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Diary of a Rock'n'Roll Star

Diary of a Rock'n'Roll Star is Ian Hunter's famous written-as-it-happened account of Mott the Hoople's 5 week November-December 1972 U.S. tour. The book was published 18 months later in June 1974, just as Hunter was leaving the band to embark on a solo career. It chronicles the endless traveling, hotels, sound checks, performances and, notably, strips away the glittering facade of the rock star that the music industry PR machine would have us believe.

Hunter delivers a distinctly British perspective as he encounters the diverse American cultural landscape. Already in his 30s and a show biz veteran, Hunter offers not only the usual clichés, but also mature, hard-won insights into the rock game.

As if aware of his own future career arc, Hunter warns, "It may look flashy, but it's over and you are finished before you know it - if you aren't already broken by one thing it will be another... The rock business is a dirty business full stop." (page 52, 1996 edition)

With Mott the Hoople riding a Top 5 hit song (the David Bowie-penned "All The Young Dudes") and sharing the MainMan Management "family" with rising superstar David, Hunter offers an inside look at Bowie circa late 1972. When their paths cross as on November 29th in Philadelphia before 2,000 fans, Bowie would join the band on stage to sing harmony on "Dudes". Hunter comments, "David looks tired, but great... he's the only star I know who regularly suffers from malnutrition... Innocence, cruelty, the nearness yet the distance, all the qualities of the star he is — only he knows what he pays for this coveted title, but I've sometimes caught glimpses of the sadness". (page 51, 1996 edition)

Out of print for years and difficult to find, Diary achieved cult status. Eventually, Ian's wife Trudi bought the rights as a surprise for Ian.

A near identical Diary was re-published in 1996 by International Music Press with a new foreword by Andrew Collins. A review in the October 1996 issue of Q magazine ventured that it "may well be the best rock book ever".

In April 1996, Per Stam presented a scholarly paper at the First Conference of the Graduate Program in Literature (Uppsala, Sweden) comparing Diary with Umberto Eco's "Travels in Hyperreality". Mr. Stam also stated that Diary served as a rough template for Spinal Tap's ill-fated 1984 tour. But, unlike Tap, Mott was a real band on the way up.

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