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Mick Won Race for Stardom

18 April 1974

MICK RONSON made it! He won the Hull pop guitarists' stampede to stardom. After five years in London, the blonde-haired lad from Greatfield Estate has reached the hierarchy of Britain's pop fraternity.

And once it was rumoured the old masters of rock themselves, The Rolling Stones, wanted him to join them.

He lives in a luxury flat near Hyde Park and has the kind of financially secure future that seemed no more than an extravagant fantasy when he worked as a gardener for Hull's Parks Department.

The chance to back David Bowie was the break he needed and they completed five hugely successful albums together before parting early last year.

Mick could have been blotting out when a galaxy of light exploded upon the leotard-clad, camped-up image of Bowie.

Instead, he peroxided his hair and stood alongside him at the front. Mick's individual guitar style, arrangements and newly discovered talent for record production helped make Bowie the pop innovator he became.

Now, while Bowie immerses himself in a Stateside romance with soul music Mick has become 'Ronno'--the new product of Tony DeFries's 'MainMan' instant super-stardom machine.

Later this year, he expects to tour and record in America for six months with former Mott the Hoople leader, Ian Hunter.


In Hull, he is remembered as the rather shy teenager who through the 1960s played near-immaculate lead guitar 'licks,' while standing in the shadows of The King Bees, The Crestas and The Rats.

He remembers with fondness the time he spent wielding his guitar round the beat clubs of Yorkshire.

'Sometimes we travelled 60 miles to play and never made any money,' said Mick. 'When we did make anything, we'd treat ourselves to a slap-up feed. It wasn't the money we were after because we had jobs during the day at that time anyway. It was getting the opportunity to play.'

'When I went to London the first time, I got L100 into debt--and that was without the equipment payments. I owed rent, paid it off and then borrowed some more money and had to cash an insurance policy. I was working the day and earning L9 a week and had equipment and my room to pay for from it. After forking out for that, I was left with nothing and used to eat dry bread.'

At one point he lost over two stones in weight and became a nimble 7st 4lb. Finally, he returned to Hull.

So when he was offered the chance of going back to the capital to join Bowie's group in early 1970 he thought more than once about it.


'I considered it for two weeks,' he said. 'I had got out of a few debts and had a steady job. I wasn't making any money but I wasn't in debt, either.

'I thought 'should I go? Am I going to have this happen to me all over again?' After two weeks I reached the decision I HAD to go because if something good happened with David I would kick myself for the rest of my life.

'I think the reason I made it possibly better than anyone else from Hull is that I took a lot of chances when I was younger.

'I don't see anybody getting on if they don't take gambles. They have got to put up with a bit of trouble and a bit of debt but if they keep struggling then they will do something for themselves.

'I was very determined and also quite lucky. The two go hand in hand.'

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