Top 10 Ian Hunter Songs

Ian Hunter Songs

Photo: By mickeydb [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Our Top 10 Ian Hunter songs list takes a look at one of our favorite all-time classic rock artists. If we were to define the term “Rock Star,” a picture of Ian Hunter and his magnificent catalog of music would easily paint an accurate picture of the meaning of those words. Ian Hunter’s music catalog is so enormous we had to narrow down this article only to include music released on his solo albums. This article will not include any of the great songs Ian Hunter composed when he was in Mott The Hoople.

While many classic rock fans associate Ian Hunter’s legacy with Mott The Hoople, Mr. Hunter has released quadruple material as a solo artist instead of his Mott The Hoople output. We even hate using past tense terms when defining Ian Hunter songs because, in 2018, the man is still going strong and releasing new material. It’s pretty impressive for a man born in 1939.

In the grand scheme of all things rock and roll. Ian Hunter is currently the elder statesman of rock. Ian Hunter began playing in rock and roll bands in the 1950s. Initially from Oswestry, Shropshire, England, Ian Hunter began learning his trade in England’s dance halls and pubs. One of Ian Hunter’s first bands he worked with was a band called The Apex Group. In 1966, Ina Hunter joined a group called The Scenery. Hunter’s association with The Scenery was a pivotal point in his career development because it was in The Scenery where he met Mick Ronson. Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson would become good friends and collaborators for the rest of their careers.

In 1969, Ian Hunter joined a new band called Mott The Hoople. Ian was the last member to join the group. Ian Hunter became the band’s primary songwriter and lead singer for a few years. It was during the time Ian Hunter was with the band that the group released their biggest hit, “All The Young Dudes,” written by David Bowie. Ian Hunter left Mott The Hoople in 1974.

Ina Hunter released his first solo album in 1975 entitled  Ian Hunter. Joining Ian Hunter on the album was his friend Mick Ronson on guitar. The album featured the song “Once Bitten Twice Shy,” which would stand as one of the most successful songs Ian Hunter ever released as a solo artist. Ian Hunter followed up his debut album with the record All American Alien Boy one year later. One of the most exciting aspects of the album was the inclusion of legendary jazz bassist Jaco Pastorius on the record.

Ian Hunter kept releasing albums steadily throughout the rest of the 1970s. Ian Hunter released Overnight Angels in 1977, You’re Never Alone with a Schizophrenic in 1979, Welcome to the Club in 1980, Short Back ‘n’ Sides in 1981 and rounding out the 1980s was the album All of the Good Ones Are Taken in 1983.

After a seven-year absence from the recording studio, Ian Hunter returned with his friend Mick Ronson in 1990 with the album YUI Orta. Sadly, a year later, Mick Ronson died from liver cancer in 1995. Ian Hunter released the album Dirty Laundry, which was recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London. In 1996, Ian Hunter continued his 1990s output with the album The Artful Dodger. 

In 2001, twenty-six years after the release of his first album, Ian Hunter released the politically charged album Rant. Six years later, Ian Hunter released the studio album Shrunken Heads with the fire still burning strongTwo years later, in 2009, Ian Hunter released his 13th solo album, Man Overboard.

In the 2010s, Ian Hunter continued to release incredible rock and roll albums. In 2012, Ian Hunter released the album When I’m President. His studio album, Fingers Crossed, was released in 2016. His most recent album Defiance Part 1 was released in 2023.

So many artists who succeeded in the 1970s have just sat around living off their classic rock years. Not Ian Hunter, the man has defined what the term musician and songwriter means. Like so many old blues musicians, Ian Hunter will continue to sing, play, and write songs forever because that’s what he does. That is rock and roll! That is Ian Hunter!

# 10 – Noises

We open our top 10 Ian Hunter songs list with a track from his Short Back n’ Sides album. The record was released in 1981 and served as the follow-up studio album to his hugely successful record, You’re Never Alone with a Schizophrenic. The song “Noises” was written by Ian Hunter and Tommy Morrongiello. It was the only song on the album not credited just to Ian Hunter. Tommy Morrongiello is an incredible guitarist, musician, and producer from New Jersey who was a member of the Ian Hunter band during the early 1980s. “Noises” is one of the most original-sounding songs in Ian Hunter’s catalog and has always been a fascinating listen that reveals more with each play.

# 9 – All The Good Ones Are Taken

Ian Hunter’s great grooving track “All The Good Ones Are Taken” was released in 1983 on the album of the same name. In the video, Ian Hunter removes his trademark dark glasses which completely blew away Ian Hunter fans. As trivial as that may seem to many, it was a big deal because Ian Hunter was never photographed without his dark shades. The track also featured the legendary Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons.

# 8 – All American Alien Boy

Ina Hunter’s title track to his sophomore album was a brilliant play on Rick Derringer’s All American Boy album title. However, too much emphasis was probably put on the play instead of the actual title, All American Alien Boy. In essence, it was the perfect title of rock and roll rebellion. The song’s superb third and fourth lines said it all: “Don’t want to vote for the left-wing – don’t want to vote for the right I gotta have both-to make me fly.”

# 7 – Ships

One of the biggest names in the music business that sold millions of records in the 1970s was not a rock star. It was an adult-oriented pop singer who scored hit after hit from 1973 to the early eighties while selling out arenas worldwide. His name was Barry Manilow. Whether or not you cared for Manilow is not a topic of this conversation. However, Barry Manilow covered Ian Hunter’s song “Ships” and had a massive hit. What is even more interesting is how different both song arrangements sounded. Nonetheless, a great song is a great song, and “Ships” was certainly that.

# 6 – Still Love Rock and Roll

In the 2000s, almost fifty years after Ian Hunter began performing music in England in the 1950s, the man still released outstanding rock and roll records. The only other artist who has been releasing great music for such a long time is Paul McCartney. That’s pretty good company. The Rant album was a politically charged record that defined Ian Hunter’s spirit in many ways. There were so many songs from this excellent record to include on our Top 10 Ian Hunter songs list. We went with the pure rock and roll track “Still Love Rock and Roll.”

# 5 – Central Park ‘n’ West

There is a particular groove that defines some of Ian Hunter’s best work that resonates throughout his career. It’s hard to justify the groove in words. That groove is found on the sparkling song “Central Park n’ West.” The song was the opening track to Ian Hunter’s 1981 album Short Back ‘n’ Sides. Mick Jones of The Clash produced the album. The record included an all-star cast of guest appearances, including Todd Rundgren, Roger Powell, and Ellen Foley.

# 4 – You Nearly Did Me In

The epic Ian Hunter song “You Nearly Did Me In” was released on the All American Alien Boy album. The record featured an incredible cast of musicians. Some of the jazz world’s greatest artists played on the album, including Jaco Pastorius on bass, David Sanborn on sax, Lewis Soloff on trumpet, Don Alias on percussion, and the phenomenal drummer Aynsley Dunbar.

On the track “You Nearly Did Me In,” Ian Hunter utilized one of the greatest rock and roll vocalists of all time to sing backup vocals. With Freddie Mercury of Queen on the track, the song “You Nearly Did Me In” became one of the most beautiful Ian Hunter songs ever recorded. Also performing backing vocals on the song were Roger Taylor and Brian May of Queen. This one was really special.

# 3 – Just Another Night

“Just Another Night” was the opening track to our favorite Ian Hunter album, You’re Never Alone with a SchizophrenicThe album was released in 1979. Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson wrote the song. Ian Hunter utilized the rhythm section of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band on the album. Roy Bittan performed the album’s piano tracks, Garry Tallent played bass, and Max Weinberg manned the drumming chair. Listen to Ellen Foley sing killer backing vocals on this track.

# 2 – Once Bitten, Twice Shy”

In 1975, Ian Hunter released his first solo album entitled Ian Hunter. The album featured his top 20 hit “Once Bitten, Twice Shy.” The song reached number 14 on the U.K. Pop Charts in 1975. However, 14 years later, the song was recorded by the band Great White and reached number 5 on the U.S. Billboard music charts. Great White did a great job with the song. Their arrangement fit in perfectly with the big hair sound of the 80s. Nonetheless, we still prefer Ian Hunter’s more soulful original version.

# 1 – Cleveland Rocks

Returning to Ian Hunter’s best album, You’re Never Alone with a Schizophrenic, we have chosen the classic track “Cleveland Rocks” as our number one pick. Writing a hit single is challenging for anyone in the music business. It is even more challenging to write an anthem. Not many musicians have written songs that have reached beyond simple pop culture. Queen did it with “We Will Rock You.” Metallica did it with “Enter Sandman,” Ian Hunter did it with “Cleveland Rocks.”


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