|Cultural origins||Early 1970s, United Kingdom|
Glam rock is a style of rock music that developed in the United Kingdom in the early 1970s and was performed by musicians who wore outrageous costumes, makeup, and hairstyles, particularly platform shoes and glitter.Glam artists drew on diverse sources across music and throwaway pop culture, ranging from bubblegum pop and 1950s rock and roll to cabaret, science fiction, and complex art rock. The flamboyant clothing and visual styles of performers were often camp or androgynous, and have been described as playing with other gender roles. Glitter rock was a more extreme version of glam rock.
The UK charts were inundated with glam rock acts from 1971 to 1975.The March 1971 appearance of T. Rex frontman Marc Bolan on the BBC's music show Top of the Pops , wearing glitter and satins, is often cited as the beginning of the movement. Other British glam rock artists included David Bowie, Mott the Hoople, Sweet, Slade, Mud, Roxy Music and Gary Glitter. Those not central to the genre, artists such as Elton John, Rod Stewart and Freddie Mercury of Queen, also adopted glam styles. In the United States, the scene was much less prevalent, with Alice Cooper and Lou Reed the only American artists to score a hit in the UK. Other American glam artists include New York Dolls, Sparks, Suzi Quatro, Iggy Pop and Jobriath. It declined after the mid-1970s, but influenced other musical genres including punk rock, glam metal, New Romantic, death rock and gothic rock.
Glam rock can be seen as a fashion as well as musical subgenre.Glam artists rejected the revolutionary rhetoric of the late 1960s rock scene, instead glorifying decadence, superficiality, and the simple structures of earlier pop music. In response to these characteristics, scholars such as I.Taylor and D. Wall characterised glam rock as "offensive, commercial, and cultural emasculation".
Artists drew on such musical influences as bubblegum pop, the brash guitar riffs of hard rock, stomping rhythms, and 1950s rock and roll, filtering them through the recording innovations of the late 1960s.Ultimately, it became very diverse, varying between the simple rock and roll revivalism of figures like Alvin Stardust to the complex art pop of Roxy Music. In its beginning, however, it was a youth-orientated reaction to the creeping dominance of progressive rock and concept albums – what Bomp! called the "overall denim dullness" of "a deadly boring, prematurely matured music scene".
Visually, it was a mesh of various styles, ranging from 1930s Hollywood glamour, through 1950s pin-up sex appeal, pre-war cabaret theatrics, Victorian literary and symbolist styles, science fiction, to ancient and occult mysticism and mythology; manifesting itself in outrageous clothes, makeup, hairstyles, and platform-soled boots.Glam rock is most noted for its sexual and gender ambiguity and representations of androgyny, beside extensive use of theatrics.
It was prefigured by the flamboyant English composer Noël Coward, especially his 1931 song "Mad Dogs and Englishmen", with music writer Daryl Easlea stating, "Noël Coward's influence on people like Bowie, Roxy Music and Cockney Rebel was absolutely immense. It suggested style, artifice and surface were equally as important as depth and substance. Time magazine noted Coward's 'sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise'. It reads like a glam manifesto."Showmanship and gender identity manipulation acts included the Cockettes and Alice Cooper, the latter of which combined glam with shock rock.
Glam rock emerged from the English psychedelic and art rock scenes of the late 1960s and can be seen as both an extension of, and a reaction against, those trends.Its origins are associated with Marc Bolan, who had renamed his acoustic duo T. Rex and taken up electric instruments by the end of the 1960s. Bolan was, in the words of music critic Ken Barnes, "the man who started it all". Often cited as the moment of inception is Bolan's appearance on the BBC music show Top of the Pops in March 1971 wearing glitter and satins, to perform what would be his second UK Top 10 hit (and first UK Number 1 hit), "Hot Love". The Independent states that Bolan's appearance on Top of the Pops "permitted a generation of teeny-boppers to begin playing with the idea of androgyny". T. Rex's 1971 album Electric Warrior received critical acclaim as a pioneering glam rock album. In 1973, a few months after the release of the album Tanx , Bolan captured the front cover of Melody Maker magazine with the declaration "Glam rock is dead!"
From late 1971, already a minor star, David Bowie developed his Ziggy Stardust persona, incorporating elements of professional makeup, mime and performance into his act.Bowie, in a 1972 interview in which he noted that other artists described as glam rock were doing different work, said "I think glam rock is a lovely way to categorize me and it's even nicer to be one of the leaders of it". Bolan and Bowie were soon followed in the style by acts including Roxy Music, Sweet, Slade, Mott the Hoople, Mud and Alvin Stardust. The popularity of glam rock in the UK was such that three glam rock bands had major UK Christmas hit singles; "Merry Xmas Everybody" by Slade, "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday" by Wizzard and "Lonely This Christmas" by Mud, all of which have remained hugely popular. Glam was not only a highly successful trend in UK popular music, it became dominant in other aspects of British popular culture during the 1970s.
A heavier variant of glam rock, emphasising guitar riff centric songs, driving rhythms and live performance with audience participation, were represented by bands like Slade and Mott the Hoople, with later followers such as Def Leppard, Cheap Trick, Poison, Kiss, and Quiet Riot, some of which either covered Slade compositions (such as "Cum On Feel the Noize" and "Mama Weer All Crazee Now") or composed new songs based on Slade templates.While highly successful in the single charts in the UK (Slade for example had six number one singles), very few of these musicians were able to make a serious impact in the US; David Bowie was the major exception, becoming an international superstar and prompting the adoption of glam styles among acts like Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, New York Dolls and Jobriath, often known as "glitter rock" and with a darker lyrical content than their British counterparts.
In the UK, the term glitter rock was most often used to refer to the extreme version of glam pursued by Gary Glitter and the independent band with whom he often performed known as the Glitter Band. The Glitter Band and Gary Glitter had between them eighteen top ten singles in the UK between 1972 and 1975.A second wave of glam rock acts, including Suzi Quatro, Roy Wood's Wizzard and Sparks, had hits on the British single charts in 1973 and 1974. Quatro directly inspired the pioneering Los Angeles based all-girl group The Runaways. Existing acts, some not usually considered central to the genre, also adopted glam styles, including Rod Stewart, Elton John, Queen and, for a time, The Rolling Stones. After seeing Marc Bolan wearing Zandra Rhodes-designed outfits, Freddie Mercury enlisted Rhodes to design costumes for the next Queen tour in 1974. Punk rock, often seen as a reaction to the artifice of glam rock, but using some elements of the genre, including makeup and involving cover versions of glam rock records, helped end the fashion for glam from about 1976.
While glam rock was exclusively a British cultural phenomenon, with Steven Wells in The Guardian writing "Americans only got glam second hand via the posh Bowie version", covers of British glam rock classics are now piped-muzak staples at US sporting events.Glam rock was a background influence for Richard O'Brien, writer of the 1973 London musical The Rocky Horror Show . Although glam rock went into a steep decline in popularity in the UK in the second half of the 1970s, it had a direct influence on acts that rose to prominence later, including Kiss and American glam metal acts like Quiet Riot, W.A.S.P., Twisted Sister, Bon Jovi and Mötley Crüe.
New Romantic acts in the UK such as Adam and the Ants and A Flock of Seagulls extended glam, and its androgyny and sexual politics were picked up by acts including Culture Club, Bronski Beat and Frankie Goes to Hollywood.Gothic rock was largely informed by the makeup, clothes, theatricality and sound of glam, and punk rock adopted some of the performance and persona-creating tendencies of glam, as well as the genre's emphasis on pop-art qualities and simple but powerful instrumentation.
Glam rock has been influential around the world.In Japan in the 1980s, visual kei was strongly influenced by glam rock aesthetics. Glam rock has since enjoyed continued influence and sporadic modest revivals in R&B crossover act Prince, bands such as Marilyn Manson, Suede, Placebo, Chainsaw Kittens, Spacehog and the Darkness, and has inspired pop artists such as Lady Gaga.
Its self-conscious embrace of fame and ego continues to reverberate through pop music decades after the death of its prototypical superstar, Marc Bolan of T. Rex, in 1977. As an elastic concept rather than a fixed stratosphere of ’70s personalities, it is even equipped to survive the loss of its most enduring artist, David Bowie.— Judy Berman writing for Pitchfork in 2016, From Bowie to Gaga: How Glam Rock Lives On.
Movies that reflect glam rock aesthetics include:
Psychedelic rock is a rock music genre that is inspired, influenced, or representative of psychedelic culture, which is centered on perception-altering hallucinogenic drugs. The music incorporated new electronic sound effects and recording effects, extended solos, and improvisation. Many psychedelic groups differ in style, and the label is often applied spuriously.
Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the late 1940s and early 1950s, developing into a range of different styles in the mid-1960s and later, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style that drew directly from the blues and rhythm and blues genres of African-American music and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly from a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical, and other musical styles. For instrumentation, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music with a 4
4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.
Glam metal is a subgenre of heavy metal that features pop-influenced hooks and guitar riffs, upbeat rock anthems, and slow power ballads. It borrows heavily from the fashion and image of 1970s glam rock.
The New Romantic movement was a underground subculture movement that originated in the United Kingdom in the late 1970s. The movement emerged from the nightclub scene in London and Birmingham at venues such as Billy's and The Blitz. The New Romantic movement was characterised by flamboyant, eccentric fashion inspired by fashion boutiques such as Kahn and Bell in Birmingham and PX in London. Early adherents of the movement were often referred to by the press by such names as Blitz Kids, New Dandies and Romantic Rebels.
Marc Bolan was an English guitarist, singer and songwriter. He was a pioneer of the glam rock movement in the early 1970s with his band T. Rex. Bolan was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020 as a member of T. Rex.
Popular music of the United Kingdom in the 1970s built upon the new forms of music developed from blues rock towards the end of the 1960s, including folk rock and psychedelic rock. Several important and influential subgenres were created in Britain in this period, by pursuing the limitations of rock music, including British folk rock and glam rock, a process that reached its apogee in the development of progressive rock and one of the most enduring subgenres in heavy metal music. Britain also began to be increasingly influenced by third world music, including Jamaican and Indian music, resulting in new music scenes and subgenres. In the middle years of the decade the influence of the pub rock and American punk rock movements led to the British intensification of punk, which swept away much of the existing landscape of popular music, replacing it with much more diverse new wave and post punk bands who mixed different forms of music and influences to dominate rock and pop music into the 1980s.
Velvet Goldmine is a 1998 musical drama film written and directed by Todd Haynes from a story by Haynes and James Lyons. It is set in Britain during the glam rock days of the early 1970s; it tells the story of a fictional pop star, Brian Slade. The film was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival and won the award for the Best Artistic Contribution. Sandy Powell received a BAFTA Award for Best Costume Design and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Costume Design. The film utilizes non-linear storytelling to achieve exposition while interweaving the vignettes of its various characters.
Cock rock is a genre of rock music that emphasizes an aggressive form of male sexuality. The style developed in the later 1960s, came to prominence in the 1970s and 1980s, and continues into the present day.
American rock has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and country music, and also drew on folk music, jazz, blues, and classical music. American rock music was further influenced by the British Invasion of the American pop charts from 1964 and resulted in the development of psychedelic rock.
British rock describes a wide variety of forms of music made in the United Kingdom. Since around 1964, with the "British Invasion" of the United States spearheaded by the Beatles, British rock music has had a considerable impact on the development of American music and rock music across the world.
Pop rock is a rock music genre with a greater emphasis on professional songwriting and recording craft, and less emphasis on attitude. Originating in the late 1950s as an alternative to normal rock and roll, early pop rock was influenced by the beat, arrangements, and original style of rock and roll. It may be viewed as a distinct genre field rather than music that overlaps with pop and rock. The detractors of pop rock often deride it as a slick, commercial product and less authentic than rock music.
Tiger Feet is a popular song by the English glam rock band Mud, released in January 1974. Written and produced by the songwriting team of Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn, it was the first of three number No. 1 singles for the band, in the UK Singles Chart. followed later that year by "Oh Boy!" and "Lonely This Christmas".
Zolar X is an American glam rock band, founded in 1973. Zolar X became known on the Los Angeles club scene for dressing and acting like space-aliens. They spoke an 'alien language' of their own invention. They are referred to as "Los Angeles' first glam rock band" in the 1998 book Glam! Bowie, Bolan and the Glitter Rock Revolution by Barney Hoskyns.
This article includes an overview of the major events and trends in popular music in the 1970s.
T. Rex were an English rock band, formed in 1967 by singer-songwriter and guitarist Marc Bolan. The band was initially called Tyrannosaurus Rex, and released four albums under this name—three psychedelic folk and one mellow psychedelic rock. In 1969, while developing the style for the fourth album, Bolan began to change the band's style towards electric rock, and shortened their name to T. Rex the following year. This development culminated in 1970 with the song "Ride a White Swan", and the group soon became pioneers of the glam rock movement.
Art pop is a loosely defined style of pop music influenced by art theories as well as ideas from other art mediums, such as fashion, fine art, cinema, and avant-garde literature. The genre draws on the pop art movement's integration of high and low culture and emphasizes the manipulation of signs, style, and gesture over personal expression. Art pop musicians may deviate from traditional pop audiences and rock music conventions, instead exploring postmodern approaches and ideas such as pop's status as commercial art, notions of artifice and the self, and questions of historical authenticity.
Hype was a band formed by David Bowie in 1970. The band were originally titled 'The David Bowie Band' for their first gig on 22 February 1970 at the Roundhouse, London. The second Hype gig on 23 February at the Streatham Arms, London was performed under the name 'Harry the Butcher', for their third gig they were billed as 'David Bowie's New Electric Band' with the subtitle 'So New They Haven't Got A Name Yet'. They were billed to appear at the Fickle Pickle Club in Westcliff-on-Sea on Friday July 17 1970as "Debut of David Bowie with Harry The Butcher".
Brill Building is a subgenre of pop music that took its name from the Brill Building in New York City, where numerous teams of professional songwriters penned material for girl groups and teen idols during the early 1960s. The term has also become a metonym for the period in which those songwriting teams flourished. In actuality, most hits of the mid-1950s and early 1960s were written elsewhere.
Andy Warhol's Pork is the first and only play by Andy Warhol. It was directed by Anthony Ingrassia, produced by Ira Gale, and stage-managed by Leee Black Childers. Pork opened on May 5, 1971, at La MaMa Experimental Theatre in New York City for a two-week run. It was brought to the Roundhouse in London for a six-week run in August 1971.