Thursday, 25 March 2021

Glam Rock also-rans

After T. Rex, Sweet and Slade had exploded glam rock all over the place in 1971-72, together with credible glam-influenced rock acts like David Bowie, Roxy Music, Mott The Hoople and Elton John along came the second division of glam acts. Here are some of them (Suzi Quatro and Wizzard were part of this sub-genre, but thy have qualified, due to album releases, for a section of their own). These artists featured below we all very much singles-orientated groups.

We are looking at the years of 1973-75 here. For some reason, rock and roll revivalism (or at least, rock and roll influence) was popular during these years and the first such group was teddy boy outfitted Mud, fronted by "huh-huh-huh" Elvis-fixated singer Les Gray. After a couple of more poppy-sounding hits in Crazy and Hypnosis, glam songwriting team Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman (Sweet and Suzi Quatro), they went full on stomping, singalong glam with Dyna-Mite, The Cat Crept In and the monster number one, Tiger Feet, which came with its own peculiar sidestepping, hands on belts dance. 

Mud were a big hit act for a short period and the rock and roll thing continued on the Christmas crooner, Lonely This Christmas, Rocket, The Secrets That You Keep and an a capella cover of Buddy Holly's Oh Boy.

Even more rock and roll-influenced were nostalgists Showaddywaddy - also wearing teddy boy drapes and shoes  - who combined those trademark stomping glam beats with a clear rock and roll instinct on hits like Hey Rock And Roll, a cover of Eddie Cochran's Three Steps To Heaven, Dancin' Party and Trocadero. Their biggest hit was another cover in Under The Moon Of Love and further massive charters followed in Heartbeat, When, You Got What It Takes, Pretty Little Angel Eyes, A Little Bit Of Soap and I Wonder Why. They joyfully doo-wopped up the charts until 77-78.

Adopting an Elvis-68 comeback leather outfit was Alvin Stardust, who, to go with his clichéd moniker, held his microphone upside down from an outstretched wrist, the reason for which was never clear. He had two big poppy glam hits in My Co Ca Choo and Jealous Mind. A few inferior ones followed, including Red Dress, Good Love Can Never Die and an acceptable cover of Cliff Richard's Move It.

Similarly contrived and, let's be honest, silly-looking, were The Rubettes, who wore white flared suits and yes, white berets. They hit the top spot in 1974 with Sugar Baby Love, notable fo singer Alan Williams' ludicrous falsetto vocal - except that it wasn't Williams, it was session singer Paul Da Vinci, who, irked at his non-credit, had his own minor hit with Your Baby Ain't You Baby Anymore

The Rubettes also had hits with I Can Do It, Tonight and the infectious Juke Box Jive. Again the rock and roll influence was clear. 

A strange appearance, in 1973, was that of Barry Blue, (pictured) who utilised a Greek bouzouki on his catchy hit Dancing On A Saturday Night. He had minor hits with School Love and the glam-drum sound of Do You Wanna Dance. Ploughing a similar furrow in 1975 were Kenny, who struck big with the dance-craze hit, The Bump, along with Fancy Pants, Baby I Love You OK and Julie-Ann. They are not to be confused with a previous incarnation of  Kenny, who had a hit in 1973 with Heart Of Stone and a minor one in soundalike follow-up Give It To Me Now.

A huge hit machine from 1974-76 were Scots lads The Bay City Rollers, aimed firmly at the teenage girl market. They brought with them tartan scarf fashions and had massive hits with the chant-along Remember, Shang-A-Lang, Bye Bye Baby (a Four Seasons cover), Give A Little Love and Summerlove Sensation among others.

By 1975, we were very much into the realms of lesser performers and these included Hello (Tell Him and New York Groove); the proto Ramones-looking, leather-clad US-UK band Arrows (A Touch Too Much, My Last Night With You and the original of I Love Rock And Roll, later made famous by Joan Jett & The Black Hearts) and Brendon, who hit only once with the glam drummy Gimme Some

So, that was it for UK glam, I have pretty much covered all of it except, of course, the now permanently disgraced Gary Glitter, whose work has been airbrushed from musical history. That is to overlook the indisputable fact that, between late 1972 and mid-1974, he dominated the charts and was a true king of glam. The contribution and influence of his excellent band, The Glitter Band, who with their two pounding drummers and blaring saxophone influenced many a glam group and also subsequent acts such as Adam And The Ants and Oasis should never be overlooked.


The hits were many - Rock And Roll Parts One and Two, I Didn't Know I Loved You (Till I Saw You Rock And Roll, Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah), Hello, Hello I'm Back Again, I'm The Leader Of The Gang (I Am), I Love You Love Me Love, Oh Yes You're Beautiful, Always Yours and Remember Me This Way. Unfortunately, however great these stonking glam offerings were - and they were - we will never remember him with anything other than with revulsion. The Glitter Band were totally unknowing associates of Glitter's, unaware of his proclivities, so here's to them - great musicians to a man.

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