Win It All

Photo by Jim Summaria

I first heard Ian Hunter as the voice of Mott the Hoople, singing All The Young Dudes.

“Speed jive
Don’t want to stay alive
When you’re twenty-five.”

In December of 1974, Ian Hunter left Mott the Hoople for a solo career. One of his first hits was a song called Irene Wilde, one of rock’s most beautiful compositions.

“For those looks they seemed to say
You ain’t nuthin’, go away
You’re just a face in the crowd
So I went home and I vowed
I’m gonna be somebody, someday”

In the late 70s and early 80s he had a rash of great albums including You’re Never Alone with a Schizophrenic (1979) and Short Back ‘n’ Sides (1981). They were part of my soundtrack through the 80s when I was living on Bleecker Street and clubbing at places like The Ritz.

I also saw him open for The Kinks on their Low Budget tour. To this day, that was the best opening act I ever saw (and I saw The Clash open for The Who).
But here’s the thing: In the 21st Century he’s put out four of the best song collections of his life. Or anyone else’s, Beginning with Rant (2001), through Shrunken Heads (2007), Man Overboard (2009), and When I’m President (2012). The older I get, the easier it is to think my best days are behind me so the example of a 75 year old man putting out some of his best work inspires the living shit out of me. This song, Win It All, is from Man Overboard.

In the morning when you get up
Free your mind of blame
It’s destructive, it can hurt you
And you gotta start again
When all hope is gone and your back’s to the wall
You can win this, you can win this, you can win it all
When you feel the pressure mounting
Think of things that make you smile
Sometimes questions have no answers
Sometimes answers take a while
Into each and every life a little rain is gonna fall
But you can win it, you can win it, you can win it all
We can’t see the future
We can’t see the end
But you can beat this
You’ll defeat this
You can win this and then…
You’ll be older, you’ll be wiser
You’ll be easier in your mind
When the morning comes to get you
You can leave the past behind
Some things just happen, it ain’t nobody’s fault
You can can win this, you can with this, you can win it all

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