Ian Hunter – Once Bitten, Twice Shy

I will not be around today to comment but I will catch up on any comments either tonight or tomorrow. Thank you.

This was Hunter’s first single after leaving Mott The Hoople. The extended version appears on the self-titled “Ian Hunter” album, which was released by CBS in 1975. Hunter and Mick Ronson produced it. This marked the start of a long collaborative relationship between the two musicians.

Ian wrote the song and it’s a bit more loose and more rock and roll than the cover version in the late eighties which is more metal. A number of artist have covered this song, including Shaun Cassidy and the heavy metal band Great White, who were nominated for a Grammy for it. It was Great White’s biggest hit, peaking at #5 in the US.

The song peaked at #14 in the UK in 1975. I heard Hunter’s version first in the early eighties from a friend of mine…I have wondered why this wasn’t a hit in America in 1975.

From Songfacts

The single was released April 4, entered the UK charts on May 3, and stayed there for ten weeks peaking at number 14; the B-side was “3,000 Miles From Here.”

“Once Bitten Twice Shy” is an expression meaning that if you’ve been hurt, you are less likely to put yourself in that position again. In this song, Hunter sings to a girl who seems to take up with lots of musicians. He knows from past experience that he can’t count on her.

Once Bitten, Twice Shy

Well the times are gettin’ hard for you little girl
I’m a hummin’ and a strummin’ all over God’s world
You can’t remember when you had your last meal
And you don’t know just how a woman feels

You didn’t know what rock and roll was
Until you met my drummer on the Grey tour bus
I got there in the nick of time
Before he got his hands across your state line, yeah

Now it’s the middle of the night on the open road
The heater don’t work and it’s oh so cold
You’re lookin’ tired, you’re lookin’ kinda beat
The rhythm of the street sure knocks you off your feet

You didn’t know how rock and roll looked
Until you caught your sister with the guys from the group
Halfway home in the parking lot
By the look in her eye she was givin’ what she got

I said my, my, my, I’m once bitten twice, shy babe
My, my, my, I’m once bitten twice shy baby
My, my, my, I’m once bitten twice shy baby

Oh, woman you’re a mess, gonna die in your sleep
There’s blood on my amp and my Les Paul’s beat
Can’t keep you home, you’re messin’ around
My best friend told me you’re the best lick in town

You didn’t know that rock and roll burned
So you bought a candle and you lived and you learned
You got the rhythm, you got the speed
Mama’s little baby likes it short and sweet

I said my, my, my, I’m once bitten twice, shy babe
My, my, my, I’m once bitten twice shy baby
My, my, my, I’m once bitten twice shy baby

Alright! I didn’t know you had a rock and roll record
Until I saw your picture on another guy’s jacket
You told me I was the only one
But look at you now, it’s as dark as it’s gone

I said my, my, my, I’m once bitten twice, shy babe
My, my, my, I’m once bitten twice shy baby
My, my, my, I’m once bitten twice shy baby
I said my, my, my, I’m once bitten twice, shy babe
My, my, my, I’m once bitten twice shy baby

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

15 thoughts on “Ian Hunter – Once Bitten, Twice Shy”

  1. In the song Last Christmas which was written in 1984 it has lyrics of, “Once bitten and twice shy, I keep my distance, But you still catch my eye”. The one line in this song that gets over looked is that the girl from this song has her own record and I wish somebody could explain how that happened.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sort of a cross between T-Rex and The Small Faces!!
    I can’t remember if I’ve ever mentioned them, but have you come across British Lions? That was a spin off from Mott The Hoople. My fave song of theirs is Big Drift Away.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love the Small Faces…Steve Marriott remains one of my favorite singers.
      I like Ian a lot….No I haven’t heard of the British Lions…I will look them up. Thanks as always Val…

      Liked by 1 person

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