Ed read an article written by Ian Ryder about
gigs at The Malvern Winter Gardens
- it sparked these memories for him:
Glamming it up on Top Of The Pops in 1974
I grew up in Ledbury through the 70s and the Winter Gardens was certainly the place to be - we were pretty lucky dudes, I guess.
Ian talks about hitching from Worcester - I walked home over the Malvern Hills a couple of times.
Some artists missing from Ian's list that I saw, and for my sins I was at nearly every gig in the decade, include Budgie (I saw them in Frome, Somerset six months ago; what a blast); Dr Feelgood - how can he have missed them? - they must have passed through about three times; Man, The JSD Band, Squeeze, Lindisfarne, Focus, Alex Harvey and many more.
There is more to tell about the Malvern music scene - The Folly Arms for example, and the Bank House and The Nags Head.
There were also local bands like Big Front Yard, Sassafrass and Paul White (was that his name?), - his girlfriend was the bass player, and he nearly always opened with "Faith Healer".
The Malvern Link Free music festival is worth a mention too - I'd have to confer with a couple of friends to piece together some fragmented memories. There were loads of good local bands about in the 70's.
The point is, Mott the Hoople are a Hereford and Worcester band.
Hunter came from Shrewsbury, but the rest all started as a pub band in Hereford.
Those famous Overend Watts long white boots
At one of the reunion gigs Hunter pointed to Overend Watts' (who is back in Hereford running a store) flat white shoes (not the eight inch white thigh-length platform boots of the '70s) and said - "D'you like his shoes? Finest from Marks and Sparks in Ross-on-Wye".
I saw them at Malvern in '72, then again at the Gaumont cinema in Worcester in '74 - with Queen as a support band.
Mott's song Marionette was the recipe for Bohemian Rhapsody -they split soon after that.
Then, 35 years later, the original Hereford band (plus Hunter) got back together for two nights at Hammersmith.
Stan Tippins , the Hereford singer that Hunter replaced, was on stage, and did the backing vocals for, among other songs, Honaloochie Boogie.
The two nights sold out in 24 hours so they added another night - that sold out, so they added two more - that's the sort of band they are.
Not a Led Zep, who auction tickets to fill the O2 with people who never were fans in the first place, to maximize financial return - Mott were (and are) all about the fans.
I went on the opening night and again ('cos they were so good) on the last night.
Ian Hunter on TOTP in 1974, with the ever-present shades
On Tuesday, Hunter said that Brian May was back stage, and tried to get him on for the encore.
When Brian wasn't forthcoming, Hunter brought the house full of 55 year olds down with a fantastic performance of 'All the Old Dudes' - grown men were crying.
"Thirty six years", the guy next to me kept shouting when there was a quiet moment.
Then, when given enough time to get it off his chest: "I've been waiting 36 years to get my money back for the cancelled Portsmouth gig in '73."
Someone should talk with MTH and get them to the Winter Gardens - and bring the Rock and Roll circus back to town.