I was saddened to hear about Overend Watts’ passing on January 22. The original bassist for Mott the Hoople, he provided one of my most vivid visual/musical memories.
In 1972, the cult band was about to break up when David Bowie offered to supply the members with a song—“All the Young Dudes.” The defining anthem transformed Mott the Hoople into glam-rock heroes.
I saw the group perform on April 12, 1974, when an American tour began at Regis College in Denver. Folks in the audience weren’t too sure of the opening act, whose frontman wore satin and nail polish, but Queen would go on to international stardom.
Overend Watts managed to stand out even following Queen’s glittering extravagance, performing in towering thigh-high platform boots. There was only one issue—he couldn’t walk at all, only pivot left or right by swinging on the balls of his feet. By the end of the set, the crowd was won over by this new standard for rock showmanship.
When this impressionable 19-year-old wondered what an English glam bass player should look like, Overend provided an indelible insight. R.I.P., good sir.
CMHOF Executive Director