The Manhattan skyline blew my mind the first time
We went down to the scene of the crime
Lookin’ for the soul of America
Those are Ian Hunter’s lyrics.
Ian Hunter is a British 70’s B-list glam rocker who was the lead singer/songwriter for Mott the Hoople. They had a big hit with All the Young Dudes, which was written by 70’s A-list glam rocker David Bowie. Andy Mackay, saxophone player from 70’s (A? B?)-list glam rockers Roxy Music played the searing sax solo on Mott the Hoople’s hit All the Way From Memphis.
Hunter also had a fairly successful solo career. 80’s hair band Great White scored a minor hit with a cover of his Once Bitten Twice Shy which was, not surprisingly, not as good as the original, and his Cleveland Rocks was the title song for The Drew Carey Show.
When I was a teen, Mott the Hoople was one of the bands I idolized. My fascination with all things British started at an early age. Additionally, Hunter has incorporated his love of New York City into several of his songs, which has endeared him to me even more as the years peeled away.
Recently, I got to see him perform at a free outdoor concert in Manhattan. It was part of the River to River Festival. The Festival is an annual NYC summer event that offers free concerts, plays and readings in parks along the Hudson and East Rivers.
When Mott the Hoople was touring, I was too young and too broke to ever see them perform. Watching him perform Central Park n’ West with Manhattan as the backdrop made my 15-year old glam-rock heart sing. Just look at him. The glam is long gone but the music remains.