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Mott The Hoople’s Dale Griffin Dies At 67

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Dale Griffin, fondly remembered by 1970s rock fans as a founder member of Mott The Hoople, died last night (17) at the age of 67. He had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, and living in a care home near Brecon. Poignantly, his death came only a few days after that of the man who gave the group their biggest hit with ‘All The Young Dudes’ in 1972, David Bowie.

Mott earlyKnown during his rock star days as “Buffin” or “Buff,” Dale went on to be a respected BBC  Radio 1 producer. “Sorry to hear Dale Griffin, drummer of Mott the Hoople, produced some of my BBC sessions for [John] Peel and [David] Jensen, has died after long illness,” tweeted Billy Bragg. Griffin’s Mott colleague Morgan Fisher wrote: “Goodbye Buff, old friend. You were one of the best.”

Mott The Hoople, fronted by later solo star Ian Hunter, formed in 1969 and released their self-titled debut album that year. They enjoyed only modest success with that and the follow-ups Mad Shadows and Wildlife, but built up a loyal following as a live act, and were much admired by the emerging Bowie. alltheyoungdudesHe famously offered them ‘All The Young Dudes’ when they were on point of splitting up, produced and sang backing vocals on their version and helped it to become a No. 3 UK hit.

The band remained more of an album outfit, but returned to the top ten with two more gems in 1973, ‘All The Way From Memphis’ and ‘Roll Away The Stone.’ They also had top 20 hits with ‘Honaloochie Boogie’ and ‘The Golden Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll.’

When Hunter and seminal guitarist Mick Ronson left, Griffin, Fisher and Overend Watts formed Mott, later reconvening as British Lions. Griffin went to produce a number of new wave acts and was at the desk, with Watts, for Department S’ 1981 hit ‘Is Vic There?’ From 1981 to 1994, he produced many notable live sessions at Radio 1, including dates by Pulp in their earliest days, OMD and even Smashing Pumpkins.

dale-griffinMott The Hoople reformed for their 40th anniversary in 2009, and Griffin was too ill to perform, but managed to play with the band for their encores. The sense of lifelong commitment was heightened during the encore, when the band’s original drummer, Dale Griffin, entered the fray, wrote Andrew Perry in the Daily Telegraph.

“Griffin has Alzheimer’s, and had to be led by the hand to a drum kit alongside his substitute for the evening, the Pretenders’ Martin Chambers. Soon, he was pounding away to the rhythm of ‘Roll Away The Stone,’ grinning from ear to ear. ‘All The Young Dudes,’ then, was simply breath-taking, with Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott joining in for a verse. And the rockin’ went on, unrestrainable, deafening, totally life-affirming.”

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Keith marron

    January 18, 2016 at 10:40 pm

    I went deaf listening to buff pound walkin with a mountain,, fromthe live broadway,,screamed his name from the front row of the New haven Colesium,,,,,soundcheck he heard me and nodded bac,,,, i never forgot that now im 60. Rip “HEY BUFF”

  2. Richard Bennett

    January 18, 2016 at 11:15 pm

    RIP Buffin. Been a fan since I was mesmerised by ‘At the Crossroads’ all those years ago. What a fine band and a great drummer.

  3. joe black

    January 18, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    He meant “as a “FOUNDING ” member of Mott The Hoople,

  4. Michael

    January 19, 2016 at 1:48 am

    He will be missed.

  5. Tony

    January 19, 2016 at 1:49 am

    Now Alice needed money
    I put ten dollars on the breeze
    As the wind died away
    She sank way below her knees
    As a hurricane passed
    She clutched the money from the sky
    She must have been at least a fathom night.

    Mott the Hoople was an epic band. Maybe Dale just went to heaven to play drums for Bowie. RIP.

  6. Steve "Indyhexter" Heck

    January 19, 2016 at 1:51 am

    Buff was an important part of an UK legacy of short lived power bands that delivered truly memorable songs that have outlived their source; Mott, T Rex and on …. RIP Buff

  7. Emily Jane Williams

    January 19, 2016 at 3:12 am

    Start of 2016 & so many musicians are now rocking in heaven already….
    Dale was one of the best….I LOVED Mott The Hoople….feel very sad he’s now gone too…will be missed & remembered foreverxxx

  8. Max Hutchinson

    January 19, 2016 at 5:41 am

    That should be “seminal guitarist Mick RALPHS.”

    • David Bourke

      January 19, 2016 at 8:57 am

      No Max, Mick Ronson is correct. Mick Ralphs was replaced by Luther Grosvenor (Ariel Bender) who was replaced by Mick Ronson for a short time, and the band then dissolved and became Mott.

  9. Matt Lawson

    January 19, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    Very sad news.Mott were one of the best in the70,s and were due to play in Dublin in 1974 when a bomb went off and they cancelled.Did manage to see Ian Hunter solo in Cork City many years ago which sort of made up for the disappointment .Rest in peace Dale you were the best.

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