Ian Hunter wrote better songs than this, and he certainly wrote more important songs. But does any single track in the Mott the Hoople catalog so effortlessly capture the sheer joy of youth, and with such effervescent silliness that, even when you're sick of hearing it, it still brings a monster smile to your face? "Roll Away the Stone" is all these things and more, a tight and delightful piece of '50s-flavored fluff which rolled all the way to number eight in Britain, Mott the Hoople's highest chart position since "All the Young Dudes."
The original single version was one of the last tracks cut with guitarist Mick Ralphs prior to his departure to form Bad Company; the group re-cut it with new guitarist Ariel Bender for inclusion on the The Hoople album, with singer Lindsey De Paul replacing original backing vocalists Thunderthighs for the spoken-word section midway through. Live, it was bassist Overend Watts who took on those duties, often to hysterically funny effect.