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Famous Like Me > Composer > H > Ian Hunter

Profile of Ian Hunter on Famous Like Me

Name: Ian Hunter  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 3rd June 1939
Place of Birth: Oswestry, Shropshire, England, UK
Profession: Composer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Ian Hunter Patterson (born June 3, 1939 in Oswestry, Shropshire, England) was the lead singer of the band Mott the Hoople from 1969 until the band's breakup in 1974, after which he has continued on a solo career, frequently teaming with long-time musical collaborator, the late Mick Ronson. Ian also has had musical connections with many other eminent 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 was initially inspired by the likes of Little Richard, and especially by Jerry Lee Lewis. He played in various bands throughout the sixties, including The New Yardbirds and, as a bass player, backed Billy Fury, Freddie "Fingers" Lee, The Young Idea and David McWilliams. Ian also worked as a journalist and staff songwriter for the firm Francis, Day & Hunter (no relation) before joining the Herefordshire band Silence in 1969.

Ian Hunter struggled until finding his way, of sorts, up to 1969. Early on, an early foray into music was a talent competition at Butlin's Holiday Camp, performing "Blue Moon" as part of a skiffle group with Colen York and Colin Broome. York and Broome came from Northampton, and were in a band called The Apex. Ian soon moved to Northampton and joined the Apex on rhythm guitar.

Ian formed his own band in 1963, forming Hurricane Henry and the Shriekers with Tony Marriott and guitarist Julian Coulter. The Shriekers worked steadily in Northampton, and by 1965 had picked up Freddie 'Fingers' Lee as a pianist and frontman.

The next year, in 1966, Ian moved to London where he joined a long-term associate, guitarist Miller Anderson, along with drummer Dave Dufort, and keyboard player Dante Smith to form The Scenery. By 1967 Smith and Dufort had left, and John Vernon Smith had joined on drums. The Scenery recorded some material with Bill Farley at Regent Sound, which was released without the band's knowledge in France and Japan.

By early 1968, The Scenery had run its course and Miller Anderson joined Dave Dufort in Paper Blitz Tissue. Ian hooked back up with Freddie Lee in a new group, 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. Mayfield was soon replaced by 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 on NEMS, "Dance Dance Dance." Ian was unable to support himself as a musician, so he worked as a road-digger for the local governmental council and as a journalist on a local newspaper. He began his career on the bass guitar, and like many musicians he payed his dues on the performing circuit in Hamburg, Germany in the early to mid 1960's. Ian then worked as a song-writer for Francis, Day & Hunter, but was feeling increasingly guilty and insecure about collecting his wages since they hardly ever used any of his songs because they were "too particular".

By 1969, Ian still burned for a genuine musical career and was looking for a more committed musical engagement when a friend Bill Farley rang him up and told him about this band who were in the studio, saying "They're weird, but they may like you." Ian needed a bit of persuading, since it meant changing bus a couple of times, but he didn't want to spend the summer working in the factory, so he rather reluctantly travelled down to the audition with Silence. He had gotten shades before his audition to hide what he thought was a fat face.

He arrived at the audition wearing a donkey jacket, open-toed sandals, and his pair of thick black shades. He said he was "basically a bass-player", and picked up a bass to demonstrate. It was a disaster. The producer Guy Stevens then motioned him over to the piano. Ian performed Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone", and Guy was ecstatic. He had found his man. The band was understandably reluctant, and actually were a bit afraid of Hunter, but Stevens convinced them Ian was the right choice and persuaded Silence to rename themselves after a 1967 novel by Willard Manus: Mott The Hoople.

Guitarist Mick Ralphs remembers it was the shades more than anything which got Ian the gig. Ian was slightly overweight at the time, and it turns out he was correct to wear sunglasses "to hide his fat face." Guy thought the shades projected a more mysterious image, and told Ian never to take them off. Ian initially was reluctant, but they have long since become his trademark, and photos of Ian without his shades are rare.

At this point in his life, Ian was older than the band with more responsibilites, a wife and two kids to support, therefore Ian demanded guaranteed wages (£15 a week!) which Guy accepted. Guy gave Ian some money for clothes and, realising that this was his chance, Ian went on a crash diet to improve his image. Ian was forever grateful to Guy for giving him his break - years later he said "with Guy it was special, because if it wasn't for Guy seeing that little spark that certainly I wasn't aware of, I would still be there [in the factory] right now".

Mott released several great records (see below) but, despite this, their populariy and interest began to flag and following a 1972 gig in Switzerland announced their disbandment. David Bowie, long a fan of the band, offered them a song he'd just written, "Suffragette City." Mott declined, but accepted Bowie's second offering, "All the Young Dudes." Mott the Hoople had a number 3 hit with Dudes and was reborn.

Ian left the band in October 1974, and in March 1975 he formed the Hunter-Ronson Band with Mick Ronson (formerly from Bowie's "Spiders From Mars" era band).

Ian Hunter is now in his fifth decade of serving up great Rock 'n' Roll.

In addition to his musical contributions, Ian wrote a rockumentary, Diary of a Rock'n'Roll Star, detailing a U.S. tour with Mott the Hoople.

Ian Hunter 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 (1989)
  • BBC Live In Concert (1995)
  • The Artful Dodger (1996)
  • Missing In Action (2000)
  • Once Bitten Twice Shy (2000)
  • Rant (2001)
  • Strings Attached (DVD) (2003)
  • Strings Attached (CD) (2004)
  • Just Another Night (DVD) (2005)
  • The Truth, The Whole Truth, Nuthin' But The Truth (CD) (2005)

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Ian Hunter