Born as the fourth of five children of a British (Barbadian / Belgian) mother and a Nigerian father, Labi Siffre was brought up in Bayswater and Hampstead and educated at a Catholic monastery school, St Benedict’s School, in Ealing. Then became interested in jazz and blues and did some backing vocals and played in bands.
In 1969, while Labi was working in Amsterdam, friends sent a tape of his songs to the DJ, Dave Cash and music publishers MAM. This led to a contract with Festival Records, and his recording debut in 1970 which was released in the UK on the Pye International division of Pye Records.
By the time his third album was released he had a big breakthrough with his album “Crying, Laughing, Loving, Lying” which was released in 1972 and contained the hits “It Must Be Love” UK#14 (later covered by Madness), the title song UK#11. His music was soulful, pure and very accoustic in sound.
Labi had more hits later with “I got the…” from 1975 which was used by Eminem on his “My Name Is” and in 1987 with “(Something inside) So strong” and “Nothing’s Gonna Change”.
Saved / Cannock Chase / Fool Me A Goodnight / It Must Be Love / Gimme Some More / Blue Lady / Love Oh Love Oh Love / Crying Laughing Loving Lying / Hotel Room Song / My Song / Till Forever / Come On Michael
Highlights: Cannock Chase / It Must Be Love/ Crying Laughing Loving Lying / My Song / Till Forever
Labi Sifre - Something inside so strong
UB40 - Sing our own song
Peter Gabriel - Biko
Artists United Against Apartheid - Sun City
Simple Minds - Mandela Day
The Special AKA - Nelson Mandela
Tracey Chapman - Freedom now
As told in my previous post Mott The Hoople nearly broke up after a disastrous live gig in March 26, 1972 in Zürich. That inspired them to write a song about the event titled “Ballad Of Mott The Hoople” which was released on their next album “Mott”.
“Mott” from 1973 was their concept album about rock’n’roll success that was their masterpiece. It includes some nostalgic glam rock songs like “All The Way From Memphis” and “Hoonaloochie Boogie”. On the second half they became more experimental with “I’m a Cadillac/El Camino Dolo Roso”. Overall all songs are great on this one. Sadly the cover for the CD edtion holds only the later band image of the band instead of the much artful edition with Roman head which in design fits more with their next album “The Hoople”.
After “Mott” guitarist Ralphs quit to found Bad Company with Paul Rodgers. So the remaining three members recruited a new lead guitarist and keyboard player.
Ian Hunter became the front man and on the next album from 1974 “The Hoople” their sound remained a bit the same. It includes rockers like “Crash Street Kiddds” and “Roll Away The Stone”. The orchestrated “Through The Looking Glass” and theatrical “Marionette”. Andy MacKay from Roxy Music contributed his saxophone play on “The Golden Age Of Rock’n’Roll” and “Pearl’n’ Roy (England)”, a political statement toward British Prime Minister of that time, Ted Heath. Although the glam rock was already fading away on the album. After the album Bowie’s guitarist Mick Ronson replaced Bender for a single “The Saturday Gig”. Finally Ian Hunter decided to go solo while the remaining members continued as Mott but without success for both.
The 70’s were the days of glam rock bands like The Sweet, T-Rex, Mud and Cockney Rebel. But the best glam rock band in my opinion is Mott The Hoople with lead singer Ian Hunter.
They started as Silvence in 1968 with singer Stan Tippens who couldn’t perform anymore after an accident . They replaced him with Ian Hunter and changed their name to “Mott The Hoople” named after a book from Willard Manus. After 4 albums and a very disappointing gig in Zurich in 1972 the band decided to quit but long time fan David Bowie pursuaded them to continue and offered his “Suffragette City” which they rejected. So David wrote another song for them and offered to produce their next album. The result was “All The Young Dudes” which became a worldwide hit.
Bowie played Saxophone on the album while his Ziggy Stardust guitarist Mick Ronson arranged and conducted orchestrations for some songs. The album starts with a Velvet Underground cover “Sweet Jane” which is best cover version done of this song ever. “Momma’s Little Jewel” has great riffs just like “Sucker”. Highlights are of course “All The Young dudes”, “One Of The Boys”, “Ready For Love” and the ballad at the end “Sea Diver”.
The album finally gave the band the success they deserved and paved the way for their best album “Mott” that followed.
Sweet Jane / Momma’s Little Jewel / All the Young Dudes / Sucker / Jerkin’ Crocus / One of the Boys / Soft Ground / Ready for Love / After Lights / Sea Diver