guilty pleasure monday: all the way from memphis (mott the hoople)

hang onto your guitar. apparently, it can take a long time to get it back.

glam rockers mott the hoople, a UK band on the verge of breaking up in the early ’70s, ended up getting a song written for them by a fan. the fan: david bowie. the song? suffragette city.

they. turned. it. down.

the superfan gave them another song. (i give bowie a lot of credit — this sort of generosity simply never happens, much less twice.) this time, they took it, and all the young dudes became a huge hit for the band.  i love that song, but i must admit a serious soft spot for all the way from memphis.

the first time i heard this mott the hoople hit, i was about to watch the movie that inspired the TV show alice.  for reasons i still cannot explain, i watched that show fairly religiously. i suspect there  must have been a show on before it that i really liked and due to my own personal inertia, i would watch alice, too. (certainly not because i liked that lady who constantly asked all to kiss her grits.) i figured the movie would also be just as amusing (and perhaps with the same annoying laff track.) in fact, it wasn’t exactly what i had expected, and i don’t think i made it halfway before turning off the TV.

but what DID make an impression on me was the song over the opening credits. all the way from memphis made the experience worthwhile; i couldn’t get it out of my head.  i didn’t realize for a long time that the song was about a touring rock star whose guitar ended up in a completely different town than the town the guitarist was next playing. i just thought the pounding piano sounded amazing, and the hook was terribly catchy. it took me years, though, to figure out who the hell was singing it. (i was only about 11 or so when i first heard it.)

guitarist mick ronson (who also ended up touring with bowie) sadly passed away very young from liver cancer; but frontman ian hunter still performs. the remaining band members are playing some sporadic concerts this year, even.

and i suspect no one will be  mislaying any instruments.


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