What do Great White, The Presidents of the United States of America and Barry Manilow have in common? Why, Ian Hunter, of course. The former Mott the Hoople frontman provided those three with enduring songs, respectively, “Once Bitten, Twice Shy,” “Cleveland Rocks” and “Ships.” The career of the singer and songwriter is being celebrated by Cherry Red’s 7Ts label with the release of Ian Hunter’s Singles Collection 1975-83. This 2-CD set compiles all 29 sides released by Hunter as a solo artist during that period, including two stints on CBS and one on Chrysalis Records.
Though Mott the Hoople’s biggest hit came from David Bowie’s glam anthem “All the Young Dudes” (No. 3 U.K., 1972), Hunter was a prolific songwriter himself. Flush with the success of a hit single, both Hunter and the band, previously on the verge of a break-up, were revitalized. Mott rode the glam rock train with further hits like “Honaloochie Boogie” and “All the Way from Memphis,” and scored successful albums, as well. But all wasn’t well within the Mott camp. Despite having just brought guitarist and frequent Bowie collaborator Mick Ronson into the band in 1974, Hunter soon departed. By the year’s end, he had departed Mott, citing nervous exhaustion. Ronson followed suit. But despite calling it quits with a successful band, Ian Hunter wasn’t done with making music.
The Singles Collection kicks off with the 1975 single that made Hunter’s name as a solo artist, the original version of “Once Bitten, Twice Shy.” Recorded at George Martin’s AIR Studios, it was taken from his eponymous solo debut. Hunter was joined by Ronson as arranger, guitarist and co-producer for the track which made it to No. 14 on the U.K. chart. (Great White’s 1989 cover version went all the way to the Top 5 in America.) Phil Hendriks’ detailed, track-by-track liner notes for The Singles Collection point out that “Once Bitten” was Hunter’s only hit U.K. single as a solo artist, but clearly, fellow musicians were taking notice. His next album, All American Alien Boy, saw him joined by jazz greats David Sanborn and Jaco Pastorius, as well as drummer Aynsley Dunbar and even the members of Queen! Queen can be heard on “You Nearly Did Me In.” (For fans of that album, the single version of its title track might come as a surprise, as it was a wholly unique recording.)
Cover versions of Hunter’s songs also began to proliferate, a trend which would continue as the decades passed. “Who Do You Love” received a recording by The Pointer Sisters. 1979’s “Cleveland Rocks” was recorded by The Presidents of the United States of America in 1997 and got a second lease on life when the song was selected as the theme song to television’s long-running The Drew Carey Show. And Barry Manilow brought the tender, haunting ballad “Ships” into the American Top 10; Hunter has credited Manilow with adding the key changes that transformed the song into a bit of a power ballad. (The Singles Collection also includes the original version of “Cleveland Rocks,” recorded as “England Rocks,” in 1977.)
What does Meat Loaf have to do with Ian Hunter? What tracks will you find on The Singles Collection? How can you order? You’ll find answers to all of those questions, and more, after the jump!
A few tracks have another unexpected connection, with the Bat Out of Hell rocker Meat Loaf. Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band members famously contributed to that album opus, and Roy Bittan and Max Weinberg also played on Hunter’s 1979 “When the Daylight Comes.” Bittan and Weinberg brought along Garry Tallent, while Ellen Foley and Rory Dodd, two of Meat Loaf’s backing vocalists, also participated. The following year, for “We Gotta Get Out of Here,” Meat himself appeared in the song’s promotional music video, and Ellen Foley (his duet partner on “Paradise by the Dashboard Light”) guested on both the song and video. Foley returned for 1981’s Short Back ‘n’ Sides album, from which “Lisa Likes Rock ‘N’ Roll” b/w “Noises” are heard on The Singles Coillection. For 1983’s album and single titled All of the Good Ones Are Taken, Hunter picked up another E Street band member: the Big Man, Clarence Clemons. Rory Dodd was back, and the Bat Out of Hell songwriter Jim Steinman was credited with “assistance” on the title track. Clemons even made a memorable appearance in the song’s video!
Though The Singles Collection concludes in 1983 with the second single to be taken from All of the Good Ones Are Taken (“Somethin’s Goin’ On” b/w “All of the Good Ones Are Taken (Slow Version)”), Ian Hunter hasn’t been idle. He reunited with Mick Ronson in 1989 for the YUI ORTA album and in 2009 finally joined Mott the Hoople for five sold-out nights in London that were greeted by much, well, hoopla. Hunter has toured regularly over the years and sporadically released solo albums, the latest of which is 2009’s Man Overboard.
Tim Turan has remastered all tracks for this new compilation. 7Ts Records’ The Singles Collection 1975-83 is available in stores now, and can be ordered below!
Ian Hunter, The Singles Collection 1975-83 (7Ts GLAMCOD 132, 2012)
- Once Bitten, Twice Shy
- 3,000 Miles From Here
- Who Do You Love?
- All American Alien Boy
- You Nearly Did Me In
- Letter from Britannia to the Union Jack
- Justice of the Peace
- The Ballad of Little Star
- England Rocks
- Wild n’ Free
- When the Daylight Comes
- Life After Death
- Wild East
- Cleveland Rocks
- We Gotta Get Out of Here
- Live Medley: Once Bitten/Twice Shy/Bastard/Cleveland Rocks
- Sons and Daughters (Live)
- One of the Boys (Live)
- Lisa Likes Rock ‘n’ Roll
- All of the Good Ones are Taken
- Death ‘n’ Glory Boys
- Somethin’s Goin’ On
- All of the Good Ones are Taken (Slow Version)
CD 1, Tracks 1-2 from CBS single S-3194, 1975
CD 1, Tracks 3-4 from CBS single S-3486, 1975
CD 1, Tracks 5-6 from CBS single S-4268, 1976
CD 1, Tracks 7-8 from CBS single S-4479, 1976
CD 1, Tracks 9-10 from CBS single S-5229, 1977
CD 1, Tracks 11-12 from CBS single S-5497, 1977
CD 1, Tracks 13-14 from Chrysalis single CHS 2324, 1979
CD 1, Tracks 15-16 from Chrysalis single CHS 2346, 1979
CD 2, Tracks 1-2 from Chrysalis single CHS 2390, 1979
CD 2, Tracks 3-4 from Chrysalis “Double Play” single CHS 2434, 1980
CD 2, Tracks 5-6 from Chrysalis “Double Play” single CHS 2434, 1980
CD 2, Tracks 7-8 from Chrysalis single CHS 2542, 1981
CD 2, Tracks 9-10 from CBS single A-3541, 1983
CD 2, Track 11 from CBS 12-inch single TA-3541, 1983
CD 2, Tracks 12-13 from CBS single A-3855, 1983