Get this crazy baby off my head!


Ian Hunter

Ian Hunter - All American Alien Boy - 1976 - Columbia

Ian Hunter has lived an archetypal rock & Roll life. As much as any performer of rock's second generation, he has tried to act upon the idea that rock's magic is liberating, all-absolving and transcendent, a set of half-truths he has relinquished only at a great cost. I think Hunter is as much a fan as a performer, almost a collector. But rather than records, Hunter has assembled influences: Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Ray Davies, the Rolling Stones, John Lennon, Lou Reed. This album is an almost perfect synthesis of what he has learned from his heroes, combining the energetic passion of the rock & rollers he loves with the relentlessly moral quest of the folk-based songwriters he admires. It's no accident that Hunter is the first rock star to deal with the dilemma of the British tax exile. If nothing else, this album has the most appropriate title of the year. There are snatches here of everything from Blonde on Blonde rock to New Orleans jazz. But the best songs ("Restless Youth," "Apathy 83," "You Nearly Did Me In") are Anglo-American in the spirit of Bowie, Lennon and Reed. It is the most successful music Hunter has made since the next-to-last Mott the Hoople record, Mott, and while this new album lacks a rocking blockbuster like "All the Way from Memphis" or an emotional one like "I Wish I Was Your Mother," it contains only one major mistake. That's the frequently abrasive intrusion of soul-style female harmony—no white Anglo-American rocker has yet used it effectively—and even that works when coupled with David Sanborn's gorgeous saxophone solo on "You Nearly Did Me In." Such an incessant pursuit of the rock dream can render minor musical gaffes irrelevant. All of the above songs share in that quest, but Hunter's magnificent obsession reaches a new peak, of some sort, in "Apathy 83." On its most obvious level, the song is a put-down of the Rolling Stones—"apathy for the devil," a slogan apparently derived from a comment of Dylan's—but it is also a eulogy for lost innocence of all sorts. There's action in the song, and it all takes place in a haunted landscape that might have been drawn from William Burroughs's The Wild Boys: "Wired out—tired out-transcendental mental—only laughing in your sleep." Hunter hit the top this year, performing with Dylan's rolling revue. "Apathy 83" is about what he learned, from many seasons at the bottom and one at the top: Old enough to hate tomorrow—young enough not to know where to run, - Oh there ain't no rock 'n' roll no more—just the music of the young. It's easy to say things like that, especially for those of us who find in the musical fads of the present the dizzy déjà vu of our own childhood embarrassments, but it's hard to get out of them. I think Hunter's music does—as it charges to its various climaxes, there's a spirit present that always belies his doomsaying. Hunter may believe with John Lennon that the dream is over, or with Dylan that it's only just begun, but he's damned if he'll act like it. That is the old man's game and he knows it. With Bruce Springsteen, Roxy Music, Don Harrison and maybe Rod Stewart, he stands up and embodies rock & roll history—it's the spark of all those contradictions that lights the path of the future. (RS 217) © DAVE MARSH, Posted: Jul 15, 1976, © 2008 Rolling Stone

Ian Hunter is best known as the front man for the great Mott the Hoople band. Many people associated MTH with overly commercial Glam Rock. In fact, Mott the Hoople were a great rock 'n' roll band, but never really achieved that identity. Even with Ian Hunter's great songwriting ability, it was David Bowie who composed their biggest hit, "All The Young Dudes." Ian Hunter was taken nuch more seriously as a rock artist when he left Mott the Hoople. There have been over fifty cover versions recorded of Ian Hunter's songs. Some of the great rock'n'roll songs written by Ian, as a member of Mott the Hoople include "The Golden Age of Rock 'n' Roll," "All the Way From Memphis," "Roll Away the Stone," and "Honaloochie Boogie," co-written with Mick Ralphs. "All American Alien Boy" proves Ian Hunter's talents as an important songwriter and rock 'n' roller. Listen to his "Ian Hunter" album, and his great 2007 "Shrunken Heads" album. Give MTH's 1974 album, "The Hoople" a listen. Brilliant rock'n'roll! There is info on Ian's great "You're Never Alone With A Schizophrenic" album @ IH/YNAWAS and Check out Mott The Hoople's "Mott" album @ MTH/MOTT


A1 - Letter To Britannia From The Union Jack (3:44)
Guitar - Cornell Dupree
A2 - All American Alien Boy (7:07)
Piano - Ian Hunter
A3 - Irene Wilde (3:42)
A4 - Restless Youth (5:50)
Piano, Organ, Mellotron, Bass - Chris Stainton

B1 - Rape (4:19)
B2 - You Nearly Did Me In (5:43)
B3 - Apathy (4:41)
B4 - God (Take I) (5:40)
Bass, Guitar - Jaco Pastorius

All songs composed by Ian Hunter
There are many versions of this album, the most notable being the 2006 BMG reissue with six bonus tracks


Ian Hunter (vocals)
Cornell Dupree, Gerry Weems (guitars)
Jaco Pastorius (bass, guitar)
Chris Stainton (keyboards, bass)
Aynsley Dunbar (drums)
Don Alias (percussion),
David Sanborn (saxophone)
Arnie Lawrence, Lew Soloff (trumpet)
Dave Bargeron (trombone)
Dominic Cortese (accordion)
Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor, Ann E. Suton, Erin Dickens, Gail Kantor, Bob Segarini (background vocals)


After the relative success of his debut, it would have been very easy for Ian Hunter to continue in the glam-inspired vein that made that album so successful. Instead, he twisted his sound in a jazz direction for All American Alien Boy, a partially successful attempt to open up his sound from its traditional rock & roll routes. Since Hunter couldn't utilize the producing and arranging skills of longtime cohort Mick Ronson because of a dispute with Ronson's manager, Hunter took the reins himself and invited a diverse cast of session musicians that included everyone from journeyman drummer Aynsley Dunbar to jazz bass wizard Jaco Pastorius. The resulting album mixture of conventional Mott the Hoople-style rock and sonic experiments never truly gels, but does contain some fine tracks. The experiments are hit and miss: the title track is a funky, sax-flavored exploration of Hunter's adjustment to life in America that works nicely, but the interesting lyrics of "Apathy 83" get buried in an uncharacteristically bland soft rock arrangement. The songs that work best are the more traditional-sounding numbers: "Irene Wilde" is a delicately crafted autobiographical ballad about the rejection that made Hunter decide to "be somebody, someday," and "God - Take 1" is a stirring, Dylan-styled rocker featuring witty lyrics that illustrate a conversation with a weary and down-to-earth version of God. However, the true gem of the album is "You Nearly Did Me In," an elegant and emotional ballad about the emptiness that follows a romantic breakup. It also notable for the stirring backing vocals from guest stars Queen on its chorus. In the end, All-American Alien Boy lacks the consistency to fully succeed as an album but still offers enough stellar moments to make it worthwhile for Ian Hunter's fans. © Donald A. Guarisco, allmusic.com


With Mott the Hoople, guitarist/vocalist Ian Hunter established himself as one of the toughest and most inventive hard rock songwriters of the early '70s, setting the stage for punk rock with his edgy, intelligent songs. As a solo artist, Hunter never attained the commercial heights of Mott the Hoople, but he cultivated a dedicated cult following. Hunter was born in Owestry, Shropshire, but was raised in cities throughout England since his father worked in the British Intelligence agency called MI5 and had to move frequently. Eventually, the family returned to Shrewsbury, where the teenaged Hunter joined a band called Silence in the early '60s. Silence released an album, but it received no attention. In the years following Silence, Hunter played in a handful of local bands and worked a variety of jobs. In 1968, Hunter began playing bass with Freddie "Fingers" Lee and the duo played around Germany. Shortly afterward, Hunter became the vocalist for Mott the Hoople. During the next six years, Hunter sang and played piano and guitar with the band, becoming its lead songwriter within a few albums. Although few of their records sold, Mott the Hoople was one of the most popular live bands in England. In 1972, David Bowie produced their breakthrough album, All the Young Dudes, which brought the band into the British Top Ten and the American Top 40. For the next two years, the group had a consistent stream of hits in both the U.K. and the U.S. Toward the end of 1973, the band began to fall apart, as founding member and lead guitarist Mick Ralphs left the band. Hunter carried on through another album, but he left the group in late 1974, taking along former Bowie guitarist Mick Ronson, who had just joined Mott. Just prior to leaving the group, Hunter published Diary of a Rock Star, an account of his years leading Mott the Hoople, in June 1974. Hunter moved to New York, where he and Ronson began working on his solo debut. Released in 1975, Ian Hunter spawned "Once Bitten, Twice Shy," a Top 20 U.K. hit. Following its release, Hunter and Ronson embarked on a tour. After its completion, the pair parted ways, although they would reunite later in the '80s. All-American Alien Boy, Hunter's second solo album, was recorded with a variety of all-star and session musicians, including members of Queen. Released in the summer of 1976, All-American Alien Boy was a commercial failure. It was followed in 1977 by Overnight Angels, an album that saw Hunter moving closer to straightforward rock & roll; disappointed with the completed album, Hunter decided to leave the album unreleased in America. Following the mainstream approach of Overnight Angels, Hunter became involved with England's burgeoning punk rock movement, producing Generation X's second album, 1979's Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. For Hunter's next solo album, he reunited with Mick Ronson, who produced and arranged 1979's You're Never Alone with a Schizophrenic. The album was a hit, especially in America, where it peaked at number 35. Hunter and Ronson set out on another tour, which resulted in the 1980 double live album, Ian Hunter Live/Welcome to the Club. In 1981, Hunter released Short Back N' Sides, which was produced by the Clash's Mick Jones. Two years later, he released All of the Good Ones Are Taken. After its release, Ian Hunter became a recluse, spending the next six years in silence; occasionally, he contributed a song to a movie soundtrack. In 1989, Hunter resumed recording, releasing YUI Orta with Ronson. After its release, Hunter remained quiet during the '90s, appearing only on Ronson's posthumous 1994 album Heaven and Hull and at tribute concerts for Ronson in 1994 and Freddie Mercury in 1992. Hunter returned to recording with Artful Dodger, which was released in Britain and Europe in the spring of 1997. After a Columbia/Legacy compilation titled Once Bitten Twice Shy offered a wealth of Ian Hunter solo titles in the year 2000, much attention was paid to 2001's fine Rant. In 2002, Hunter performed a pair of semi-acoustic concerts in Oslo, Norway, which were recorded for later release on CD and home video; the resulting project, called Strings Attached, included some new songs, including "Twisted Steel," inspired by the events of September 11, 2001. Shrunken Heads, a collection of all-new material, was released in 2007 on the Yep Roc label. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine, allmusic.com


A.O.O.F.C said...


wajorama said...

This one REALLY ROCKS: just downloaded the album, and as I started listening the ground SHOOK!! (indeed 5 minutes ago we had a small earthquake here in Costa Rica nothing more than a little shake to wake up the adrenaline).

Thanks for this share (I must be careful not to listen to it very loud just in case!).

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi, wajorama! Don't listen to Led Zeppelin 2, or Sabbaths "Paranoid" or Costa Rica could be in real trouble! ttu soon!

Certifiablockhead said...

this one's great listening and not just for Ian Hunter's fans...alright he has a girls chorus, saxes, but the Rock and Roll anthems ring true and strong...and there're all those lines of Hunter the bard, like "standing on the edge of Vesuvius...drunk on wine and wisdom..."

I grabbed this one when it came out, later you could find it in the cutout bins. But some of us knew how good it was...

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,C..... Ian is an overlooked lyricist, just like Al Stewart, Clifford T.Ward, Roy Harper, ad nauseam. I wish MTH had never released ATYD. I feel that song is associated too much with Ian Hunter. Just my op. TVM & TTU soon...Paul