5 Enduring Songs Written and Sung by Mott the Hoople Frontman and Solo Star Ian Hunter

Ian Hunter, the prolific British singer/songwriter and musician who led the popular glam-rock band Mott the Hoople before launching a long solo career, celebrated his 85th birthday on June 3, 2024.

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Mott the Hoople’s biggest hit was a 1972 cover of David Bowie’s “All the Young Dudes,” which reached No. 3 in the U.K. and No. 37 on the Billboard Hot 100. That being said, Hunter wrote or co-wrote many songs for the band, including some of the group’s best-known tunes.

[RELATED: Exclusive: Ian Hunter Talks Collaborating with the Late Jeff Beck and Taylor Hawkins on New Album, Defiance Part 2]

Hunter left Mott the Hoople in 1974, and since then, he’s released more than a dozen solo albums. Although Hunter hasn’t experienced a lot of solo chart success, quite a few of his songs have garnered heavy rock-radio airplay and have made their mark in other media.

In honor of Hunter’s birthday, here are five great songs he wrote and sang, either with Mott the Hoople or solo:

“All the Way from Memphis” – Mott the Hoople (1973)

“All the Way from Memphis” was the lead single from Mott the Hoople’s 1973 album, Mott. The rollicking rock ‘n’ roll tune is driven by Hunter’s barrelhouse piano, and also features sax solos courtesy of Roxy Music’s Andy Mackay.

The sing tells the story of a touring rock musician who arrives for a gig in Memphis and discover his guitar has been shipped to Kentucky instead.

“All the Way from Memphis” reached No. 10 on the U.K. singles tally.

“Roll Away the Stone” – Mott the Hoople (1973)

“Roll Away the Stone” was a soaring glam-rock anthem Mott the Hoople released as a single in late 1973. The tune peaked at No. 8 on the U.K. charts, making it Mott’s second-most-successful single after “All the Young Dudes.”

The track featured backing vocals by the female trio Thunderthighs, who were famously featured on Lou Reed’s classic hit “Walk on the Wild Side.”

Mott the Hoople re-recorded “Roll Away the Stone” for its 1974 album The Hoople. That version featured British singer/songwriter Lindsey De Paul on a spoken-word section that had been recited by one of the Thunderthighs members on the original.

“One Bitten Twice Shy” (1975)

“Once Bitten, Twice Shy” was the lead track from Hunter self-titled 1975 debut solo album. The catchy rock ‘n’ roll tune showcases Hunter’s gritty Cockney vocals and bar-room piano. It also features guitar heroics from Mick Ronson, who had briefly joined Mott the Hoople after playing in Bowie’s backing group The Spiders from Mars, and had left Mott to collaborate with Hunter on Ian’s solo career.

“Once Bitten, Twice Shy” was Hunter’s biggest solo hit, reaching No. 14 on the U.K. singles chart. The song later was famously covered by hair-metal band Great White, who scored a No. 6 hit with it on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1989.

“Just Another Night” (1979)

“Just Another Night” was the lead track of Hunter’s fourth solo album, You’re Never Alone with a Schizophrenic. Hunter co-wrote the song with by Ronson, who co-produced the album with Ian and played guitar throughout the record.

The album also features E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg, bassist Garry Tallent, and keyboardist Roy Bittan. Singer Ellen Foley, known for her work with Meat Loaf, contributed backing vocals to the tune.

“Just Another Night” peaked at No. 68 on the Hot 100, the highest position any Hunter solo single reached in the U.S.

“Cleveland Rocks” (1979)

“Cleveland Rocks” also appeared You’re Never Alone with a Schizophrenic. Hunter had first released the song under the title “England Rocks” with slightly different lyrics as a U.K. single in 1977, with hopes of scoring a hit in his home country.

Hunter said he was inspired to write the song because he felt Cleveland was looked down on in the U.S., but he felt it was a great rock ‘n’ roll city. The original version of the song begins with an audio snippet of late Cleveland-based radio DJ Alan Freed, who is considers one of the fathers of rock ‘n’ roll radio.

“Cleveland Rocks” was used as the theme song to the popular TV comedy series The Drew Carey Show, which ran from 1995 to 2004.

About Hunter’s New Album, Defiance Part 2

Hunter released his latest album, Defiance Part 2: Fiction, in April. The record features guest appearances by a jaw-dropping list of artists, including the late Jeff Beck; the late Taylor Hawkins; Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen, and Tom Petersson; Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott and Phil Collen; Lucinda Williams; The Black Crowes’ Chris and Rich Robinson; Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready and Matt Cameron; and Stone Temple Pilots members Dean DeLeo, Robert DeLeo, and Eric Kretz.

Photo by Mike Coppola/WireImage

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