Once Bitten Twice Shy

Album: Ian Hunter (1975)
Charted: 14

Songfacts®:

  • 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 on March 28, 1975. 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."
  • A number of artist have covered this song, including the heavy metal band Great White, who were nominated for a Grammy for it; Hunter was not entirely pleased. It was Great White's biggest hit, peaking at #5 in the US. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander - London, England, for above 2
  • "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.

Comments: 19

  • Lecia Carr from Houston TxGreat Song!!
  • Doug from Phoenix, AzMick Ronson's solo erupts with his wah-wah driven Les Paul spewing fire in Rock & Roll glory. Seriously, Hunter / Ronson was THE post glam super-group. Fantastic song in every way. RIP Mick
  • Peter from EnglandIt's a shame Great White wimped out and changed the lyric from "My best friend told me you're the best TRICK in town" to the the senseless "best LICK in town".
  • Rhonda from KentuckyI have always loved Great White's version. Honestly I didn't know this was a cover. So I decided to listen to Ian's original and I loved it.
  • Tony from Ft.lauderdaleHaving been a huge Mott the Hoople and also Mick Ronson fan I prefer the original version, but the Great White version introduced the song to a wider audience, and for that I'm greatful. In fact I just saw Great White open last night for Vince Neil, and they did this song as their encore. I sing along with both versions whenever I hear it.
  • Joe from UsaI've heard garage bands do better covers of Once Bitten, Twice Shy...Great White's cover is every bit as lame as Quiet Riot's cover of Cum On Feel The Noize.

    But who expects the "Duh!" generation to know better?
  • Bill from Bowling Green, OhTo all of you that have said the Gr.White version is better I say you don't know good music. No one, and I mean no one can do this tune better than the Master himself, Ian Hunter!
  • Peter from London, United KingdomThe Hunter version is an original piece of work. The Great White version is a copy, with nothing new brought to the song. You pays your money and you takes your choice, but I prefer the real thing. As for voices, nobody, but nobody, sings like Ian Hunter, like him or not.
  • Anita from Gotham City, United KingdomI just heard Once Bitten Twice Shy on the radio - I knew it straight away from the intro, I loved this when it came out and am really pleased that I remembered (along with most of the words) it was Ian Hunter without Mott, although I hadn't realised Mick Ronson was on it too - also a hero since I saw David Bowie being Ziggy at Hammersmith Odeon in 1973. I've never heard another version of this song. It's very English, but I suppose I'll give the american version a listen.
  • Ed from Canton, OhIan Hunter's voice is an acquired taste. I personally like the very British sound. I am surprised all the posts here are from the States, that is why there is favoritism towards Great White.
  • Markshark from Denver, CoIan Hunter possesses a unique flair for nuance, and combined with his eccentric talent it provides a depth of interpretive performance which is largely inaccessible to, and completely unnoticeable by, new-age rock punks - who are bereft of any redeeming or substantial musical taste whatsoever. Great White's overbearing and stiff 2-dimensional reading of this hit succeeds in robbing Ian's obscure jewel and hawking it to a naive 80's audience who ignorantly lap-up moronic hair band pap with the self-deluded belief they are consuming genuine wholesome music. Although I'm sure it's usually nice to get royalties (I hope Hunter gottem) and exposure/credit for penning a decent song, Great White's pretend/plastic version is no more delicious, and barely more memorable, than a corporate grocery store birthday cake - which accounts for the WINCING REFLEX exhibited here by older fans.

    The Hunter/Ronson pairing is one of Rock's Most Overlooked/Underrated Duos Of All Time, which demonstrates all the ability, subtlety, and accomplishment that Great White and its fans were never intellectual enough to ever dream - let alone have any awareness - of. Yeah, Great White's throwaway rendition fills the bill IF you want to switch your brain off and rock out to 110 decibels of wild youthful abandon - but only True Music connoisseurs would have the ability to appreciate the superior depth and musicianship offered by the Ian Hunter/Mick Ronson original. Take a listen of Ian Hunter's LIVE, Welcome To The Club -- there are more valid musical recordings here than in the entire output of the Hair-Sex Band Craze (which grew out of the Glam scene which Ian Hunter/Mott the Hoople helped create) combined! Sorry to kick on you hearty Great White fans, but their version CANNOT intoxicatedly hold a Bic lighter of a candle to Ian Hunter's -- in fact, what's more: only the integral strength of Hunter's original composition could allow it to survive intact enough to deliver a hit, despite the ghastly sophomoric reading that Great White subjected it to!!! Without Ian Hunter - and a stupid fire-bug road manager - Great White would be an unknown fleck on the landscape of Rock; and even WITH the aforementioned, Great White amounts to merely an overexposed FLASH IN THE PAN (pun intended).
  • Jim from Long Beach, CaI love Ian's better that Great White's version. Ian is a great songwriter. I hope he plays this in his Mott reunion shows. Even thou he did this in his solo years..
  • Paul from Rothesay, Nb, CanadaI'm with the Ian Hunter fans on this one. When David Foster told Neil Young he was a bit off key, Neil said "That's my style". Having said that, Ian's voice just has a lot of character. A shame that Great White turned this into a generic hair band romp.
  • Eugene from Minneapolis, MnAre you kidding me? Ian's version is sickening in an extremely negative adjective. Ian sounds very much off key on this performance. Yeah, he wrote, but it doesn't mean that he gets to sing it. How demeaning! Great White took this song to new heights. I had no idea this was a cover until now. I did not even finish listening to the original for it was beyond horrid. Now that's LAME, hugely.
  • Dennis from Orlando, FlI have been listening to this song since the ORIGINAL release by Ian Hunter in 1975. There have been numerous covers, and none of them measure up! Great White's version? It absolutely SUCKS! Played side by side, the Hunter/Ronson combo cannot be matched! Great White's attempt is at best LAME!
  • Velvetnose from Memphis, TnIan Hunter's version of the song is far superior to Great White's (weak, but still thankful) version. Fact is the guitar is much more prominent than the drums and Mick Ronson absolutely was a phenom on this number.
  • Nora from Orlando, FlI really love this songboth by Ian HUnter &by Great White thier cover "Rocks"
  • Max from Laconia, NhI do agree. The Great White one is soooo much better... the drum solo is pretty cool
  • Joshua from La Crosse, WiGreat White's version is the far superior one, IMHO.
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