The History of Alternative Music, Lesson #3: Glam Rock

8.9 glam rock

After the blistering sounds of proto-punk (or garage) rock in the 60s gave way to the Bo Diddley-based beat sweetness of bubblegum pop, the next progression occurred mainly in the United Kingdom, though there were a few artists from the USA who got in on the fun of Glam Rock, or what we can back in the day “Glitter Rock”. For the first time, the keen fashion sense of the Brits were being intertwined with bubblegum’s beat and the aggressive guitar sound of the proto-punks and reading in the local papers these artists were part of this Glam Rock scene.

8.9 slade

Although the actual Glam scene only lasted two to five years, the influence of the genre could eventually felt in punk, new wave, in addition to the New Wave of British Heavy Metal in the UK and Glam (or Hair) Metal in Los Angeles. In others, without Glam Rock of the ’70s, we would not have experienced the two major scenes of the Eighties: New Wave and Hair Metal.

8.9 suzi quatro
Suzi Quatro

Now, if the truth be told, many of the artists of the Glam Rock era could be included in Bubblegum (before Sweet dropped the “The” in their name, The Sweet was a Bubblegum artist) and proto-punk (like the Iggy Pop-led Stooges and the New York Dolls). It’s as if Bubblegum was all jacked up on Mt. Dew and steroids, or the proto-punks took to wearing glittery clothing and started hitting the drums extra hard.

8.9 sweet

The other thing that Glam brought to the table that was important to an artist’s image was androgyny. The famous Bob Seger lyric from “Turn the Page” summed up this era best when he sang:

“Most times you can’t hear ’em talk, other times you can
All the same old clichés: “Is that a woman or a man?”
And you always seem outnumbered, you don’t dare make a stand.”

Still, that guesswork was important to the images of David Bowie or Jobriath, who happened to be the first openly gay rock artist.

8.9 jobriath

Finally, the last thing was the lyrics. The lyrics to glam rock songs were much like bubblegum rock songs in that they both were full of double entendres. Seriously, drop your naivety and actually READ the lyrics of these genres songs in order to understand what those thinly veiled words were actually saying. The songwriters were definitely attempting to see how much they could getaway with as far as the censors were concerned.

8.9 New York Dolls, 1970s (40)
New York Dolls

Now that you have a better understanding of Glam Rock, here is my list of My Favorite 75 Glam Rock Songs. Enjoy!

  1. David Bowie – “Suffragette City” (1972)
  2. Mott the Hoople – “All the Young Dudes” (1972)
  3. Queen – “Killer Queen” (1974)
  4. Rex – “Get It On (Bang a Gong)” (1971)
  5. Alice Cooper – “School’s Out” (1972)
  6. Elton John – “Bennie & the Jets” (1973)
  7. Sweet – “Ballroom Blitz” (1974)
  8. Lou Reed – “Walk on the Wild Side” (1972)
  9. Alice Cooper – “No More Mr. Nice Guy” (1973)
  10. Brian Eno – “Needle in the Camel’s Arm” (1974)
  11. Slade – “Cum on Feel the Noize” (1973)
  12. New York Dolls – “Personality Crisis” (1973)
  13. The Stooges – “Search and Destroy” (1973)
  14. Suzi Quatro – “Devil Gate Drive” (1974)
  15. Sweet – “Fox on the Run” (1974)
  16. Roxy Music – “Virginia Plain” (1972)
  17. Ian Hunter – “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” (1975)
  18. David Bowie – “Starman” (1972)
  19. Rex – “20th Century Boy” (1973)
  20. The Kinks – “Lola” (1970)
  21. KISS – “Rock and Roll All Nite” (1975)
  22. Roxy Music – “Love Is the Drug” (1975)
  23. Alice Cooper – “I’m Eighteen” (1970)
  24. Jobriath – “Space Clown” (1973)
  25. David Bowie – “Space Oddity” (1969)
  26. David Essex – “Rock On” (1973)
  27. Rex – “Metal Guru” (1972)
  28. Roxy Music – “Do the Strand” (1973)
  29. Suzi Quatro – “Can the Can” (1973)
  30. Sweet – “The Six Teens” (1974)
  31. Electric Light Orchestra – “Roll Over Beethoven” (1973)
  32. Slade – “Mama Weer All Crazee Now” (1972)
  33. Wizzard – “See My Baby Jive” (1973)
  34. Cockney Rebels – “Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)” (1975)
  35. Bay City Rollers – “Saturday Night” (1975)
  36. Gary Glitter – “Rock and Roll (Part 2)” (1972)
  37. Sweeney Todd – “Roxy Roller” (1975)
  38. Cockney Rebel – “Tumbling Down” (1974)
  39. Sweet – “Teenage Rampage” (1974)
  40. Be Bop Deluxe – “Axe Victim” (1974)
  41. Mud – “Dyna-mite” (1973)
  42. David Bowie – “Ziggy Stardust” (1973)
  43. HELLO – “New York Groove” (1975)
  44. The Arrows – “I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll” (1976)
  45. The Osmonds – “Crazy Horses” (1972)
  46. Gary Glitter – “Do You Want to Touch Me” (1973)
  47. Heavy Metal Kids – “She’s No Angel” (1976)
  48. Geordie – “Don’t Do That” (1972)
  49. Hotlegs – “Neanderthal Man” (1970)
  50. Mott The Hoople – “The Golden Age of Rock ‘N’ Roll” (1974)
  51. David Bowie – “Rebel Rebel” (1974)
  52. John Kongos – “Tokoloshe Man” (1971)
  53. Hector – “Wired Up” (1973)
  54. Kenny – “The Bump” (1974)
  55. Sparks – “This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us” (1974)
  56. Mud – “Tiger Feet” (1974)
  57. Gary Glitter – “I’m the Leader of the Gang” (1974)
  58. The Jook – “Bish Bash Bosh” (1974)
  59. Bonnie St. Claire – “Clap Your Hands” (1974)
  60. Lulu ft. David Bowie – “The Man Who Sold the World” (1976)
  61. Showaddywaddy – “Hey Rock and Roll” (1974)
  62. Cozy Powell – “Dance with the Devil” (1973)
  63. Rocky Horror Picture Show Cast – “Sweet Transvestite” (1975)
  64. Slik – “The Kid’s a Punk” (1976)
  65. Be Bop Deluxe – “Ships in the Night” (1976)
  66. HELLO – “Teenage Revolution” (1976)
  67. Cockney Rebel – “Sebastian” (1973)
  68. Angel – “Good Time Fanny” (1974)
  69. Kenny – “Fancy Pants” (1975)
  70. Sweet – “Hell Raiser” (1973)
  71. Todd Rundgren – “Sometimes I Don’t Know What to Feel” (1973)
  72. Slade – “Coz I Luv You” (1971)
  73. Barry Blue – “Do You Wanna Dance” (1974)
  74. Iron Virgin – “Rebels Rule” (1974)
  75. Alvin Stardust – “My Coo Ca Choo” (1974)

Happy Hump Day everybody! Just two more History lesson days left! No test either. See you tomorrow! Now, where’s my Slade album?

Author: ifmyalbumscouldtalk

I am just a long-time music fan who used to be a high school science teacher and a varsity coach of several high school athletic teams. Before that, I worked as a medical technologist at three hospitals in their labs, mainly as a microbiologist. I am retired/disabled (Failed Back Surgery Syndrome), and this is my attempt to remain a human. Additionally, I am a serious vinyl aficionado, with a CD addiction and a love of reading about rock history. Finally, I am a fan of Prince, Cheap Trick, Tom Petty, R.E.M., Hall & Oates, Springsteen, Paul Weller & his bands and Power Pop music.

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