45 Years Ago: Mott the Hoople Concert Prompts Royal Albert Hall’s Rock Ban
On July 8, 1971, Mott the Hoople took the stage for the first of a two-night stand at London's Royal Albert Hall. They were never invited back for the second.
As the renowned venue's website revealed last year, Mott were one of the bands whose unruly crowds prompted an infamous (and relatively short-lived) ban on rock shows at the Albert — and it all went down in the aftermath of their concert on July 8.
The site's report includes correspondence between Albert Hall rep Marion Herrod — who admitted she was "rather alarmed" after listening to a radio report describing Mott as a band "at whose concerts the audience habitually participate and one which often causes a ‘riot'" — and John Glover, an exec at the group's label, Island Records. Needless to say, Glover attempted to calm Herrod's fears.
"The report you heard on the radio about the group was greatly exaggerated," wrote Glover in response. "‘Mott the Hoople’ usually get a very good receptions at all their concerts; be as far as we know, there have never been any riots or damage caused to any of the places where they have appeared."
Unfortunately, Mott's July 8 show included exactly the sort of behavior Herrod was worried about. As she told Glover the following day, "Some members of the audience in Second Tier boxes became so enthusiastic and jumped and stamped around so much that the ceilings in two boxes in the Grand Tier below fell in. It is for reasons like this that we here do not like concerts at which the audience stamps and dances."
Refused permission to play their second show and billed for damages, Mott the Hoople faced further setbacks in a year of struggle that saw two albums (Wildfire and Brain Capers) underperform, and ended with plans to split up. But as far as the Royal Albert Hall was concerned, Mott were far from the only offenders; as another page on the venue's site points out, only one of the more than 20 rock shows held there during 1971 "passed without disorder."
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