Mott the Hoople memorabilia linked to Bowie goes under hammer

Memorabilia and guitars collected by the man whose phone call to David Bowie in 1972 led to one of the greatest glam rock hits are to go under the hammer.

Guitars, posters and stage costumes owned by the late Peter “Overend” Watts, bass player with iconic band Mott the Hoople for over 15 years, will be auctioned in Wiltshire next month.

Watts, who died in 2017, was the man who phoned Bowie to ask for an audition while Mott the Hoople was in the process of breaking up.

In response, Bowie, a Mott fan, urged the band to stay together and wrote the hit song All The Young Dudes for them.

The song reached number three in the UK singles chart in July 1972, reinvigorating Mott the Hoople’s career and leading to a succession of hits including Roll Away The Stone and The Golden Age Of Rock’n’Roll.

Overend Watts collection sale
Overend Watts collection sale

Watts’s collection includes a rare test pressing of the All The Young Dudes single on an acetate disc, which is expected to fetch around £500.

The band, now known as Mott, still performs and tours.

The Overend Watts collection – Peter’s stage name – includes an autographed photo of Mick Ronson, who played guitar with both Bowie and Mott the Hoople, vintage magazines, Mott the Hoople promotional material, vinyl records, diaries, Watts’s sketches of stage outfits and 70 guitars and basses.

The collection is expected to sell for in excess of £20,000.

Luke Hobbs, auctioneer at Gardiner Houlgate, said: “Overend Watts has the distinction of writing one of the coolest footnotes in rock ‘n’ roll history – the man who phoned David Bowie for help and received a mega-hit in return.

The Classic Rock Roll of Honour – London
The Classic Rock Roll of Honour – London

“When Overend needed to phone a friend, he certainly picked the right one.

“The test pressing of All The Young Dudes is particularly interesting. Generally, only a handful of these were made for each single – usually one for each band member.

“This was Overend’s personal copy so a direct link to the band’s relationship with Bowie and a glam rock classic.”

Also going under the hammer is the private guitar collection of the late Huw Lloyd-Langton, who played guitar with psychedelic rock band Hawkwind.

Lloyd-Langton’s collection of 11 guitars, stage outfits and Hawkwind memorabilia is expected to draw considerable interest from Hawkwind fans around the world.

The band, whose members included Lemmy for two years, was best known for its 1972 hit Silver Machine and its very liberal attitude towards drugs.

Lloyd-Langton died in 2012 of cancer.

The auction will take place on March 13 and 14.