Glam rock, once also known as Glitter Rock, emerged in the early 1970's, a post-hippie phenomenon and antidote to all the earnest seriousness of that era. The dream was over, the stars were dead and out of the smoke of Altamont, comes what: teenage transvestite revolution, science fiction escapism, high heeled fellatio, excactly what the Doctor ordered !
The man who bridged the transition from hippies to glitter kids was probably one time model, Marc Bolan, the first to wear feather boas, glitter and top hats and write songs that noone was meant to take seriously. The second was his friend David Bowie. Ziggy Stardust was born straight after the Apollo moon landings (1969-1972) and used his gay shock tactics to great effect.
Not everyone was as talented or inspired as Bowie; this is the era that spawned the Sweet (Ballroom Blitz), Slade, Mud, Gary Glitter (I was in his fan club at aged 10 but did'nt know his secrets) and the Bay City Rollers.
The great cult favorite, Mott the Hoople were also present, with All The Young Dudes provided by Bowie, as were Roxy Music who'se Brian Ferry became the epitome of jaded style and European cool.
It was another 20 years until we saw Glam again. David and Brian were probably sorry too as Ratt, Twisted Sister, Poison and Cindarella hit the airwaves.
Here are ten songs to get you started.
1. Marc Bolan and TRex: Ride a White Swan
2. David Bowie: Starman
3. Alvin Stardust: My Coo-ca-choo
4. The Sweet: Fox on the Run
5. Skyhooks: Living in the 70's
6. Mud: Tiger Feet
7. Roxy Music: Do the Strand
8. Gary Glitter: Rock & Roll (Hey)
9. Bay City Rollers: Shang-a-lang
10. Elton John: PInball Wizard
Image: Courtesy RCA Rykodisc Virgin