Mott The Hoople: Top 10 Songs
They’re a blues-boogie turned-glam band that has influenced artists since the early 1970s that don’t get the fanfare they deserve. Formed in 1966, they evolved from a band first named the Doc Thomas Group, then Shakedown Sound, then Silence, before settling on Mott The Hoople - the title of a Willard Manus novel. Their original lineup included lead vocalist Stan Tippins, guitarist Mick Ralphs, bassist Pete Overend Watts, keyboardist Verden Allen, and drummer Dale "Buffin" Griffin.
It was in 1972, when David Bowie produced their album ‘All the Young Dudes,’ that they broke through. The title track became a hit single and is celebrated as an all-time great rock song. They only released seven studio albums - the last being in 1974 - and never found the level of fame some expected them to, but they’ve been a huge influence nonetheless and are still involved in the scene. They’ve toured as recently as 2019.
Here are the Top 10 Mott The Hoople Songs:
10: “Foxy, Foxy” - ‘Foxy, Foxy’
This track was released as a single in 1974 and is included on various compilation albums. It was a hit in the UK and reached number thirty-three on the UK Singles Chart, greatly contributing to the building of their eventual cult following in England.
9: “Rock and Roll Queen” - ‘Mott The Hoople’
There isn’t a whole lot to love about the first album. It’s filled with covers that could’ve been better served. However, “Rock and Roll Queen” is very well done and stands out on the album. Vocalist Ian Hunter suggested in a 1980 interview that the Rolling Stones’ 1971 song, “Bitch” shared more than a lucky resemblance to their “Rock and Roll Queen.”
It was the only single released from the album; in Europe in October 1969, and in the US in July 1970.
8: “Crash Street Kidds” - ‘The Hoople’
This is one of the band’s most beloved songs on arguably their best album. Released in 1974, “Crash Street Kidds” certainly has a raw punk feel and is viewed as a precursor to what was about to happen to the UK music scene: the punk explosion and the incredible rise of the Sex Pistols. The influence of David Bowie is clear throughout the album, but this track went in a different direction, and everyone benefitted from it. The grit and slight mess of the song is an interesting hook.
7: “Hymn For The Dudes” - ‘Mott’
There are rumors that this song has a hidden message and that Ian Hunter wrote the song to dig at David Bowie, who gave the band their big break with “All The Young Dudes.” Hunter likened Bowie to a vampire “draining what he wants before moving on to the next victim” in the band’s official biography. Biographer Campbell Devine said the song “appeared to demolish the pedestal Mott had placed Bowie on.” The end lyrics of the song are:
You ain't the Nazz, you're just a buzz, some kinda temporary...
Hunter apparently wanted it to be “Some kinda temporary twat” but was persuaded against it. In solo performances, he has played the original version.
6: “One Of The Boys” - ‘All The Young Dudes’
Arguably the second-best track on their best album, “One Of The Boys,” is included on all the top ten lists of best Mott The Hoople songs. Classic Rock History rates "One of the Boys" to be Mott the Hoople's fifth greatest song, Allmusic regards it as one of Hunter's best songwriting efforts, and Rolling Stone described the track as “the playing off of a Keith Richards-style tense, ringing guitar against a power-chorded Led Zeppelin guitar-bass boom" Producer David Bowie wanted "One of the Boys" to be the lead single from ‘All the Young Dudes,’ but the band preferred to release the title track, which Bowie had written.
5: “The Golden Age Of Rock And Roll” - ‘The Hoople’
This was the last great hit the band produced. Ian Hunter left to form a new band, The Mott, with David Bowie’s guitarist Mick Ronson. The song features a nice marriage of guitar and keyboards. It starts by paying homage to Don Maclean’s “American Pie” before transitioning into an upbeat, self-style rocker.
Def Leppard covered it on their 2006 album ‘Yeah!’ and vocalist Joe Elliot said of the experience: “The one I assumed I'd breeze through was ‘The Golden Age of Rock 'n' Roll,’ which I know backwards, inside out and in foreign languages. We had to take that one down a key because I just couldn't do it.”
4: “All The Way From Memphis” - ‘Mott’
“All The Way From Memphis” was released as a single in September 1973 and is the first track on the ‘Mott’ album. It’s based on the story of guitarist Mick Ralphs losing his guitar while they were wrapping up their US tour. Official biographer Campbell Devine wrote that when they flew down to Memphis, Mick Ralphs decided to travel by road with Verden Allen. The other members of the band went by plane, but the airline lost Mick's guitar. When they arrived, the road crew had disappeared with Ralphs and Allen, ticket sales were very grim, and Ralphs' hotel room was robbed, but then they received a message to say that ticket sales were rising rapidly.
Ian Hunter wrote the song on the day of the concert and dedicated it to two of their crew, Lee Childers and Tony Zanetta, and to Memphis, Tennessee. Joe Walsh jammed with them during the song.
3: “Honaloochie Boogie” - ‘Mott’
Ian Hunter says his early rock and roll days were the inspiration for this song, though he can’t remember any specifics. Produced by David Bowie, this has all the premium glam-rock topping that Mott fans loved and hit number twelve on the UK Singles chart in July 1973.
2: “Roll Away the Stone” - ‘The Hoople’
This is my favorite Mott song. The combination of piano and saturated guitar tones is engrossing. Ian Hunter revealed to Classic Rock magazine: “The song was originally written for the Mott album. The piano I had was an upright that cost me 30 bob, and I'd slammed all the white keys out. So I made myself learn how to play the black ones, which was great because I didn't understand what I was doing. I knew where I was going with the white ones, but it's better firing away somewhere you don't know. I wrote ‘All The Way From Memphis,’ ‘Roll Away The Stone,’ and something else all in sharps and flats.”
Regarding the guitar sound, and people suggesting it was inspired by the Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” Ralphs commented: “Any similarity to anything else was purely accidental. I just played the song as I felt it. Like anything I've recorded or played on, I just got into the feel and mood of the song. I never plan or work anything out, although I did have to come up with the guitar hook in the intro, as I did with 'All The Young Dudes.' Ian had started to write in a certain commercial way, and we both thought that a good guitar hook was important for Roll Away The Stone.”
It reached number eight on the UK Singles chart for two weeks in December 1973 and spent five weeks in the top ten.
1: “All the Young Dudes” - ‘All The Young Dudes’
Interestingly enough, Mott The Hoople’s biggest hit was written and produced by David Bowie. He also played guitar, sang backup vocals, and clapped on the track. He planned on using it on his own record, ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.’
This was the band’s only top-forty hit in the US and their biggest hit in England. It’s the reason for their cult following, and if someone has only heard one Mott song, it’s most likely this one.