Guy Stevens

Guy Stevens, a key figure in the early history of Mott the Hoople, was an energetic, somewhat obsessive music fan who became a talent scout for R&B at Island Records and was then put in charge of the Sue Records subsidiary label. A colourful character, he is said to have originated the phrase “a whiter shade of pale” in the presence of Keith Reid, co-writer of the song made famous by Procol Harum. In fact, the name Procol Harum was also thanks to Stevens, who found it on the pedigree of a Siamese cat. Stevens was immensely influential in the early history of Chris Blackwell’s Island Records, also working with Spooky Tooth, Traffic and Free. In 1968 he was imprisoned for nine months for possession of cannabis. Wild, somewhat manic, a huge motivator, fun, somewhat destructive: all these characteristics apply, according to those who remember him (he died in 1981 at just 38 years old).

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