Category Archives: 70’s Glamrock

Looking at you kid

In my series of early 70’s masterpieces we are usually swimming in prog rock waters, but this one is a quite different story. Some would claim it to be prog, as they would with any album they like from the 70’s, but to be honest the only thing very “prog” was the producer, former Crimson lyricist Peter Sinfield.

Roxy Music’s debut came out in 1972, a revolution to anyone following Rock Music at this point in history.

If you have to box this music it was Art/Glam Rock ala David Bowie, but then again more unfamiliar and strange than what Bowie had done at this point. Early pre-new wave ? …….forget it, fair to say Roxy was mostly just Roxy.

On top of that was the image of the 1950s-style pin-up cover, quite crazy compared to what you would expect from a rock band at the time, and then the outfits sending signals in almost any thinkable direction. Ferry in glamour suit’s sending thoughts in direction of Las Vegas, Eno with his strange omnisexual look and Andy Mackay the 1950s rock and roller, won’t see much of his “type” again until Saturday Night Fever.

But that makes Rock Music so special on this early record is something that could easily break down so many other albums, a complete lack of direction. It seems like they took numerous ideas, like a painter just blindly throwing paint on a canvas and some miracle happened to unify the pieces into something bigger.

Off course this would not be possible if the band was not composed of so many brilliant individuals, Bryan Ferry song writing and vocal is just great, Phil Manzanera, Andy Mackay and Brian Eno a dream cast to back him up, making a wonderful debut album and with it, music history.

Let’s finish with Bryan Ferry’s tribute to Humphrey Bogart:

Here’s looking at you kid – Hard to forget

Here’s looking at you kid – At least not yet

Your memory stays, it lingers ever – Will fade away never

Billion dollar Horror Baby

Glam Rock part IV
In the late 60’s early Seventies Alice Cooper got the idea of an atypical glam rock approach, a horror movie inspired Shock Glam Show and image, they impressed Frank Zappa at an audition, and got a record deal on his label. Alice Cooper released two unsuccessful albums, “ We were into fun, sex, death and money when everybody was into peace and love”.

Billion Dollar Babies 1973

Their 3.rd album “Love it to Death” 1971, was a change in style, from a Pink Floyd inspired psychedelic style of rock, they changed into a short track rock style, more in line with the style of Rolling Stones, The Who or even Beatles. The album became them their first hit, with single “I’m Eighteen”, and now Alice Cooper got a gigger contract, had developed a full blown Horror stage show, and continued to have successful albums and singles, first a major single hit with School’s Out, from 1972, the year after a major album hit with “Billion Dollar Babies” making album chart no.1 in both US and UK.

Schools Out

At this point Alice Cooper was renowned for their stage shows, the combination of offensive lyrics, with undertones of sex and violence, combined with theatrical horror shows with torture instruments, beheaded mannequins and so on , Alice Cooper was as political incorrect as they could possibly by, making them just even more popular with the fans, and hated by the kids parents, not to mention everyone trying to make rock music serious and intellectual.

Steven, Originally From “Welcome to my Nightmare 1975”

Alice Cooper made it look so easy, that we tend to forget how ahead of his (their) time this was, and how influential Coopers stage presence would be on generations to come, so many acts have taken inspiration from his stage shows, from Glam via Punk to Metal, many different bands have covered his songs, and even Bob Dylan have stated Alice Cooper to be an overlooked songwriter. Salvador Dali was a fan, and made a hologram : “first Cylindric Chromo-Hologram Portrait of Alice Cooper’s Brain”.

Wake the Dead from Along came a spider, 2008, (feat. Ozzy Osbourne) fan made video
Alice Cooper have continued creating albums and touring into the new millennium, he is also openly working with helping other Rock musicians out of drug and alcohol abuse.
From: Billion Dollar Babies 1973

Sweet and Quatro – Chinn and Chapman Glam Factory

Glam Rock part III
Chinn and Chapman was a team of producer/songwriters, very successful during and after the Glam era. New World, Sweet, Mud, Suzi Quatro, Smokie and more, had UK Singles Chart hits, written by the duo.

Sweet was a serious rock band, having played together for quite some time, when they started playing Chinn and Chapman lollipop tracks, directly aimed at chart success with a very young audience and without much artistic ambition.

But fast Sweet managed to develop their personal much heavier guitar sound, and even though they still mostly made Chinn and Chapman singles, they had many self-written tracks on their albums. Even the Chinn and Chapman singles, like The Ballroom Blitz and Block Buster had not that much lollipop left in them.

“Fox on the Run” first recorded in 1974, was unusual for a Sweet single, being written by the band rather than producers, and became a major hit in many countries. This kind of Rock tracks by Sweet, may be said to have predicted Hair Metal by half a decade. But Sweet was a Chinn and Chapman fabrication, a product aimed directly at the single charts, and none of their album, ever had the success, their Chinn and Chapman singles did.
Many of the same thing can be said about the “Queen” of Glam, Suzi Quatro, she was co-writing many tracks with her guitarist, but almost every hit, was a Chinn and Chapman song. And Like Sweet she did not get the album sales you might expect, with several number one single hits in UK.

Slade – Hear Them Calling

Glam Rock part II,
One of the bestselling Glam Rock, bands in early 70’s was Slade, making lots of high charting singles and albums, 17 top 20 hits between 1971 and 1976, made them the band selling the most singles in UK during the 70’s.

Slade was the hard, raw garage sound, working class anti-intellectual and anarchistic attitude, Glam Rockers. A string of notable Punk/Metal/Grunge band members have been cited to have been influenced by Slade and Holders vocal style, Nirvana, The Smashing Pumpkins, the Ramones, Sex Pistols, the Clash, Kiss, Mötley Crüe, Quiet Riot, Def Leppard, Oasis, ect. ect. If Slade makes you think “Christmas” you missed out on some important classic albums !!, I suggest you start with “Slade Alive”

Ozzy Osbourne : “Noddy Holder’s got one of greatest voices in rock ever.”

In 1974 Slade made a film, Slade in flame, and a soundtrack album, even though today I may seem to hold some of Slade’s best tracks, it did not Peak as high on the charts as expected, and only one single “Far Far Away” was very successful. Noel Gallagher of Oasis claimed the track “How Does It Feel”: “one of the best songs written, in the history of pop, ever”. But at the time it only peaked at 15th on the charts.

After the film, Slade moved all their equipment to the US, aiming to make the break overseas by touring.
But they never did break the US, and lost their home base in the attempt. Later they had a comeback with a Heavy Metal following, again getting attention for their raw and clean cut energy as a live band, but that is another story.

The Makeup, The Music, The Boots, Bolan & Bowie

Glam, Part I
It is impossible to talk glam rock, without mentioning T.Rex first, due to the fact that it is widely accepted, that their performance on top of the pops march 1971, was the birth of the Glam rock scene. It seems not that “glam” when you look back at it, just a bit of glimmer beneath the eyes of Bolan.

But it took of very fast from there and soon the glam style was a lot more dominant in T.Rex performances.
Colorful clothes, heavy makeup and those awesome boots so popular in the early 70’s.

At this point David Bowie would combine his supreme songwriting, his ability to create a reliable stage persona, and taking the multi gender aspects of “Glam” to the extreme, launching the hugely successful “Ziggy Stardust Tour” 1972-1973 covering UK, US and Japan.

Bowie would become the most successful star of the glam era, as he would become the artist able to achieve major success both in UK and US, many other British glam stars would do well in Europe, but never make it in the US. Long after Glam had faded away Bowie have been able to reinvent his act, a living legend in music.



David Bowie (David Robert Jones)  passed away 10 January 2016.

Rest in peace.