Mott the Hoople's Dale Griffin

On this day in 1948, drummer Dale Griffin was born in Ross-on-Wye, England. Griffin

was a founding member of Mott the Hoople, the '70s metal/glam-rock band that failed to

achieve superstardom, but influenced British groups in the punk era.

Griffin joined Overend Pete Watts' group the Anchors in the early '60s. The band

eventually became Silence and opened shows for the Yardbirds, the Who and the

Zombies.

After the band split, Griffin joined Watts in the Doc Thomas Group, also known as the

Buddies. But Silence eventually re-formed and included guitarist Mick Ralphs and

organist Verden Allen in addition to Watts and Griffin.

Upon adding singer Stan Tippens, the band landed a deal with Island Records. A&R

man/producer Guy Stevens changed its name to Mott the Hoople, after a Willard Manus

novel. But Tippens was soon fired and became the band's road manager, making way

for new vocalist Ian Hunter.

Hunter's songwriting was a big asset to Mott the Hoople; he also became their

unconventional frontman, flirting with gay imagery and a glam-rock style. Mott the

Hoople's eponymous debut album was released in 1969 and it became an underground

hit due to the incorporation of Bob Dylan-like cynicism in its metal sound. The LP

included an instrumental of the Kinks' smash, "You Really Got Me."

Neither the debut LP nor 1970's Mad Shadows sold enough to make Mott the

Hoople truly successful. The countryish Wildlife (1971) was an outright bomb. But

the band's steady touring brought it a cult fanbase in Great Britain. At the Royal Albert

Hall in 1971, Mott the Hoople fans got so riotous that the London venue banned rock

concerts for a while. But after that year's Brain Capers did poorly, the band was

ready to call it quits.

David Bowie convinced Mott the Hoople to stick it out by offering to produce their next

album and giving them his song "Suffragette City." They agreed to the production help,

but chose Bowie's gay-themed

href="http://www.addict.com/music/Mott_The_Hoople/stereo-excerpt-

All_The_Young_Dudes.ram">"All The Young Dudes" (RealAudio excerpt) to

record instead. The song was Mott the Hoople's breakthrough and became an anthem of

the glam-rock era. An LP titled after the song became a hit in the U.S. and the U.K.

Mott (1973), a concept album about a band's struggle to succeed, was

well-received and made #7 in Britain and #35 in the U.S. The LP's "All the Way From

Memphis" and "Roll Away the Stone" also became British top-10 hits.

But Mott the Hoople were beginning to break apart. Ralphs was upset over Allen's

decision to leave and also by the fact that Hunter couldn't sing his "Can't Get Enough."

So Ralphs quit and brought the song to his next band, the successful Bad Company.

Mott the Hoople soldiered on with a new lineup for 1974's hit live LP and the studio

offering The Hoople, which included the singles "The Golden Age of Rock and

Roll" and "Foxy Foxy."

Hunter soon left the band, which shortened its name to Mott for 1975's Drive On

and 1976's Shouting and Pointing. With a new lead singer, the band, still

including Griffin, became the British Lions for two years before splitting up.

Griffin, sometimes known as Buffin, produced sessions for the BBC in the ensuing years.

He worked with Sony on this year's U.K.-released Mott the Hoople box set.

Other birthdays: Bill Wyman (ex-Rolling Stones), 62; Jerry Edmonton (Steppenwolf), 52;

Steven Greenberg (Lipps, Inc.), 48; and Rowland S. Howard (Nick Cave and the Bad

Seeds, The Birthday Party), 39.