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Peter Overend Watts (1947 - 2017)

Getty Images / Redferns / Photo by Brian Cooke

Peter Overend Watts (1947 - 2017)

Peter Overend Watts, the bassist for the rock band Mott the Hoople, died Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017, according to multiple news sources. He was 69. The musician had throat cancer.

Fellow band member Ian Hunter, the band’s singer, tweeted, “Oh dear. My extremely eccentric, lovely mate – Peter Overend Watts – has left the building. Devastated.”

Watts started playing the guitar at age 13. A few years later, he switched to bass and started playing with some bands. One of those groups eventually would become Mott the Hoople once they added Hunter. The band’s manager convinced Watts to start using his middle name Overend, as he thought it sounded more rock 'n' roll.

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The band is known best for their hit song “All the Young Dudes,” which was written by David Bowie. Bowie was a fan of the band and heard they might be breaking up since their records were not selling. He convinced them to stay together and offered them his song “Suffragette City,” which was not yet released. The band turned it down, however, and Bowie wrote “All the Young Dudes" for them instead.

Mott the Hoople was one of the glam-rock pioneers of the early 1970s. Mott the Hoople’s website gave Watts credit for the group’s glam image. “To stand out in a band as visual as Mott the Hoople takes some doing, but it would have been hard not to notice Overend Watts in his thigh-high platform boots, silver hair with a custom-made bass guitar in the shape of a swallow.”

After the band split up in 1974, Watts continued with a successor group called Mott. Later, he became a producer who worked with Hanoi Rocks.

Mott the Hoople reunited for a series of successful gigs in 2009 and again in 2013.

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