Mott The Hoople’s Peter Overend Watts has died at the age of 69 from throat cancer. Bassist and founding member of the hugely popular band, Watts helped create Mott The Hoople’s distinctive image and sound. With a name taken from a 1966 novel by Willard Manus, the group formed in 1969 and released their debut record in the same year. Over the course of the next few years the group would go on to become one of biggest names in Glam Rock, their first few records selling well. Indeed, fan reception at a show at London’s historic Royal Albert Hall was so enthusiastic that thousands of pounds in damage was caused, making the show partially responsible for the venue’s ban on pop concerts a year later.
Despite Mott The Hoople’s burgeoning success, the group was starting to lose momentum and popularity by 1972 and the band were on the verge of calling it quits. Friend and fan David Bowie offered them a song, hoping he could help keep the band together. Initially he offered them ‘Suffragette City’, however the group were unimpressed and turned him down. Bowie subsequently offered them ‘All The Young Dudes’, which would go on to become their biggest hit and would give the band a few more years of life before their split in 1974.
Watts would go on to form Mott, a successor band of sorts to the original Hoople, and later on the short lived British Lions. More recently, Watts focused on interests outside of music; writing a book, ‘The Man Who Hated Walking’, in 2013 and also running a retro store in Hereford that specialised in vintage clothing and instruments.
Tributes for the late bass player have poured in, with Mott The Hoople vocalist Ian Hunter tweeting ” Oh dear. My extremely eccentric, lovely mate – Peter Overend Watts – has left the building. Devastated.”