Mott The Hoople bassist and founding member Pete Overend Watts has died aged 69.
Watts, who played on songs including ‘Roll Away The Stone’ and ‘All The Young Dudes’, written and produced by David Bowie, passed away yesterday (January 22) after battling cancer.
His death comes almost exactly a year after drummer Dale Griffin.
Born in Yardley, Birmingham, Watts attended Ross Grammar School where he met Griffin. They played in local bands including The Anchors, Wild Dogs Hellhounds and The Silence. The two friends went on to form The Doc Thomas Group with Mick Ralphs and Stan Tippins from The Buddies.
The line-up changed in 1968, when keyboard player Verden Allen joined, and they changed their name to The Shakedown Sound.
In 1969 they moved to London and came to the attention of producer Guy Stevens who auditioned Ian Hunter and appointed him as their lead singer instead of Tippins, and Mott The Hoople was formed.
After the group split in 1974, Watts went on to form the bands Mott and British Lions.
Allen posted on Facebook that Watts was a “warm, funny, intelligent, talented and hugely charismatic person” who “always had an entertaining story to tell”.
He added: “There are no words to explain how much he will be missed, and by so many that he was an inspiration to.”
Feeling heartbroken at the news of our beloved Overend leaving us today. Pete was a warm, funny, intelligent, talented…
Meanwhile, Hunter recently said that the band once refused to support David Bowie during his Ziggy Stardust era.
He added: “He wanted us to open for him. He got Roxy Music to do it but you didn’t do that. David is strict, 45 per cent of the lights, 45 per cent of the sound. You would pass like a mild irritation, so we wouldn’t do it. He was a mover. I thought the band was okay, but the visual was so strong. We’d just come out of flower power and the blues and this was a huge injection. Whereas the rest of us all thought we were flash rockers, this was glam. Ronson looked spectacular, they looked amazing. It really was a night out. He was just a normal bloke [but] he just got so big after a while that everyone thought he’d become extra-terrestrial!”