This documentary provides the most in-depth look at Mott the Hoople that there's ever likely to be and no doubt the most authoritative too since most of the commentary comes from the band's two main men; singer Ian Hunter and guitarist Mick Ralphs. Hunter and Ralphs both give Guy Stevens, the now deceased producer of their early work, tremendous credit for their eventual success. Stevens' work on Mott's first few albums didn't render any hits but it is said that it was he who pushed the band to develop creatively, putting them in position to break through in 1972 with the David Bowie-mentored All the Young Dudes. Hunter and Ralphs also reveal that they disagree with Mott being categorized as a glam band, insisting that they were just a high-energy rock'n'roll band that sometimes dressed outrageously while still managing to connect with a working class audience through songs like "All the Way From Memphis," "Honaloochie Boogie," a cover of Lou Reed's "Sweet Jane" and the angst-y Bowie-penned anthem for disaffected youth, "All the Young Dudes." Line-up changes are chronicled; the addition of guitarist Aeriel Bender brought an element of fun (at the time sorely needed) to the band but when it was guitarist Mick Ronson's turn the band started to implode due to Ronson's standoffishness. All the intra-band tension plus the pressure on Hunter to continue to churn out quality songs put Hunter in the hospital during an American tour and with doctors recommending he take an extended hiatus, Hunter instead left Mott the Hoople, effectively ending the band. This is not a concert film but there's plenty of vintage performance footage included that cannot be found elsewhere including a snippet of 2009's reunion performance; perhaps even more valuable is Hunter's commentary, as honest and unaffected as the band's much-beloved music.
The Ballad of Mott the Hoople