Today is the birthday of who is, to many, the quintessential guitar god, Mick Ronson. In look, demeanor, tone, talent, charisma, and devotion to the art, Ronson was near-perfect, and his emergence in the glam era—alongside David Bowie in the Spiders From Mars—cemented his appeal as something almost Byronic in its beauty, luster, and power. Ronson was taken too soon on April 29, 1993, working on his last album almost until the moment he succumbed to cancer. Here, his wife Suzi, offers an exclusive tribute to the man she shared with the world.
A Man From Hull
Mick Ronson was such an unusual person. He really didn't care much about fame or money. He cared about music.
He was one of those rare people who was unspoilt by fame. He appreciated his fans, and, as many of them have told me, he took the time to connect with them—maybe have a drink with them, or a cigarette outside the stage door.
He loved us, and we adored him. His loss for our family, and I mean his whole family—not just his daughter Lisa and I—has been unfathomable.
None of us will ever be the same. Life changed for us so dramatically it’s hard to imagine.
The legacy he left was enormous, and I can only imagine the music he would have created if he had lived. I feel he would have gone into composition of film music, as he loved to arrange strings, brass and piano. You only have to listen to the five Bowie records he was involved with, or Lou Reed's Transformer, to understand the gift he had.
Mick started to play music when he was a child, and he was one of those rare musicians that were born with the gift. Mick didn’t decide to become a musician—he was born that way.
When I hear people say they are going to be in a band, the ambition always includes being famous and making a sh*t load of money. I am lucky, as I have heard in my life many truly fantastic artists. It has nothing to do with fame and money. Of course, these artists are rare. I mean, do you think Van Gogh painted for money or fame? He couldn’t help but paint. He was truly gifted. The same that can be said of Mick.
I am fortunate enough to finally be able to say the Mick Ronson documentary that Marc Coker and I have labored over for the last five years or so has come to fruition. Jon Brewer—a renowned documentary filmmaker—has taken the project, and is promising to create something really special with it. It should be released early next year.
I want to do something in Hull for the 2017 City of Culture Award. I am contacting Mick's friends and meeting with a promoter on Thursday. I know that Ian Hunter, Joe Elliot, and Steve Harley are all interested.
I hope the Council will consider a permanent Memorial for Mick. He was a fantastic musician, he was but he was also a good, kind, and decent man. He came from Hull, and he was proud of where he came from. His accent was as thick the day he died, as it was when he lived there. He was—and still is—a credit to that city.
A Few Moments of Mick's Edgy Glory