Q Magazine has called Ian Hunter’s Diary of a Rock’N’Roll Star “the greatest music book ever written.” It is arguably one of the first, if not THE first rock autobiographies written; in the preface, Hunter refers to it as “more like a letter to the fan in the first row at the Rainbow.” The book was written on the 1972 American tour, the same year that the David Bowie-penned hit “All The Young Dudes” hit the charts and broke the band to a wider audience in the States. It was published two years later, in 1974, during the tour that would yield the excellent Mott The Hoople Live.
Written in diary form, we join the band on the tarmac at Heathrow November 21st and end up headed back home from Chicago on a DC-9 on Christmas Eve. Hunter recounts in detail many of the personalities in and around the band on that tour, including Bowie, Noel Redding, Keith Moon and Frank Zappa.
Hunter’s discovery of America includes spending time sunbathing on the hotel roof, shopping for vintage music equipment at pawn shops, Sunset Strip and an endless string of airports and music venues across the USA. However, the real joy of the book is its innocence; this book is truly a time capsule of the rock n’ roll lifestyle long before private jets and Four Season suites. Hunter recounts air travel like an excited little kid: Magazines! Food! Movies — sometimes more than one! Likewise, the ubiquitous Holiday Inn's sound a whole lot like I remember them as a kid: swimming pools! Room service! Magic Fingers bed massage!
While I fear this book may be limited to Mott fans and “that” generation, which would be a shame. It’s a charming read and sure to appeal to the above, but really it's for anyone who’s ever had to share a room with his bass player, dirty stage clothes, various girlfriends and the psycho-drama of band relationships. With more miles than money under his belt, Ian Hunter penned a one-of-a kind memoir some FORTY years ago, of a highly-influential, under-appreciated band on the run. And those days are gone. Don't miss it!
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