1946 - 1993
Mick Ronson was born on the 26th of May, 1946, in Hull in the north of England. As a child, he quite an aptitude for music, playing the recorder and violin at school, and the harmonium in his local church. He always claimed that he wanted to be a music teacher, but he really wanted to be a guitar god, like his idol, Jeff Beck.
During the 60s, Mick joined a Yardbirds-style R&B group called The Rats; they recorded a couple of 45s, but disbanded, following a disastrous tour of France. Mick left the music business for a while afterwards, to become a municipal gardener in his hometown. But the Rats' connection would prove vital to Mick's future career; in 1970, David Bowie was trying to create a follow-up to his huge hit, Space Oddity. When he heard about Mick from ex-Rat John Cambridge, Bowie immediately tracked him down to play on a BBC recording session he had planned.
Together with Bowie and fellow ex-Rat Mick Woodmansey, Mick played on Bowie's album The Man Who Sold The World, as well as doing most of the arrangements. Although afterwards Mick went back to Hull, Bowie was soon to call him back; Mick rejoined Bowie and Woodmansey, along with another ex-Rat, Trevor Bolder, to record Bowie's critically-acclaimed Hunky Dory. The same group, a year later in 1972, would go on to become the flamboyant Spiders From Mars, backing group to Bowie's gender-bending Ziggy Stardust character; Mick played on and was credited with the arrangements for Bowie's next two albums (Pin-Ups and Aladdin Sane, both released in 1973), as well as taking co-producer's chair (not to mention playing on and arranging!) for Lou Reed's Transformer and Mott The Hoople's All The Young Dudes.
After Bowie broke up the Spiders From Mars, Mick went on to solo work (Slaughter On 10th Avenue (1974) and Play Don't Worry (1975), as well as helping Mott The Hoople's Ian Hunter with his solo work, and then forming the Hunter/Ronson Band with him. In 1975, Mick joined Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue, and later produced fellow Rolling Thunder-er Roger McGuinn's Cardiff Rose album. Mick also produced work by David Johansen, Glen Matlock's post-Pistols band The Rich Kids, and John Mellencamp Cougar.
In 1989, Mick reunited with Hunter to record Y.U.I. Orta; but the following year, he was diagnosed with cancer. This didn't slow him down a bit, though; in 1992, he produced Morrissey's excellent, glam-tinged Your Arsenal, and the following year he was reunited with Bowie and Hunter for the Freddie Mercury tribute concert. Mick then went on to appear on Bowie's Black Tie, White Noise album. He had just about finished Heaven and Hull, with help from Mellencamp, Bowie, Hunter, Chrissie Hynde and Joe Elliot, when he finally succumbed to cancer, on the 30th April 1993.