G2E1 – Origins of Glam Rock – The Beginning

Welcome pop pickers to an ambitious series of articles covering 6 genres, each with 6 episodes. To give a bit of variation, the next episode of each genre will be published 6 weeks after the previous episode.

This is based on stuff like what I like, there will be various bands and artists to try and cheer you up and kick-start your weekend.  Hopefully for many of you, to bring back some fond memories and get your foot tapping.

This week is the origins of Glam Rock.  Thank you to Wiki and Top of the Pops.

Courtesy of Wiki:

Glam rock is a style of rock music that developed in the United Kingdom in the early 1970s and was performed by musicians who wore outrageous costumes, makeup, and hairstyles, particularly platform shoes and glitter. Glam artists drew on diverse sources across music and throwaway pop culture, ranging from bubble-gum pop and 1950s rock and roll to cabaret, science fiction, and complex art rock. The flamboyant clothing and visual styles of performers were often camp or androgynous, and have been described as playing with other gender roles.

The UK charts were inundated with glam rock acts from 1971 to 1975. The March 1971 appearance of T. Rex frontman Marc Bolan on the BBC’s music show Top of the Pops, wearing glitter and satins, is often cited as the beginning of the movement.

Other British glam rock artists included David BowieMott the HoopleSweetSladeMudRoxy Music and Gary Glitter. Those not central to the genre, artists such as Elton JohnRod Stewart and Freddie Mercury of Queen, also adopted glam styles. In the United States, the scene was much less prevalent, with Alice Cooper and Lou Reed the only American artists to score a hit in the UK. Other American glam artists include New York DollsSparksSuzi QuatroIggy Pop and Jobriath. It declined after the mid-1970s, but influenced other musical genres including punk rock, glam metal, New Romantic, death rock and gothic rock.

The Tunes:

The featured song is T-Rex and Ride a White Swan.  Came out in 70/71.  I would have about 15, at Secondary school, and this song was awesome, still is.

To continue with a couple more T-Rex here are:

  1. Rex – Bang A Gong (get It On) Top of the pops 1971. Yes, It is Reg is there on the piano. Never sure why he was there though.
  2. Rex – Hot Love (Top of the Pops, 1971). *She’s faster than most and she lives on the coast*. They just do not write lyrics like that anymore!

Then, Alvin Stardust (NHRN) came along, known professionally as Shane Fenton (NHRN), which was Bernard Jewry.

Alvin Stardust – My Coo Ca Choo TOTP 15th November 1973

Alvin Stardust – Jealous Mind (Official Music Video)

In 1972 along came this, so very different, and as fresh today as then:

Roxy Music – Virginia Plain – Top Of The Pops – 24th August 1972

Talking of different, how special was this:

David Bowie – Ziggy Stardust – live 1972, he went on to be one of the best performers ever.  Roots in Glam Rock though.

We also had:

Sweet – Blockbuster – Top Of The Pops 25.01.1973.  Marvellous stuff, even if Brian Connelly wanted to do more heavy metal stuff.

Mud – Dyna-Mite (Dynamite), ToTPop.  They were the first big name band I saw live, at the Nottingham Palais.  I am pretty sure they were booked well before one of their first hit.

I leave you with a classic Slade song:

Slade – Cum On Feel The Noize • ToTP 1973.  Awesome.

Singalong, enjoy and be happy!

Links to Origins Series:

Genre 1 Episode 1 – Motown – The Beginning Genre 1 Episode 2 – Motown

Featured image: “Marc Bolan” by Effervescing Elephant is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 .

© Phil the ex test manager 2023