Made the transition to Glam in the early 70s and everything exploded.

Made the transition to Glam in the early 70s and everything exploded.
Mott The Hoople: Made the transition to Glam in the early 70s and everything exploded.

CMott The Hoople – In Concert at The Paris Theatre – 1971 – BBC 6 Music

Sometimes I run into a dilemma, of sorts, over what to post for the “roundtable” feature. Tonight it was choice over whether to run the scheduled piece (Mott The Hoople at The Paris Theatre in 1971) or the kick-off European tour concert by The Pixies, who performed earlier today at The Olympia in Paris.

Tough choices. So I threw it out to a vote. And even though it was close, the squeaker was Mott.

So there you have it.

Tonight it’s a performance by venerable Brit-rockers Mott The Hoople, just before their emersion into the Glam genre, right around the time of the release of Brain Capers (one of my favorite albums), in 1971. The concert was recorded, as always, by the ever-present (and thank god), BBC.

The group came to the attention of Guy Stevens at Island, who liked the group but not with Tippins as lead singer. Advertisements were placed (“Singer wanted, must be image-minded and hungry”), and Ian Hunter was selected as lead singer and piano player. Tippins assumed the role of road manager. While in prison on a drug offence, Stevens read the Willard Manus novel Mott the Hoople, about an eccentric who works in a circus freak show, and decided to use it as a band name. Originally called Silence, they reluctantly agreed to change the band’s name to Mott The Hoople following their audition for Stevens in early 1969.

The band’s debut album, Mott the Hoople (1969), recorded in only a week, was a cult success. Their repertoire included cover versions of “Laugh at Me” (Sonny Bono) and “At the Crossroads” (Doug Sahm’s Sir Douglas Quintet), and an instrumental cover of “You Really Got Me” (The Kinks).

The second album, Mad Shadows (1970), sold poorly and received generally negative reviews. Wildlife (1971) fared even worse (despite gaining the highest UK album chart position of the band’s pre-Glam years), and flirted with an overtly country-hippie stance and more acoustic instrumentation on some Ralphs-penned songs . On 10 October 1970, Mott the Hoople and Bridget St John were showcased on BBC2’s Disco 2.Even though the group was building a decent following, Brain Capers (1971) failed to sell well. The group decided to split following a depressing concert in a disused gas holder in Switzerland. When combined with an aborted UK tour with The Lothringers, the band was close to breaking up.

For now, it’s Death May Be Your Santa Claus and a bunch of other great tunes.

Play very loud.

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