Procol Harum

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Guy Stevens

The Hoople / Harum connection

Niels-Erik Mortensen kindly sends BtP the following excerpts from the liner notes to The Best of Mott the Hoople. The Island Years 1969-72, compilation published by Island Records 1990, Spectrum Records 1998

Die-hard Procoholics might not share a similar devotion to Mott the Hoople but the bands did actually have some things in common. They both evolved out of the British R'n'B circuits of the Sixties, they both had a twin keyboard line-up plus an impressive lead guitarist, a Dylanesque musical and lyrical approach to their products and then of course, they had Guy Stevens in common.

This is noted in the flamboyant sleeve notes for the CD, The Best of Mott the Hoople, the Island Years 1969-1972, in which Mott-drummer Dale Griffin (Buffin) presents his memories under the title, 'The Stixman reflects':

"(...) Guy Stevens (...) had been involved in the wilder fringes of music throughout the Sixties. As a DJ, he had supplied the Rolling Stones and other luminaries with all the obscure recordings they desired and was much respected for his knowledge and taste in music. His Stones connection remained all his life. He began to work with Chris Blackwell, running the Sue label. He put together the essential elements of Procul [sic] Harum, but was detained at Her Majesty's pleasure on a minor drugs offence, thus missing out on their huge success. He brought over Chuck Berry for a tour here and he was part of the small, brilliant team that made Island Records the company everyone looked to in the late Sixties / early Seventies with acts like Traffic, Free, Spooky Tooth, King Crimson, John Martyn, Jethro Tull etc."

Indeed, much of the Mott history is the Guy Stevens history and thus, certainly not underrated by Griffin who writes more about Stevens than about the Mott the Hoople members themselves. His dry wit and self-irony would remind Procoholics about Gary. Griffin remembers how the band had 'promising sales' of the single, Midnight Lady:

'The BBC TV gave us a slot on Top of the Pops. The day after the show aired, the single stopped selling. This should be in the Guinness Book of Records."

However, the compilation is a very tasty collection of highlights from the earliest Mott activities, though the two huge hits, All The Young Dudes and Roll Away The Stone belong to a later period and are easily found elsewhere.

To buy this CD direct from Amazon USA, click on this link. To get it from Amazon UK, use this link

To get it from Amazon Germany, use this link

More about Guy Stevens
Hoople history
The song, Harlequin, by Reid and Brooker

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