974). The band began to score financially with songs such as "Roll Away The Stone," "Golden Age of Rock ´n´ Roll," "Honaloochie Boogie," "All The Way From Memphis," "Saturday Gigs," and especially "All The Young Dudes." Hunter chronicled the highs and lows of touring in his self-penned, "Diary of A Rock 'n' Roll Star," his journal of a chaotic five-week American tour in November - December 1972. [Hunter, 1974] When in 1973 original lead guitarist Mick Ralphs left to form Bad Company, Hunter began to play guitar until a replacement could be found but at the same time he was increasingly pressured to write hits for the band. Luther Grosvenor took over as lead guitarist. Grosvenor, aka Ariel Bender, was briefly replaced by Mick Ronson after the release of a live album following "The Hoople". However, Hunter left the band in December 1974. The remaining members carried on under the names Mott and British Lions. Hunter's memoir of the road, "Diary of a Rock 'n' Roll Star", detailing a U.S. tour with Mott the Hoople is considered one of most important rock road diaries to date and has been re-printed numerous times.

After Mott

In March 1975 Hunter joined forces with Mick Ronson, formerly the leading member of David Bowie's backing band The Spiders from Mars and a member of Mott the Hoople for a brief time. Hunter's first single from his eponymous solo album was the UK Top 40 hit "Once Bitten Twice Shy". Hunter's best selling solo album was "You're Never Alone With A Schizophrenic". It was released in 1979 with Ronson and several members from Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band. Two songs from "You're Never Alone with a Schizophrenic" became successes for other artists. "Cleveland Rocks" was covered by the Presidents of the United States of America, whose version was used as the theme song for "The Drew Carey Show." And in late 1979, "Ships" was covered by Barry Manilow and became a top ten U.S. hit.

During his solo career Hunter most frequently worked with Ronson until the latter's death in 1993. In 1983, Mick traveled to Canada to produce a third album, "Hammer On A Drum", for the Payolas. Hunter provided backing vocals on one of the tracks and Ronson contributed keyboards and vocals. [cite web|url=http://www.mickronson.com/MickRonson/mickwith%20others.htm|title=Mick's Work with Others|publisher=MickRonson.com|accessdate=2007-10-10] Hunter has also had musical connections with many other artists, including Queen, Mick Jones (The Clash), Clarence Clemons of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, Jaco Pastorius, Dennis Elliot (Foreigner), and David Bowie. Ian toured briefly with Todd Rundgren on guitar in 1980, playing eleven shows on the East Coast.

In 2001, Hunter toured North America with Ringo Starr and his All-Starr band as part of a line-up which included Ringo Starr, Sheila E., Greg Lake, Howard Jones, Roger Hodgson, and Mark Rivera. A studio album, "Rant", released the same year, received wide critical acclaim. He won Classic Rock Magazine's Songwriter Award in October 2005. Hunter's latest studio album, entitled "Shrunken Heads" was released in May 2007. The album was released by Jerkin' Crocus promotions in Europe and Yep Roc Records in the U.S., accompanied by a three-song bonus CD.

Mott the Hoople albums

* "Mott The Hoople" (1969) – UK #66
* "Mad Shadows" (1970) – UK #48
* "Wildlife" (1971) – UK #44
* "Brain Capers" (1971) – did not chart
* "All The Young Dudes" (1972) – UK #21 / U.S. #89
* "Mott" (1973) – UK #7 / U.S. #35
* "The Hoople" (1974) – UK #11 / U.S. #28
* "Live" (1974) – UK #32 / U.S. #23

olo discography

*"Ian Hunter" (1975)
*"All American Alien Boy" (1976)
*"Overnight Angels" (1977)
* "You're Never Alone With A Schizophrenic" (1979)
*"Welcome to the Club" (1980)
*"Short Back 'n' Sides" (1981)
*"All of the Good Ones Are Taken" (1983)
*"Yui Orta" (with Mick Ronson) (1990)
*"BBC Live in Concert" (1995):#Once Bitten Twice Shy:#How Much More Can I Take:#Beg A Little Love:#Following In Your Footsteps:#Just Another Night:#Sweet Dreamer:#(Give Me Back My) Wings:#Standin' In My Light:#Bastard:#The Loner:#You're Never Too Old To Hit The Big Time:#All The Way From Memphis:#Irene Wilde
*"Dirty Laundry" (1995)
*"The Artful Dodger" (1996) -- out of print
*"Missing In Action" (2000)
*"Once Bitten Twice Shy" (2000)
*"Rant" (2001)
*"Strings Attached" (DVD and CD) (2004)
*"Just Another Night" (DVD, 2004, US release, 2005))
*"The Truth, The Whole Truth, Nuthin' But The Truth" (DVD and CD) (2005)
*"Shrunken Heads" (2007)

Notes

References

*Cato, Philip, "All The Way To Memphis, The Story of Mott the Hoople", S.T. Publishing, Lockerbie, Scotland: 1997.
*Clayson, Alan, "Beat Merchants: The Origins, History, Impact and Rock Legacy of the 1960s British Pop Groups", Blandford, London: 1996, ISBN 0-7137-2462-5
*Frame, Pete, "The Complete Rock Family Trees", Omnibus Press ISBN 0-7119-0465-0
*Devine, Campbell, "Mott the Hoople and Ian Hunter, All The Young Dudes", Cherry Red Books: 1998, London.
*Gray, Marcus, "Last Gang in Town: The Story and Myth of the Clash", Henry Holt and Company, N.Y.: 1995.
*"Guinness Book of British Hit Singles, 16th Edition", ISBN 0-85112-190-X
*"Guinness Book of British Hit Albums, 7th Edition", ISBN 0-85112-619-7
*"Guinness Rockopedia, The Ultimate A-Z of Rock and Pop", Guinness Publishing, 1998, ISBN 0-85112-072-5
*Hunter, Ian, "Diary of a Rock 'n' Roll Star", Panther, 1974, ISBN 0-58604-041-2
*Hunter, Ian, "Horse's Mouth", Issue #33 - 18 July 2003.
*Hunter, Ian, "Horse's Mouth", Issue #70, Part 1 - 19 December 2006.
*Ian Hunter and the Rant Band, "Just Another Night, Live at the Astoria", London, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC, Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only), DVD Release Date: 4 October 2005, Run Time: 180 minutes, Bonus Material, Exclusive interview, Band Sound check, Animated Biography, Special Live Guest Appearances.
*Manus, Willard, "Mott The Hoople", McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1966: N.Y.
*cite web|url=http://www.justabuzz.com/ih-0-dsc-s.shtml|title=Ian Hunter - Singles|author=Justin Purington|publisher=Justabuzz.com|accessdate=2007-10-10
*Short, Martin C., (2001). "The Great Rock Discography - 5th Edition". ISBN 1-84195-017-3
*Stevens, Guy, (1971), "Biography of Mott The Hoople", Island Records, press release.
*Tremlett, George, "The David Bowie Story", Futura Publications 1974 ISBN 0-8600-7051-4
*Walker, Bruce. [http://www.musicianguide.com/biographies/1608004651/Ian-Hunter.html "Ian Hunter Biography"] , "musicianguide.com", retrieved 18 February 2008.
*Neil Warwick, Jon Kutner, Tony Brown, "Complete Guide to the British Charts"

External links

* [http://www.ianhunter.com/ Ian Hunter website]
* [http://www.geocities.com/artdaane/mfraser.htm On The Morton Fraser Harmonica Gang]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/threecounties/content/articles/2008/02/28/ian_hunter_review_feature.shtml BBC Review of Ian Hunter at The Stables, Wavendon 2008]

Audio

* [http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=11216414 Ian Hunter in Concert] , National Public Radio (U.S.), 22 June 2007


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