All the Way from Memphis

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For the radio show, see All the Way from Memphis (radio show).
"All the Way from Memphis"
Single by Mott the Hoople
from the album Mott
B-side "Ballad of Mott the Hoople (26th March 1972, Zürich)"
Format 7" single
Recorded 1973
Genre Glam rock
Length 3:24
Writer(s) Ian Hunter
Producer(s) Mott the Hoople
Mott the Hoople singles chronology
"Honaloochie Boogie"
"All the Way from Memphis"
"Roll Away the Stone"

"All the Way from Memphis" is a single released by Mott the Hoople. The song tells a story about a rock and roller whose guitar is shipped to "Oriole" (Baltimore) instead of Memphis. The musician gets half-way there before he realizes his instrument is missing and takes a month to track it down. When he gets the guitar back, he is scolded by a stranger for being neglectful and self-centered. In the original version of the song, the stranger is referred to as a "spade", in later versions the word "dude" is substituted.

The song reflects a weariness with the rock and roll life-style, including the strain of constant touring and the low public opinion of rock 'n' roll singers. This theme appears in the chorus, which is repeated with minor variations: "you look like a star, but you're still on the dole," "you look like a star, but you're really out on parole."

The track peaked at No. 10 in the UK Singles Chart.[1]

It was covered by Brian May on his 1998 album Another World; Hunter guested on this cover. The event was one of the many times Queen have connected with Mott the Hoople. It was also covered by supergroup Contraband on their 1991 debut and last album. The British rock band Thunder also performed a live version appearing on multiple compilation albums. The British punk band Abdoujaparov cover the track on their 2002 album Air Odeon Disco Pub.

The song was probably based on an actual event involving guitarist Mick Ralphs. This loss of Ralph's guitar is also mentioned on "The Ballad of Mott".

The song was used in the films Breaking the Waves and Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. The song was also featured on the 16 October 2008 broadcast of the ABC series Life On Mars.

Swedish artist Magnus Uggla has stated that he was inspired by the song when he wrote his first hit single "Varning på stan" (later recorded in English as "Hit the Girls on the Run") in 1977.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 381. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

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