Saturday, April 23, 2011

Mott The Hoople: All The Way To Memphis

As always on Saturday we feature a bubbling under hit and today we take you back to the fall of 1973 and the opening cut from Mott the Hoople’s sixth album “Mott.” Although released as a single, “All the Way to Memphis” failed to chart in the US – which was highly unusual at the time as the song was well known to their fans. Album radio played it to death and I remember seeing the band perform this tune live on television a number of times – always to the cheers of an approving audience.

While this glam rock outfit fronted by the curly headed Ian Hunter (who is now 72) never transitioned to top forty radio in the US. The closest they came was in the summer of ’72 when “All the Young Dudes” made it to a dismal 37. American mainstream radio was not that accepting of Mott the Hoople – they just weren’t a singles kind of band; however, the album charted at 35 on the Top 200 LPs charts. It was not their highest charting LP, but it started a trend that saw their final two albums, “The Hoople” and “Live,” chart even higher.

“Mott” was their second LP released in the US on the Columbia label; the first four albums by the band were on Atlantic. I can remember sitting in the lobby of Jones Hall – my dorm at the time seeing Ian Hunter, Mick Ralphs, Pete “Overend” Watts, and Dale Griffen doing this and other legendary “Hoople” tunes. While the song is a constant reminder of this period, the picture that comes to my mind is Ian Hunter playing his H-shaped guitar. To see it, check out the following site:

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