Mott the Hoople frontman Ian Hunter was a true rock ’n’ roll original in that he often donned a gadfly’s hat while composing topical narratives in his songs. Throw in a hankering for organs, saxophones, Bob Dylan, and platform-booted élan, and 1974’s The Hoople captures one of the world’s greatest rock ’n’ roll bands in full power. Brilliant moments abound: there’s a rocking sermon about a U.K. alliance bent on limiting noise at rock shows (“The Golden Age of Rock ’n’ Roll”), a hypnotic requiem to a failed street gang (“Crash Street Kids”), and a semi-autobiographical mini-opus of a rock star going mental fending off corporate and commercial demands (“Marionette”). On “Roll Away the Stone,” a tender-but-loud epistle to quixotic risk, you can actually hear Hunter grin as the bridge kicks into the chorus; the Spector-styled production and Hunter’s piano struts create a moment where human exuberance and musical dynamics intersect in ways rarely matched in rock music. Mott couldn’t top The Hoople, so Hunter nabbed guitarist Mick Ronson and went solo in ’75.