G2E2 -Glam Rock – The Early Days

Includes: The Glitter Band, Sweet, Bowie, Slade, Mott the Hoople

Welcome pop pickers to episode 2 of Genre 2, Glam Rock.

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

Whilst I do not believe in cancel culture, history is history. To make this clear, this is the Glitter Band, who were independent of he who must not be named as he is a convicted pedalo.  To me the Glitter Band was the first of the proper glam rockers, and thus deserve a mention.

Courtesy of Wiki:

From late 1971, already a minor star, David Bowie developed his Ziggy Stardust persona, incorporating elements of professional makeup, mime and performance into his act.  Bowie, in a 1972 interview in which he noted that other artists described as glam rock were doing different work, said “I think glam rock is a lovely way to categorize me and it’s even nicer to be one of the leaders of it”. Bolan and Bowie were soon followed in the style by acts including Roxy MusicSweetSladeMott the Hoople,  Mud and Alvin Stardust. The popularity of glam rock in the UK was such that three glam rock bands had major UK Christmas hit singles; “Merry Xmas Everybody” by Slade, “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” by Wizzard and “Lonely This Christmas” by Mud, all of which have remained hugely popular. Glam was not only a highly successful trend in UK popular music, it became dominant in other aspects of British popular culture during the 1970s.

A heavier variant of glam rock, emphasising guitar riff centric songs, driving rhythms and live performance with audience participation, were represented by bands like Slade and Mott the Hoople, with later followers such as Def LeppardCheap TrickPoisonKiss, and Quiet Riot, some of which either covered Slade compositions (such as “Cum On Feel the Noize” and “Mama Weer All Crazee Now“) or composed new songs based on Slade templates. While highly successful in the single charts in the UK (Slade for example had six number one singles), very few of these musicians were able to make a serious impact in the US; David Bowie was the major exception.,

In the UK, the term glitter rock was most often used to refer to the extreme version of glam pursued by Gary Glitter and the independent band with whom he often performed known as the Glitter Band. The Glitter Band and Gary Glitter had between them eighteen top ten singles in the UK between 1972 and 1975.  A second wave of glam rock acts, including Suzi QuatroRoy Wood‘s Wizzard and Sparks, had hits on the British single charts in 1973 and 1974. Quatro directly inspired the pioneering Los Angeles based all-girl group The Runaways. Existing acts, some not usually considered central to the genre, also adopted glam styles, including Rod StewartElton JohnQueen and, for a time, The Rolling Stones. After seeing Marc Bolan wearing Zandra Rhodes-designed outfits, Freddie Mercury enlisted Rhodes to design costumes for the next Queen tour in 1974.

The Tunes:

The featured song is The Glitter Bank with Angel Face.  A simple yet exciting, happy, singalong song.

They followed up this with:
The Glitter Band – Goodbye My Love – It’s Friday, it’s five to five, and it’s Crackerjack, January 1975.  Happy days.  I never hear The Glitter Band on the radio, I suppose they got cancelled by association.

David Bowie came up with the Ziggy persona, big favourite of mine and one of my most favourite albums is The Rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust.  Whist “Five Years” is my favourite track (here is on The Old Grey Whilst test in 1972), the glam rock track must be:

David Bowie – Starman (Top Of The Pops, 1972).  Bowie and Mick Ronson, top geezers.

Along cam the Sweet with some bubble-gum songs, but I id like these:

The Sweet – Coco

Probably best know is of course  Blockbuster – Top Of The Pops January 1973, classic glam rock, of the era.  I played it last time, but always worth a listen. Brian Connolly here wearing two black gloves.  I am sure Alvin nicked on of them.

I think Sweet are much underrated.  At the time they wanted the fame and money, like most.  They really wanted to be much more serious though, so to set the record straight here is:

Sweet – Love Is Like Oxygen – Top Of The Pops January 1978

Slade, who started as bovver boys in Doc Martin’s boots had a couple of hits, then took Glam Rock to a new level.

Slade – Get Down And Get With It (Top of the Pops 1971).  Proper rock ‘n’ roll.

Slade “Mama Weer All Crazee Now” Top Of The Pops – probably 1972.

Slade – Cum On Feel The Noize – Top Of The Pops – December 1973

My word, I do like Mott the Hoople, still do:
Mott the Hoople – All The Young Dudes.  Bowie of course wrote this and gave it to this band.

Mott The Hoople – Roll Away The Stone  (Live TOTP 1973) – great song.

Mott the Hoople – The Golden Age Of Rock And Roll (1974 UK TV), cracking good rock ‘n’ roll.

Singalong, enjoy and be happy!

Links to Origins Series:


Genre 1 Episode 1 – Motown – The Beginning

Genre 1 Episode 2 – Motown

Genre 1 Episode 3 – Motown

Genre 1 Episode 4 – Motown

Genre 1 Episode 5 – Motown

Genre 1 Episode 6 – Motown


Genre 2 Episode 1 –

Glam Rock – The Beginning


Genre 2 Episode 2 –

Glam Rock

Genre 2 Episode 3 –

Glam Rock

Genre 2 Episode 4 –

Glam Rock

Genre 2 Episode 5 –

Glam Rock

Genre 2 Episode 6 –

Glam Rock


Genre 3 Episode 1 – The Singers





G4E1 – Origins of Northern Soul & Disco – The Beginning






G5E1 – Origins of Rock ‘n’ Roll – The Beginning






G6E1 – Those different ones like what I like






Featured image: “Rock & Roll Glitter Guitar Cloth Grocery Bag” by Indie Bands With a Mission is licensed under CC BY 2.0 .

© Phil the ex test manager 2023