This Day In Music 26.05.2016
Michael Ronson was born on May 26, 1946 in Hull, England. Mick was given an accordion by a neighbour when he was three, later took piano lessons and played the recorder at school and harmonium in the family church. He wanted to learn the cello, and attended violin lessons in preparation but gave up after three years. Hull was a tough city, and carrying a violin case made Mick a target of fun. He didn’t play an instrument for another three years but his musical grounding had taken root.
Ronson first came on to the scene in late ‘66, when garage-rock outfit The Rats invited him into their revolving-door set up. The band did record a number of unreleased demos and rarities from 1967 to their break-up in ’69.
The Bowie connection took up a good deal of Mick’s prime-time in the early 70s as he and the Spiders form Mars weaved their magic on the main man’s classic-rock sets including `The Man Who Sold The World’, `Hunky Dory’, `The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust’ and `Aladdin Sane’; his last contributions were on covers set `Pin Ups’ in 1973.
His work with Bowie extended beyond the boundaries of the band as both took a hand in producing Lou Reed’s remarkable comeback classic `Transformer’ (1972), while his association with Mott the Hopple man Ian Hunter began as arranger of their massive breakthrough hit of the Bowie-penned `All The Young Dudes’.
When Bowie dissolved the Spiders in ‘73, Ronson was left with no choice but to try his hand at a solo career. In 1974 Mick issued his debut album 'Slaughter on 10th Avenue'.
A short stint as a member of Mott the Hopple (`Saturday Gigs’ was his only spot), was cast aside as Ronson completed his second studio set, 'Play don't Worry' (1975).
Mick’s subsequent work included stints with Bob Dylan, Roger McGuinn, David Cassidy, Roger Daltrey, John ougar Mellencam, Rich Kids, David Johansen, The Payolas and Los Illegales.
In 1992 Mick produced MORRISSEY’s `Your Arsenal’ album. It was rumoured at the time that Mick was suffering from liver cancer, and this proved true as he was to die on the 29th of April 1993. Fast forward a year and the release of his long-awaited third and final album, From Heaven to Hull (1994)
Watch The Queen, Mick Ronson and David Bowie – Heroes (1992, Wembley, Tribute to Freddy Mercury)
Ian Hunter: “I asked Mick what it would cost to do me string arrangement on Sea Diver and he told me 20 quid. He wrote it on a cigarette packet. I don’t think he ever got paid”.