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Ian Hunter

With Mott the Hoople, guitarist/vocalist Ian Hunter established himself as one of the toughest and most inventive hard rock songwriters of the early '70s, setting the stage for punk rock with his edgy, intelligent songs. As a solo artist, Hunter never attained the commercial heights of Mott the Hoople, but he cultivated a dedicated cult following.

Hunter was born in Owestry, Shropshire, but was raised in cities throughout England since his father worked in the British Intelligence agency called MI5 and had to move frequently. Eventually, the family returned to Shrewsbury, where the teenaged Hunter joined a band called Silence in the early '60s. Silence released an album, but it received no attention. In the years following Silence, Hunter played in a handful of local bands and worked a variety of jobs.

In 1968, Hunter began playing bass with Freddie "Fingers" Lee and the duo played around Germany. Shortly afterward, Hunter became the vocalist for Mott the Hoople. During the next six years, Hunter sang and played piano and guitar with the band, becoming its lead songwriter within a few albums. Although few of their records sold, Mott the Hoople was one of the most popular live bands in England. In 1972, David Bowie produced their breakthrough album, All the Young Dudes, which brought the band into the British Top Ten and the American Top 40. For the next two years, the group had a consistent stream of hits in both the U.K. and the U.S.

Toward the end of 1973, the band began to fall apart, as founding member and lead guitarist Mick Ralphs left the band. Hunter carried on through another album, but he left the group in late 1974, taking along former Bowie guitarist Mick Ronson, who had just joined Mott. Just prior to leaving the group, Hunter published Diary of a Rock Star, an account of his years leading Mott the Hoople, in June 1974.

Hunter moved to New York, where he and Ronson began working on his solo debut. Released in 1975, Ian Hunter spawned "Once Bitten, Twice Shy," a Top 20 U.K. hit. Following its release, Hunter and Ronson embarked on a tour. After its completion, the pair parted ways, although they would reunite later in the '80s. All-American Alien Boy, Hunter's second solo album, was recorded with a variety of all-star and session musicians, including members of Queen. Released in the summer of 1976, All-American Alien Boy was a commercial failure. It was followed in 1977 by Overnight Angels, an album that saw Hunter moving closer to straightforward rock & roll; disappointed with the completed album, Hunter decided to leave it unreleased in America.

Following the mainstream approach of Overnight Angels, Hunter became involved with England's burgeoning punk rock movement, producing Generation X's second album, 1979's Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. For Hunter's next solo album, he reunited with Mick Ronson, who produced and arranged 1979's You're Never Alone with a Schizophrenic. The album was a hit, especially in America, where it peaked at number 35. Hunter and Ronson set out on another tour, which resulted in the 1980 double-live album, Ian Hunter Live/Welcome to the Club. In 1981, Hunter released Short Back N' Sides, which was produced by the Clash's Mick Jones.

Two years later, he released All of the Good Ones Are Taken. After its release, Ian Hunter became a recluse, spending the next six years in silence; occasionally, he contributed a song to a movie soundtrack. In 1989, he resumed recording, releasing YUI Orta with Ronson. After its release, Hunter remained quiet during the '90s, appearing only on Ronson's posthumous 1994 album Heaven and Hull, and at tribute concerts for Ronson in 1994 and Freddie Mercury in 1992. Hunter returned to recording with Artful Dodger, which was released in Britain and Europe in the spring of 1997. After a Columbia/Legacy compilation titled Once Bitten Twice Shy offered a wealth of Ian Hunter solo titles in the year 2000, much attention was paid to 2001's fine Rant. In 2002, Hunter performed a pair of semi-acoustic concerts in Oslo, Norway, which were recorded for later release on CD and home video; the resulting project, called Strings Attached, introduced some new songs, including "Twisted Steel," inspired by the events of September 11, 2001. Shrunken Heads, a collection of all-new material, was released in 2007 on the Yep Roc label, followed by Man Overboard in 2009 from New West Records. That same year, Hunter unexpectedly reunited with Mott the Hoople for a series of concerts at the end of the year; Live at HMV Hammersmith Apollo 2009 documented these well-reviewed gigs. After a couple of quiet years, Hunter returned in the fall of 2012 with When I'm President, another critically acclaimed collection of rock & roll. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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My brother
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Check out the Down 'N' Outz a stellar tribute to Mott.
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pziering
Simply the best! Commercially unsuccessful ? I listen to him/them over anyone!
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eric.e.niels e n 1 3
Why isn't Ian Hunter in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame? I guess albums sold trump great song writing and influence. I agree with kpayne918 that he is the most under appreciated songwriter of our time. Even at age 75, Ian Hunter is still writing honest and thought-prov o k i n g songs, and still rocks out live with his unbelievably talented Rant Band.
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Quite possibly the most overlooked singer/songw r i t e r of this generation.. . . . . t h e Bob Dylan of Europe
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Ktranzow , you named most of my Pandora stations !! ALL CLASSICS !!
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Saw this band live in 1972 at Hereford Utd Football club....been a fan ever since!!
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After the Stones in their prime MTH were the greatest ever - especially live !...WHY IS MTH LOVE NOT ON PANDORA ?!?!?!...Ian is also in the top 3 of R&R songwriters ever!...Ian am a dedicated motthead for life. ..;)
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A great unique voice and band and part of the british invasion of rock and roll. Not like rap crap. Uniique sounds from Mott, Stones, Led Zep, Who, Yes, Uriah Heep, Pink Floyd, Bowe, Queen, Humble Pie, ELO, Moody Blues, ELP, Jethro Tull, just to name a few. All distinct sounds, but it's real R and R.
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Someone should have told Hunter that yelling isn't singing. I hated Mott the Hoople
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ncassidymail
Nice guy, too...he lived up the street from me. Quiet and respectful, nice family.
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What of the greats!
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memeryse7
all the young dudes..class i c of classic's..e v e n thou not his song
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Intelligence and the rock spirit married into music for the ages
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Did a tour with Ringo Starrs all star band too.
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drew_092169
nope. 71 years old and still playing.
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sunshinesdes i g n
I hate to say this but did he just pass away?
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anarcholib
Ian Hunter, now in his 70s, is still rocking intelligentl y . He is consistently interesting, and his voice just gets better as it weathers with age.
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God i love this, since thunderbuckr a m . his appearance on Ferguson has been the highlight orf the last decade. Ya rock on
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mleprohon
Saw Mott in LA in 1974 where the opening band was some newcomer named Aerosmith... . . . . . . . . . . . . g r e a t concert! Great band, that Mott the Hoople!
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A songwriter and musician of wit, talent and intelligence . Even more relevant now than he was in the seventies.
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Ian and Mick innovative, fantastic, exciting, timeless.
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hey pandora! where's I.Hunter today? sure would like to meet him.
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flynnbm4
Ian and Mick Ronson were a great pair after Mott and Spiders from Mars.
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waldo777
The album "You're Never Alone With A Schizophreni c " was one of those pivital (sp.??) albums which provided one of the cornerstones for me as an individual. I doubt that I'd be who I am today without having absorbed songs like "Just Another Night" and "Ships". If you've ever wanted to experience what life was like in the late 70's listen to this album. It's worth the trip back ;-}
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I was able to meet and party with Ian and Mic ronson( Bowies lead man)Live album "welcome to the club" what a great group and songs that live within us all....Thank s Ian
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yes i liked slade,too. just found their lp in the closet,it's called sladest.
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Ian Hunter was not in Silence in the early 60's. he was in a band called Apex. Silence included Pete Watts, Stan Tippens, Dale Griffin, and Mick Ralphs. They auditioned for Guy Stephens, who wanted a different lead singer than Stan Tippens, and Tippens stepped out in favour of Ian Hunter, (Tippins later bacame Mott the Hoople's tour manager. You can check out early Ian Hunter on Youtube on two videos with Freddy Fingers Lee, (Whole Lotta Shakin', and I can't Drive) on bass with Miller Anderso
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If youlike this lke I do you'll probably like SLADE too
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there you are! hello 1973!
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my friend warner turned me on to mott ,r.i.p. rick warner.tlm toledo,oh.

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