As leader of the pioneering British glam rock, generally eclectic hard rock band Mott the Hoople during the early '70s, singer-songwriter Ian Hunter made some of the music most responsible for bringing various forms of hard rock into the mainstream in subsequent decades. Some of the musicians who drew from his influence (hair metal and glam metal artists of the '80s, for example) may not have necessarily taken his efforts to a logical or lofty next level, but that doesn't change the basic truth of Hunter's brilliance nor his current vitality as an artist. Along with guitarist Mick Ralphs in Mott (and later, David Bowie cohort Mick Ronson), Hunter made plenty of permanently intriguing rock and roll and did so consistently under the radar of sweeping superstar status.
Hunter's solo career continues today as strong as ever, but it certainly enjoyed some stellar moments during the latter half of the '70s and the early years of the '80s. 1983's All of the Good Ones Are Taken suffered the obvious disadvantage of featuring Ronson at a decreasing rate, but on the laid-back yet epic "Death 'N' Glory Boys," the latter contributes some of the most dazzling lead guitar work you're likely to hear on a contemporary rock recording. A cinematic synthesizer opening soon gives way to some of Ronson's most enchanting work of an already stellar career. Unfortunately, Ronson had by now become alienated by the music industry and would reduce his instrumental contributions for the ensuing decade, but that certainly didn't mean he didn't remain active as a producer and collaborator with other artists. Ronson's 1993 death from liver cancer at age 46 was certainly a tragically premature end to a signature talent, but this track serves ably as a moving and mesmerizing swan song for a special partnership between like-minded musicians. Hunter and Ronson may not enjoy second-nature status these days as icons of rock and roll cool, but they undoubtedly should be emblematic of vintage rock's propulsive sense of discovery.
- Sample or download "Death 'N' Glory Boys" here.
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Album Cover Image Courtesy of Columbia