IAN HUNTER > Man Overboard

Ian Hunter Man Overboard

Videos by American Songwriter


Man Overboard


[Rating: 4 stars]

Ian Hunter has become the Clint Eastwood of rock and roll. Just like the director, Hunter exhibited an explosive early period, a middle-aged output that was a tad uneven, and a third act that has produced back-to-back classics. First, 2007’s Shrunken Heads, and now, Man Overboard. As he did last time out, Hunter, former frontman for the legendary Mott The Hoople, brings his street poetry, outraged snarl and indelible melodies, and controls them with the same grace as the seasoned filmmaker.

Whether reminiscing about running from a youthful bar fight (“especially when the other guy’s bigger than you”), on, “The Great Escape,” or cranking up on the social plaint, “Up and Running,” Hunter hasn’t forgotten how to rock. Still, it’s the lad’s ballads that really mess with your heart. How does a guy who doesn’t have a day job write a perfect character study like, “Girl From the Office”? Or talk so disarmingly about an old, haunting romance on “These Feelings”? It has to do with this songwriter’s relentless honesty. About his age, his loves, his losses. One can’t help but think something about Hunter that applies to few of his peers: You can’t wait to see what he does next.


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  1. Well said. Chuck Berry is still touring but hasn’t written a classic for decades and Bob Dylan is a mere 68, so this could well be the first great rock & roll album of original material by a septuagenarian. Any other candidates?

    As for his not having a day job, Hunter worked in a factory for a decade before joining Mott the Hoople so he surely knows what he’s singing about.

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