Saturday, 25 December 2010

Happy Christmas

Christmas time again; Santa, mistletoe, mince pies and Slade.

Always loved it when Mud were on TOTP singing’ Lonely This Christmas’ Les Gray doesn’t even attempt to cover up the miming. He just uses a ventriloquist dummy for the spoken part of the song.

So here it is Merry Christmas, hope you have a good one.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Glam's Greatest Lyrics

“This ain’t rock n roll, this is genocide”

I’m afraid lyrics are not one of glam rock’s great strengths, (Bowie aside) but here is a selection of the better lyrics from glam’s greatest and best.

I could include almost all of Bowie's output, but special mention goes to the following verses from 'Diamond Dogs'.

“Halloween Jack is a real cool cat
And he lives on top of Manhattan Chase
The elevators broke, so he slides down a rope
Onto the street below, oh Tarzie, go man go

Meet his little hussy with his ghost town approach
Her face is sans feature, but she wears a Dali brooch
Sweetly reminiscent, something mother used to bake
Wrecked up and paralyzed, Diamond Dogs are sableized

In the year of the scavenger, the season of the bitch
Sashay on the boardwalk, scurry to the ditch
Just another future song, lonely little kitsch
(There's gonna be sorrow) try and wake up tomorrow”
Diamond Dogs 1974

Also from Bowie via Mott the Hoople

“Television man is crazy saying we're juvenile delinquent wrecks
Oh man I need TV when I got T Rex”.

“And my brother's back at home with his Beatles and his Stones
We never got it off on that revolution stuff
What a drag too many snags”.
All the Young Dudes 1972

And blasting out of 1974 with regal abandon…

“She's a killer queen
Gunpowder, gelatine
Dynamite with a laser beam
Guaranteed to blow your mind (Anytime)”.
Killer Queen: Queen 1974


We all know that Marc Bolan died in a car accident, but he also liked to sing about them quite a lot as well. Cars not accidents I mean.

“You're built like a car, you've got a hub cap diamond star halo” 
Get It On 1971

“I drive a Rolls Royce 'coz it's good for my voice” 
Children of the Revolution 1972

“Just like a car you're pleasing to be hold
I'll call you Jaguar if I may be so bold”
Jeepster 1972

From the pen of glam rock’s Lennon and McCartney; Chinnichap

“I'm reaching out for something touching nothing's all I ever do
I softly call you over, when you appear there's nothing left of you

And the man in the back is ready to crack
As he raises his hands to the sky
And the girl in the corner is everyone’s mourner
She could kill you with a wink of her eye”.
Sweet-Ballroom Blitz 1973

“She's a hell raiser, star chaser, trail blazer
Natural born raver, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah”.
Sweet-hell raiser 1974

And Mr wizzard himself, Roy Wood

“As I was lying in my bedroom fast asleep
Filled with those famous teenage pictures that you keep
Will Dion still be so important to you on your wedding day?”
Wizzard-angel fingers 1973

Friday, 17 December 2010

Sweet: Chop Chop (album track), Tony Blackburn: Chop Chop (a-side)

Ah yes, songs about woodcutting, you don't get many of those nowadays.

It's the Sweet in a head to head with ex Radio 1 DJ Tony Blackburn singing a song composed by Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn.

It seems that DJ's have always had a hankering to test the old vocal chords out on some song or other. It's hard to believe now but old Tony was seen as something of a sex symbol back in the early seventies. So it was inevitable that he would release a single at some point. 

I can see the headline now; "Superstar DJ shows audience his big chopper".

Chop chop is not one of 'Chinnichaps' greatest moments, but it has a certain charm I think.

The Sweet had already recorded this song for their 1971 debut album 'Funny How Sweet Co Co Can Be'. When Tony Blackburn recorded his version. 

The Sweet even played on the backing for the track, which is strange because at the time they didn't even play on their own singles.

Steve Priest said of the sessons, "Blackburn had no timing, we had to do the chorus over and over again until we virtually got it in time with him"

Blackburn would become a great supporter of the Sweet on his radio shows, and they returned to the studio with him again in 1972 to do more chinnichap songs.

This is from a review of the single in August 1971.

Tony Blackburn: Chop Chop (RCA) From the Chinn-Chapman current hitwriting team, a wee fantasy sort of song which suits Tony's style very well. It's into a bubblegum and rather undemanding sort of range, and the chorus is positively instantly catchy. The arrangement helps the story-line song along. I've a pretty confident feeling it's an upcoming chart-er.  (26 August 1971)

In 2007 Blackburn held a question and answer session for the BBC website, one of the questions was;

"If you could never hear one song again, what would it be"? 
His honest and simple answer was;
"My record of Chop Chop. It's atrocious".

All together now...."Timber, Timber"

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Brett Smiley: Va Va Va Voom (a-side), Hobnail: She's Just A Friend Of Mine (a-side)

Junk Shop Glam part 2

“Va Va Va Voom…A manic amalgam of vintage Marc Bolan and playful Bowie, brought to a shattering three minute climax by a brilliant Steve Marriott guitar solo and a characteristically dramatic Oldham production.

He was, to put it bluntly, beautiful. Pouting, blonde and so pretty in pink, 19 year old Brett Smiley exploded out of British TV one evening in fall 1974, and if the country had not already been deeply in love with glam rock, he would have started it off there and then. At a time when David Bowie was still most people's vision of androgynous perfection, Smiley made Ziggy look like a bricklayer."
Dave Thompson, Goldmine, 1996

This track can be found on Brett Smiley’s debut album or on the ‘Velvet Tinmine’ CD available HERE.

‘She’s Just a Friend of Mine’ by Hobnail was first released in 1972 on a bell records EP. In 2005 RPM Records released a 20-song compilation called ‘Boobs the Junkshop Glam Discotheque’ available HERE.

Brett Smiley: Va Va Va Voom
Hobnail: She's A Friend Of Mine

Sunday, 5 December 2010

The Rats: Turtle Dove (a-side), The Sensation: Black Eyed Woman (a-side)

The next few posts are from a sub-genre of glam that came to be known as ‘Junk Shop Glam’.

“Flick through any 50p record bins/racks in charity shops and record fairs and you will find them. Lost gems from glam rock’s 1970s heyday.

They were the worst bands of the glam rock era, shifting so few singles they were swiftly forgotten – until now. They may remain worthless on the collectors market, but they are what Junk Shop Glam is about – a foot-stomping concoction of the trashy, the brilliant and the bizarre.

The more raucous bands combined the DIY roughness of punk with the teen war cries of classic glam. Indeed, the best of these lost singles reveal punk and glam to be two sides of the same coin, a prole liberation music blessed with the power to piss off parents and muso peers alike.

Fallen idols they may have been, but it’s their pop purity that captivates, in all its trashy, bargain-basement glory”.
Tim Cumming, the Guardian, Tue 19th March 2002.

'Turtle Dove' is taken from the album 'First Long Playing Record' a collection of David Kubinek (ex World of Oz) songs recorded by producer Adrian Millar with session musicians. This is the only single released off the album in 1974 on the Good Ear label.  

'Turtle Dove', is a classic Junkshop Glam single, and features on the compilation 'Boobs: The Junkshop Glam Discotheque' (RPM 298) available HERE.

'Black Eyed Woman' is an obscure single from about 1974. This version is also taken from the Junk Glam compilation 'Boobs: The Junkshop Glam Discotheque'.

I couldn’t find much info about this track except a little bit on Foob’s ‘Underrated Albums’ website.

“This is an obscure single I was lucky enough to find in a sell-out bin over 15 years ago. When I started writing reviews for this site, I tried to find out something about it. But nada! It proved impossible to find any information about this band on the Internet. It's not even possible to find out what year this was released (the record doesn't tell) or where the band came from. So, I'm sorry I can't tell you anything more about this.

My guess is this is a release dating back to inbetween 1968 and 1974. The style is the kind of Glam Rock that was popular at the time. Bands like T.Rex and Gary Glitter topped the charts with stuff like this. What's interesting about this single is that it contains simple Glam Rock but with such a high fun level that it'll put a smile on your face. While the Boogie Rocker 'Black eyed Woman' is the best of the two tracks, it's 'Baby' that's the funniest, as the lyrics simply go "Baby, Babe, Baby, Baby" from start to end. Times were simpler then”.

The Rats: Turtle Dove
The Sensation: Black Eyed Woman

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Sparks would have featured before this on the blog, in fact they did for a few hours before the post was taken down by Blogger in response to a DRM notice. 

Fair enough, many people have commented on the rights and wrongs of this so I won't add to it, but it's a shame as Sparks are one of the more unusual and innovative artists connected to the glam genre, they released some great singles and in 'Kimono My House' one of the best albums from the early 70's.

Like many bloggers I was trying to give more exposure to a style of music that I love. Anyway here's the original (edited) post but without the music.

For most of the seventies I read ‘Marvel’ comics and one of my abiding memories is a holiday at Great Yarmouth where I picked up a 6p copy of The Avengers # 100 from a comic rack in some newsagent on the seafront.

My joy at finding this edition is further seared into my memory by the Sparks song ‘This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us’ playing on the shop radio.

I spent the rest of the day trying to explain to my father why Hawkeye was a better 'Avenger' than Hercules. My father died four years later, so I remember this time with great fondness. I never did get him to understand about Hawkeye, or what “tacky tigers” meant.

Anyway, Sparks are an American band formed in Los Angeles in 1970 by brothers Ron (keyboards) and Russell Mael (vocals), initially under the name Halfnelson. Best known for their quirky approach to song writing, and the contrast between Russell's wide-eyed hyperactive front man antics and Ron's scowling, looking not unlike Adolf Hitler on a bad day.

They relocated to London in 1973 and recorded their breakthrough album ‘Kimono My House’ in 1974, scoring a # 2 hit with the single "This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us".

“The rain is pouring on the foreign town,
the bullets cannot cut you down
This town ain't big enough for both of us
And it ain't me who's gonna leave”
(c) Sparks 1973

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Alvin Stardust: Red Dress (a-side), The Glitter Band: Goodbye My Love (a-side)

After the initial burst of glam activity from 1971 onwards, a whole host of second stringers got in on the act. Where the acts here (in my opinion) differ from the so called fake glam acts is in the sound and presentation of the music.

People like Alvin Stardust and the Glitter Band may have come late to the genre, but they are still unquestionably glam rock.

Alvin Stardust (or Shane Fenton) had been in or around the music scene for a decade before getting a ride on the glam rock bandwagon and finding success as Alvin Stardust.

His debut number 1 single was ‘My Coo-Ca-Choo’ in 1973. In total he had seven top ten entries during his chart career. ‘Red Dress’ is a single from 1974 Reaching number 7 in the charts.

He was also part of the Green Cross Code road safety campaign in 1976, directing children to cross the road safely. It came with his famous tagline of "You must be out of your tiny minds". 

 Remember; Be Smart, Be Safe

The Glitter Band initially worked as Gary Glitter's backing band before starting to release their own records in 1973. In total they had seven UK top twenty hit singles and three hit albums.

'Goodbye My Love' was a number 2 record in 1975.

Alvin Stardust: Red Dress

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

"I once asked (John) Lennon what he thought of what I do. He said 'it's great, but its just rock and roll with lipstick on'." 
David Bowie

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Barry Blue: Do You Wanna Dance (a-side), The Rubettes: You Could Have Told Me (b-side)

Many people tried to jump on the glam rock bandwagon and many fell off. This next post is dedicated to the fake glammers, the ones who tried their best but never quite got it right.

Some artists such as Elton John still sold shit loads of records even without the glam influence, but he used it to kick start his career. Others such as the Bay City Rollers inspired the same teenage screams and wet knickers last seen at the height of T Rextasy.

Barry Blue is a singer, producer and songwriter from the UK. He is best known for the songs, ‘Dancing on a Saturday Night’ from 1973 and ‘Do You Wanna Dance’ a Gary Glitter inspired single that reached number 7 also in 1973.

Arriving at the tail end of the glam rock movement, the Rubettes were an English pop band, assembled in 1973 by the song writing team of Wayne Bickerton and Tony Waddington.

The songs are greatly influenced by doo-wop and 1950’s American pop. Their first release was ‘Sugar Baby Love’ an instant hit that was number 1 in the UK for four weeks in 1974. ‘You Could Have Told Me’ is the b-side to this song. Not really glam rock in style, but I like it.

The Rubettes: You Could Have Told Me

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Forever: Roy Wood (a-side), Farewell: Ayshea (a-side)

I've had a few requests to re-post Roy Wood's single 'Forever'. Original post can be found HERE.

This made me think of a track that was released by Ayshea in 1973. Ayshea Brough was a British singer, model and actress who presented the 'Lift Off with Ayshea' ITV show from 1969 to 1974.

'Farewell' is a song written, produced and played by Roy Wood, and was written especially for Ayshea. The two had become friends when Roy Wood and Wizzard had appeared on her TV show. The single didn't perform very well chart wise, but is a good example of Roy Woods style at the time.

Farewell can be found on various 'Junkshop Glam' compilations and I will be featuring a few other songs from this glam sub-genre in the near future.

Lift Off with Ayshea also featured many up and coming glam acts during its time. One notable performer was David Bowie who performed 'Starman' in 1972. Although most of the memorable performances have been criminally wiped from tape, including this song.

Marc Riley formerly of The Fall, and now the BBC Radio 1 broadcaster Lard said:

"I first I saw Bowie performing ‘Starman’ was on a kids’ TV programme called Lift Off, presented by Ayshea Brough and an owl puppet called Ollie Beak. June 15th 1972 I believe. I’ll never forget the moment my friendly little mate Ollie left the screen and on came this… thing with his weird mates.

I was absolutely gob-smacked. My gran was shouting insults at the TV, and I just sat there agog. I was experiencing a life-changing moment. I know it sounds ridiculous - but it really did knock me for six. It was three weeks later when he popped up again on Top Of The Pops…and for the second time in my life I was transfixed by a bloke in a quilted jump-suit and red leather boxers boots!

There’s no doubt that Bowie’s appearance on Top Of The Pops was a pivotal moment in British musical history. Like the Sex Pistols at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester in ’76 - his performance lit the touchpaper for thousands of kids who up till then had struggled to find a catalyst for their lives.’

The tracks posted here, are as always, ripped from my personal collection at 128kbps. They will be left up for a few weeks and then removed. If you would like anything re-posted then just leave a comment.
Farewell: Ayshea
Forever: Roy Wood

Sights & Sounds

It's good to be back. I feel I have a bit more time to put into this blog again.

To start with (and to get me back in the 70's mood) i'm posting a few clips from some kids TV shows that i used to watch back in the brown and orange glow of the 70's.

Ace of Wands

Double Deckers

Marine Boy

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

I hope to be back on the blog soon.
Sorry for the length of time since my last post.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

I've had a couple of the annnoying DRM notices drop into my inbox in recent weeks. While this is a pain in the arse it has given me the push to do a 'spring clean' on this blog.

I also needed to clear some space in my 'Mediafire' account, so most of the links in all but the most recent posts have now gone. If you see something on here that you really like, then let me know by commenting on that post and I will then re-link.

Anyway as I said, i'll be taking a short break but hope to be back in a few weeks.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Short Break

I will be taking a short break from this blog for a few weeks, family commitments, new baby etc.
Hope to be back soon.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Lou Reed: Satellite of Love (a-side), Iggy Pop: I Need Somebody (album track)

American Glam part 5

Much has already been written about the work that David Bowie did with Lou Reed and Iggy Pop in the early seventies, so I won’t add much more here.

‘Satellite of Love’ is taken from the album ‘Transformer’ a Bowie and Mick Ronson produced record from 1972. It was issued as the second single in February 1973. Transformer introduced Reed to a wider audience especially in the UK, with the record proving to be Reed’s commercial and critical zenith.

This was to cause resentment in Reed because of the shadow that the record cast over the rest of his career. After the records release Reed and Bowie had a fairly public argument that ended their working relationship for many years.

Mick Ronson, who was at the time the lead guitarist with Bowie's backing band, played a major role in the recording of the album, serving as the co-producer and primary session musician (contributing guitar, piano, recorder and backing vocals) and arranger, notably the lush string arrangement for 'Perfect Day'.

Reed has praised the beauty of Ronson’s work on the album. David Bowie, can be heard providing background vocals throughout the record, and especially on Satellite of Love.

Though this song first saw the light of day on Transformer, it dates back to Reed's previous band The Velvet Underground, and a version of the song recorded by The Velvet Underground surfaced on the ‘Peel Slowly And See’ box set.

Iggy Pop and David Bowie first met in 1971, and there is no doubt that Pop's career received a boost from his relationship with Bowie. The album ‘Raw Power’ was originally produced and mixed by Pop himself, unfortunately, Pop's first attempt wasn’t very good as he mixed most of the instruments into one stereo channel and the vocals into the other.

‘MainMan’ management demanded that the album be remixed, but Pop initially refused. So MainMan informed Pop that if the album were not remixed by Bowie, the album would not be released. Pop eventually agreed.

Due to budgetary constraints, Bowie remixed the songs (except ‘Search and Destroy’ which still retained Pop’s original production) in a single day in an inexpensive Los Angeles studio.

It is said that Columbia executives insisted on two ballads, one for each side of the record. These two "ballads" were 'Gimme Danger' and 'I Need Somebody', both much more ominous and menacing than traditional ballads.

Guitarists James Williamson and Ron Asheton have both stated that they prefer Bowie's original mix of the album to Pop's re-mastered version that appeared many years later. The version of I Need Somebody here is the Bowie mixed version.

After the albums release Bowie continued to support Iggy Pop, but drug abuse was again to blame for stalling Pop’s career for some time. Years later Bowie and Pop would relocate to West Berlin where Bowie helped write and produce 'The Idiot' and 'Lust for Life' during 1977. These became Pop's two most acclaimed albums as a solo artist.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

New York Dolls: Lonely Planet Boy (album track)

American Glam part 3
The New York Dolls formed in 1971, and over the next three years they became the premiere American glam rock band. Musically they are based in the "dirty rock of the Rolling Stones, girl-group pop, the Stooges and Bowie glam".

The band's proto-punk sound signposted much of what was to come in the punk rock era; their visual style influenced the look of many new wave and 80s era glam metal groups, and they began the local New York scene that later spawned the Ramones, Blondie, Television and Talking Heads.

Initially, the group was composed of singer David Johansen, guitarists Johnny Thunders and Rick Rivets (who was replaced by Sylvain Sylvain after a few months), bass guitarist Arthur "Killer" Kane and drummer Billy Murcia. The original line-up's first performance was on Christmas Eve 1971 at a homeless shelter, the Endicott Hotel.

Late in 1972, the New York Dolls embarked on their first tour of England. During the tour, drummer Murcia died after mixing drugs and alcohol. He was replaced by Jerry Nolan. After Nolan joined the band, the Dolls finally secured a record contract with Mercury Records.

Todd Rundgren whose sophisticated pop seemed at odds with the band's crash-and-burn rock & roll produced the band's eponymous debut, which appeared in the summer of 1973. The record received overwhelmingly positive reviews, but it didn't stir the interest of the general public; the album peaked at # 116 on the U.S. charts.

The band's follow-up, Too Much Too Soon, was produced by the legendary girl group producer George "Shadow" Morton. The album was another commercial failure, only reaching # 167 upon its early summer 1974 release.
The band are another American glam act championed by Morrissey. A Jobriath compilation put together by the ex Smiths vocalist was called ‘Lonely Planet Boy’ after the New York Dolls song.

In 2004 the band reformed with three of their original members, two of whom, David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain, continue on today and have released two records of new material. The original bassist, Arthur Kane died shortly after their first reunion concert.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Jobriath: Heartbeat (album track), Movie Queen (album track)

American Glam part 2
Jobriath was the stage name of Bruce Wayne Campbell an American glam rock singer from 1973 to 1974. He is credited as being the first mass-marketed pop star, and the first to be openly gay. Even today with his music championed by people such as Morrissey, he is still a largely forgotten figure on the musical landscape.

Jobriath's first, self-titled album was well-publicized at the time, but sold poorly. With its Broadway-style vocal flamboyance and thinly veiled lyrical references to homosexual love, male prostitution and sadomasochism, the songs were wrapped in huge arrangements with overwrought orchestral interludes and a bevy of female backup singers.

Oddities like "Morning Star Ship" shared vinyl with emotive piano ballads like "Inside" and bizarre, songs like "What a Pretty."
The first album was quickly followed by the second “Creatures of the Street”. Although his two LPs sound amazing even today, he was inevitably viewed as a Bowie copyist by the music press, who cruelly dismissed the artist. The public, who had been initially interested in the hype surrounding Jobriath soon unleashed a backlash of ridicule and indifference.
And so his LPs, treasured by many collectors as forgotten gems of the original glam era, went out of print for thirty years, with Elektra seemingly uninterested in reissuing them on CD.

In later years Jobriath sought to distance himself from his previous solo career, taking a new name, Cole Berlin, and adopting a new style - cabaret. He played out the rest of his life in local cabarets, clubs and parties. By the time the contract was up, Jobriath was dying of AIDS, which eventually took his life on August 3rd 1983. He was 37 years old, and his passing went largely unnoticed and unsung.

The following is taken from an article by Rob Cochrane that appeared in the November 1998 issue of Mojo Magazine.
“Glam rock was a movie in search of a soundtrack. Today, Velvet Goldmine is that movie, but 25 years ago the publicity machine roared into action to kick-start the strange yet true story of Jobriath.

In late '73 you couldn't open a music magazine without seeing rock impresario Jerry Brandt barking up the qualities of what he claimed would be the year's hottest new star. With Bowie busting out all over Britain and even stirring a sensation Stateside, the flamboyantly theatrical and shockingly un-closeted Jobriath would surely clean up in the biggest rock market in the world.

Eddie Kramer, producer of Jobriath's eponymous debut solo album, was famed for his work with Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. He remembers Jobriath as "a romantic soul, really. He wanted orchestrations like old film music, though he knew nothing about scoring. So he bought a book on orchestration and within a week he'd come up with scores of a haunting quality. These were recorded in Olympic Studios in London with a nine-foot grand piano and a 55-piece orchestra.

On the album's release in October '73, a media blitz ensued. Full-page ads were placed in Vogue, Penthouse, Rolling Stone and the New York Times, all reproducing the sleeve image of Jobriath as a discreetly nude statue creeping on smashed legs. The image dominated Times Square on a 41ft by 47ft billboard over the festive period and was also plastered across 250 New York buses.
A mere six months after the release of the debut came Creatures Of The Street, a rapid follow-up by any standards. "Some of the music is very haunting. If Jobriath had come out, excuse the pun, let's say during The Village People's success in the late '70s, he could have very well become a major star. "Timing is everything."

Monday, 1 February 2010

Alice Cooper: Teenage Lament 74 (a-side)

American Glam part 1

In America, unlike the UK, glam rock (or glitter rock as it was known) was much less successful as a commercial genre. Bands that became popular on the US glam scene were a lot heavier and raw and less ‘bubblegum’ than their UK counterparts. Eventually Popular American glam rock acts such as Alice Cooper, The New York Dolls and Kiss rivalled the success of similar British artists such as David Bowie, by using a different stylistic and sound in their music.

Although glam rock is primarily a UK-centred genre and initially had a nebulous impact in the US (artists such as T Rex and Roxy Music had only a fraction of the success they had in the UK), glam rock rapidly influenced popular culture to the point where acts as disparate as The Osmonds and the Rolling Stones wore some glitter and makeup. Even though their music didn’t have much to do with glam rocks general themes.

Alice Cooper’s (real name Vincent Damon Furnier) career spans more than four decades. With a stage show that features guillotines, electric chairs, fake blood, boa constrictors and baby dolls, Cooper has drawn equally from horror movies, vaudeville, and garage rock to pioneer a grandly theatrical and violent brand of heavy metal that was designed to shock, and fitted in perfectly with the emerging glam rock scene.

Alice Cooper was originally a band consisting of Furnier on vocals and harmonica, lead guitarist Glen Buxton, Michael Bruce on rhythm guitar, Dennis Dunaway on bass guitar, and drummer Neal Smith.

The original Alice Cooper band broke into the international music mainstream with the 1971 hit "I'm Eighteen" from the album ‘Love it to Death’, which was followed by the even bigger single "School's Out" in 1972. The band reached their commercial peak with the 1973 album 'Billion Dollar Babies'.
"Teenage Lament" was a UK # 12 in 1974. The song features backing vocals by US divas Liza Minelli and Ronnie Spector. The song can be found on the 1973 album Muscle of Love’.
Image taken from "Marvel Premiere" # 50 by Marvel Comics Group.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

The Successors Of Glam

Glam rock as a youth movement and a musical sub-genre was essentially over by the end of 1975. It had, if I’m being honest, been in slow decline since early in 1974. The best of the glam anthems had been and gone and established glam artists had either moved on to other pastures or were simply treading water.

There were a few Johnny come lately’ artists hanging on for grim death or trying to keep the whole thing going, but essentially glam was dead, its ability to outrage and shock had long since passed in the eyes of the public and mainstream media.

But can any musical genre ever truly be finished? In today’s world of unlimited access to music, (often highlighted in blogs such as this or accessed through sites like ‘Spotify’ and ‘You Tube’) every form of music is at your fingertips.

Even after its immediate mark on mainstream music had ended, the glamorous, aesthetic styles, unusual clothes and hard pop-rock sounds were a major influence upon the punk rock movement that followed.

Bowie, Bolan, and the New York Dolls among others directly influenced early punk bands such as The Ramones, Blondie, The Sex Pistols, The Damned (with whom Marc Bolan toured during 1977) and Siouxsie & the Banshees.

Glam would be an even bigger influence on post-punk bands such as Joy Division, The Cure, Adam and the Ants, on later ‘New Romantic’ artists such as Culture Club and Japan, and on late 70’s, early 80’s synthpop.

Artists like Gary Numan, Ultravox and Soft Cell were strongly influenced by glam in both image and sound, with some even starting out in glam bands.

The Gothic rock movement that also came from post-punk took cues from glam, and in particular Roxy Music and David Bowie. Artists such as these were a great influence on bands like Bauhaus who covered Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, and later Telegram Sam by T Rex.

In fact it has always been acknowledged that Roxy Music and especially David Bowie played a large part in shaping the new wave sounds that followed glam. Both used the genre and their retrospective influence to gain large commercial success in the early 1980s.

The Alternative and indie rock scene in the 90’s would also be influenced by glam, particularly in the UK. In the 1990s, Britpop referenced glam rock, with bands like Oasis using Slade and Mott the Hoople as primary influences.

Others include, Suede, Manic Street Preachers, Heavy Stereo, and even Morrissey whose album ‘Your Arsenal’ also had glam rock leanings, with production by Mick Ronson.

At the 2004 Brit awards David Bowie appeared with Placebo to sing a cover of T Rex’s 20th Century Boy, and in a direct line from glam via the Sex Pistols were one hit wonders Sigue Sigue Sputnik who recreated the glam sound in the 80’s with ‘Love Missile F1-11’, later to be covered by David Bowie himself, so the glam sound came full circle.

In America the glam rock influence can be seen in the emergence of ‘Glam Metal’. Hanoi Rocks (formed in 1979) are widely regarded as one of the first glam punk/metal bands.

In the beginning the American glam metal movement would take huge influence from glam rock bands like the New York Dolls. Quiet Riot had their first huge commercial success by covering Slade's 'Cum on Feel the Noize' in 1983.

However as time went on there was less of a pure glam rock sound in glam metal and it began to be more influenced by a number of different styles of 1980s pop music. Nonetheless, the Los Angeles music scene spawned many glam metal bands, including Poison and Twisted Sister.

In the UK (where glam was always more popular) bands such as The Quireboys and Girlschool emerged forging a glam metal sound to rival the American version.

In the intervening years, glam has enjoyed sporadic and modest revivals through bands as diverse as, The Darkness, Placebo, Gay Dad, Scissor Sisters, Goldfrapp and Marilyn Manson. Even into the present day with Lady Ga Ga and The Stereophonics, whose new single ‘Innocent’ has a definite glam rock rhythm and feel.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

What's in a name?

A little name changing didn't hurt in the glam rock world.

David Robert Jones - David Bowie
Marc Feld - Marc Bolan
Bernard William Jewry - Alvin Stardust
Paul Gadd - Gary Glitter
Barry Ian Green - Barry Blue
Frederick Bulsara - Freddie Mercury

Stephen Malcolm Ronald Nice - Steve Harley
and best of all

Luther James Grosvenor - Ariel Bender (guitarist with Mott the Hoople)

Tyrannosaurus Rex - T Rex
The Sweetshop - The Sweet
Ambrose Slade - Slade

A couple of classic album tracks, a lost 45 and a Bowie out-take to check out.

'Baby Boomerang' taken from the album 'Slider' 1972
'How Can It Be' taken from 'Old New Borrowed and Blue' album 1974
'Turn It Down' was a single released in 1974 reaching #41 in the UK charts
'Sweet Head' is an out-take from the 'Ziggy Stardust' album in 1972

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

The Polecats: John I'm Only Dancing & Jeepster (cover versions)

The Polecats were a rockabilly style band formed in the late seventies, originally calling themselves the Cult Heroes.A record deal lead to the release in early 1981 of the double A-side, “John I'm Only Dancing/Big Green Car" on Phonogram's Mercury label. This got to #35 in the UK charts.Their third single release was another glam cover this time the old T Rex track "Jeepster". This got to #53 in the UK charts.
These cover songs are a bit different from the straight versions you normally hear. They have been given a rockabilly make over, which I think suits the styles of the songs perfectly.

Sunday, 10 January 2010


This is an edited repeat of the very first post on this blog for any one who missed it the first time around. I just wanted a bit of a re-cap about the philosophy behind the blog. The Sweet's live 1976 version of Ballroom Blitz has been added for good measure.

I bought my first 7" record in September 1973. I was ten years old. It was the Sweet's "Ballroom Blitz". I obviously had a lot of pocket money that week as I went out the next day to buy two more; "Angel Fingers" by Wizzard and "Life On Mars"? by David Bowie. That was only the beginning.

Glam Rock had some great music, (it also had lots of crap music) songs that would stand the test of time. But even at it's worst, it could still entertain, but with tongue firmly in cheek. Glam gave pop back to the kids after years of progressive rock doodling and fret-wank. To many it was a beacon of light in a country that was literally in the dark.

In most respects glam rock is totally fake, but to young kids like me it was real and alive. It may have been "Brickies in eyeliner" but to the kids it was "stardust for the dudes"?

This blog isn't here to give total insight into the glam rock genre and it's protagonists, it's here to give a taste of the sights and sounds of that era. The forgotten A-sides and album tracks that weren't fully appreciated the first time, and the equally forgotten and long lost B-sides that were the flip-side of what glam was all about.
I have tried to restrict myself to sharing songs from the period 1971 - 1975, these are considered to be the main glam rock years, but I'm sure songs either side of these dates will sometimes creep in. Others have walked through, and flirted with the glam world; the Rolling Stones and Rod Stewart to name two. For every Bowie and Bolan there was an Alvin Stardust or Barry Blue. But even some of these 'second generation' glam artists could produce a decent song or two.
Of course I am looking back on all this from the perspective of a 46 year old man; wife, children and all that comes with that, but when I write this blog I am ten years old again and it's perpetually 1973. So I guess I will always have my rose tinted specs firmly on when looking back at that time.

I have loved other music with a greater passion since, but not with the same youthful joy, or with such a sense of longing and nostalgia when I hear it played. And now 36 years after buying that first single I sit here writing this.

I think that maybe when you find yourself, like me, at 45 RPM in life, your mind naturally returns to the past and your own inner groove.

"Are you ready Steve? Aha!
Andy? Yeah!
Mick? OK!
Alright fellas, lets go"

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Electric Light Orchestra: Ma Ma Ma Belle (Alt take)

"I feel that i've told the story of Marc Bolan playing double lead guitar with me on 'Ma Ma Ma Belle' so many times that I won't mention it again. Anyway it's true. What a nice thing"

"Marc Bolans a friend of mine from a few years back. He was in the studio just over-dubbing something, and we had a good laugh, a bit of a reunion. It was really good because it's given the whole thing a new feel"

Jeff Lynne sleeve notes from re-issue of 'On The Third Day' 2006

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Mick Rock (photographer)

all photos copyright Mick Rock

Mick Rock is a photographer best known for his iconic shots of 1970s glam rock icons and early punk stars such as David Bowie, Queen, Mick Ronson, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, The Sex Pistols, The Ramones and Blondie.

By 1972, Mick Rock was already becoming well-known as a photographer, particularly for his photographs of Bowie and Ronson during the Ziggy Stardust tour, on which Mick Rock was the official photographer.

He is responsible for album covers including Queen's "Queen II" and "Sheer Heart Attack", David Bowie's "Space Oddity", Lou Reed's "Transformer" and Iggy and The Stooges "Raw Power". He also directed several of David Bowie's early music videos, including those for "Life on Mars?", "The Jean Genie" and
"Space Oddity".

See Life On Mars? video here.

His book “Moonage Daydream: The Life and Times of Ziggy Stardust” features hundreds of photos of Bowie in his Ziggy period, and Rock was the only photographer to access all areas at the filming of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”.

In 2005, he released a photo book called “Glam! An Eyewitness Account”.
It documents the evolving glam and later punk movements.

The following interview is taken from, “Q & A With Mick Rock”.

“The aptly named Mick Rock was the go-to photographer of the glam scene, creating a visual record of the era's icons -- from David Bowie provocatively chewing on Mick Ronson's guitar strings to a slinky Iggy Pop on the cover of Raw Power, to the Frankensteinian shot of Lou Reed on Transformer.

The newly reissued photo book "Glam!: An Eyewitness Account" (originally published as "Blood and Glitter" in 2001) documents all the major players and brings the makeup-caked men, women, and not-quite-sure-what-they-are into focus. Here, Rock reminisces about those debaucherous years”.

E.W: In the intro to "Glam!," you write: "First you seduce the retina, then you subvert the other senses. The first rule of glam." What does that mean?
Mick Rock: That was how David Bowie operated in the early days: get people's attention by the way you looked. Once they were intrigued with that, then they'd start listening to the music. To some degree, that was always true in rock & roll -- look at Elvis Presley. With glam it was very self-conscious to tart yourself up, attract attention, and then deliver the goods.
E.W: Was it really as hedonistic and wild as your photos make it seem?
M.R: Oh, yes, people got away with all kinds of stuff, though the press didn't really pry into it too much.
E.W: What did they get away with?
M.R: I'm gonna leave that to you, darling! [Laughs]
E.W: C'mon!
M.R: You know, partner swapping, the multisexual thing, the kinky stuff started to come out. It was a great time to be young and out of order. It was absolutely self-indulgent, but it was very creative.
EW: You also write in the intro that you acquired a taste for makeup -- why did you try it out?
M.R: I liked the way it looked... and the girls found me more attractive. Glam was not just a gay thing, it was absolutely equally a heterosexual scene. And if you wanted to get near all the hip girls, you needed to be tarted up a bit.

Glam! An Eyewitness Account by Mick Rock is available from Amazon.

"We couldn't have pounced without Marc Bolan. The little imp opened the door. What was so great, however, was that we knew he hadn't got it quite right. Sort of Glam 1.0. We were straining in the wings with versions 1.01 and 1.02, while Marc was still struggling with satin. But boy, he really rocked. He did, Y'know"
David Bowie from the foreword to Glam! An Eyewitness Account.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Kenny: The Bump (a-side), Mungo Jerry: Wild Love (a-side)

It was way back in 1974-75 when I was still a scruffy little 11 year old, and still reading "Buster" & "Shiver & Shake" comics that I first experienced the 'school disco'. Every Friday evening at 7 myself and all my friends would boogie on down to our Junior school gym to be put through one and a half hours of the latest and greatest 70's sounds.

Two of the songs that stand out from all the others at these sweaty gatherings were: "The Bump" by a band called Kenny and "Wild Love" by Mungo Jerry. The Bump, because it was always a way to get close to the girls (via the medium of dance) and maybe get to walk one of them home after the disco.

The Bump usually involved 'bumping' your hips together in some strange pre-pubesant mating ritual, where you only succeeded in actually inflicting injury and brusing to both parties.

The other song I remember was Wild Love. This time because the same girls who we tried to dance with during the Bump would put on a Pan's People style dance routine (that had obviously been practiced on in secret) for the benefit of all us boys.

As with most things time colours our perception of the past. Most of these evenings were just an attempt at (out of time) dancing while at the same time trying not to break an ankle in our platforms, or in my case squeeking away on the polished floor in black 'Converse' trainers.

Anyway incase your interested: In 1974 songwriters Bill Martin and Phil Coulter were looking for a group to promote some new songs. One of which was called "The Bump" which had recently entered the charts under the name of Kenny. This was really Coultier on vocals and a remixed backing track from the" Bay City Rollers".
The problem was that they desperately needed a group to be Kenny, and whoever became Kenny would have instant stardom and would appear on UK music show "Top of The Pops".

They agreed and felt that they needed a better lead singer to go with a new image. Therefore Rick Driscoll was recruited as lead vocalist.
The Bump reached #3 in the UK in 1974 released on the RAK label.
Mungo Jerry are an English rock group whose greatest success was in the early 1970s, although they have continued throughout the years with an ever-changing line-up, but always fronted by Ray Dorset.

They are best remembered for their hit "In the Summertime", and they made their national debut at the Hollywood Festival at Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire in May 1970, the week "In the Summertime" was released.

The record topped the UK Singles Chart for seven weeks,and made number one in 26 countries around the world. Their second single "Baby Jump" also topped the UK chart in March 1971.

Ray Dorset has received three Ivor Novello Awards as a composer.
is an underated single released in 1973, only reaching #32 in the UK charts. I think it has stood the test of time better than other more successful Mungo Jerry songs.
"Wild Love"

Happy New Year.