Phases in Ian Hunter’s career–and six years without an album

All of the Good ones are Taken comes towards the end of what I think of as the second phase in Ian Hunter’s musical career:

Phase 1: Mott the Hoople

Phase 2: Mainstream solo artist/Hunter-Ronson

Phase 3: Niche solo artist (but none the worse for it)

What I mean by this last phase is that by the time of Dirty Laundry in 1995 there was no longer any prospect of Hunter recovering the kind of fame and acclaim that he had in the latter years with Mott the Hoople, or even with the Schizophrenic album. However he retained a dedicated fan following, and perhaps even increased it with a succession of excellent albums between 1995 and the present day, along with regular touring.

I am getting a little ahead of myself though. There is another Hunter/Ronson album to come, but it will be a long wait. Hunter released no solo albums between All of the Good… in 1983 and the last with Ronson in 1989. That’s an eternity in pop music terms. Why?

The answer seems to be a combination of lack of commercial pressure on the one hand and lack of drive on the other. After two lacklustre albums, both in musical and sales terms, Hunter was not hot property for the mainstream labels. Having said which, according to Campbell Devine Columbia wanted him to do a follow-up album after All of the Good Ones are Taken, but he refused. "Honestly, I had no good songs, and the ones I’d just given them, they hadn’t done anything with."

Both Hunter and Ronson carried on ticking over musically, but mostly separately, though they were firm friends, . Ronson said "I thought about going to college and becoming a chef. I didn’t want to be known just as a guitar player for the rest of my life. For a while there I just lost myself. People do."

Ian Hunter did some bits and pieces for film soundtracks, including I’m the Teacher (with Mick Ronson) for the film Teachers in 1984, and Great Expectations for Up The Creek, also 1984.

In 1986 Hunter toured with the Roy Young band, apparently with great success (musically speaking).

According to Devine he received two more offers from labels wanting to sign him in 1987, but turned them down.

He never stopped songwriting and maybe some good stuff from these years appears on the big Proper Records box set, I am not sure. Some oddments appear on the Ian Hunter compilation Once Bitten Twice Shy.

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