Glam rock

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Glam rock is a style of rock music that developed in the United Kingdom in the early 1970s performed by musicians who wore outrageous costumes, makeup, and hairstyles, particularly platform shoes and glitter. [1] Glam artists drew on diverse sources across music and throwaway pop culture, [2] ranging from bubblegum pop and 1950s rock and roll to cabaret, science fiction, and complex art rock. [3] [4] The flamboyant clothing and visual styles of performers were often camp or androgynous, and have been described as playing with nontraditional gender roles. [5] Glitter rock was a more extreme version of glam. [6]

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 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 which drew heavily from the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, 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. Musically, 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.

Glitter assortment of very small, flat, reflective particles

Glitter describes an assortment of small, reflective particles that come in a variety of shapes and colors. Glitter particles reflect light at different angles, causing the surface to sparkle or shimmer. Glitter is similar to confetti, sparkles, or sequins, but somewhat smaller.

Bubblegum pop is a genre of pop music with an upbeat sound contrived and marketed to appeal to pre-teens and teenagers, which may be produced in an assembly-line process, driven by producers and often using unknown singers. Bubblegum's classic period ran from 1967 to 1972. A second wave of bubblegum began two years later and ran until 1977 when disco took over.

Contents

The UK charts were inundated with glam rock acts from 1971 to 1975. [7] 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 include David Bowie, Mott the Hoople, Sweet, Slade, Mud, Roxy Music and Gary Glitter. Those not central to the genre, such as Elton John, Rod Stewart and Freddie Mercury of Queen, also adopted glam styles. [8] In the US the scene was much less prevalent, with Alice Cooper and Lou Reed the only American artists to score a hit. [7] Other US glam artists include New York Dolls, Iggy Pop and Jobriath. It declined after the mid-1970s, but influenced other musical genres including punk rock, glam metal, New Romantic, deathrock and gothic rock.

T. Rex (band) English rock band

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 psychedelic folk albums under this name. In 1969, 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's "Ride a White Swan", and the group soon became pioneers of the glam rock movement.

Marc Bolan British rock musician

Marc Bolan was an English singer-songwriter, musician, guitarist, and poet. He was best known as the lead singer of the glam rock band T. Rex. Bolan was one of the pioneers of the glam rock movement of the 1970s. He died at the age of 29 in a car crash two weeks before his 30th birthday. In 1997, a memorial stone and bust of Bolan, Marc Bolan's Rock Shrine, was unveiled at the site where he died in Barnes, London.

<i>Top of the Pops</i> British music chart television series

Top of the Pops, also known as TOTP, is a British music chart television programme, made by the BBC and originally broadcast weekly between 1 January 1964 and 30 July 2006. The world's longest running weekly music show, TOTP was shown every Thursday evening on BBC One, except for a short period on Fridays in mid-1973, and again in autumn 1974, before once again being moved to Fridays at 7:30 pm in 1996 and then to Sundays on BBC Two in 2005. Each weekly show consisted of performances from some of that week's best-selling popular music records, usually excluding any tracks moving down the chart, including a rundown of that week's singles chart. This was originally the Top 20, changing to the Top 30 during the 1970s and the Top 40 in the 80s. The distinctive TOTP theme tune – a riff of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" – first appeared in 1973 as the background music to the chart countdown.

Characteristics

David Bowie during the 1972-73 Ziggy Stardust Tour David-Bowie Early.jpg
David Bowie during the 1972–73 Ziggy Stardust Tour

Glam rock can be seen as a fashion as well as musical subgenre. [9] Glam artists rejected the revolutionary rhetoric of the late 1960s rock scene, instead glorifying decadence, superficiality, and the simple structures of earlier pop music. [10] [11] In response to these characteristics, scholars such as I.Taylor and D. Wall criticized Glam rock as "offensive, commercial, and cultural emasculation". [12]

Revolutionary person who either actively participates in, or advocates revolution

A revolutionary is a person who either participates in, or advocates revolution. Also, when used as an adjective, the term revolutionary refers to something that has a major, sudden impact on society or on some aspect of human endeavor.

Decadence A perceived decay in standards, morals, dignity, religious faith, or skill at governing

The word decadence, which at first meant simply "decline" in an abstract sense, is now most often used to refer to a perceived decay in standards, morals, dignity, religious faith, honor, discipline, or skill at governing among the members of the elite of a very large social structure, such as an empire or nation state. By extension, it may refer to a decline in art, literature, science, technology, and work ethics, or to self-indulgent behavior.

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. [10] [13] [14] 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. [9] In its beginning, however, it was a youth-oriented 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". [15]

Hard rock is a loosely defined subgenre of rock music that began in the mid-1960s, with the garage, psychedelic and blues rock movements. It is typified by a heavy use of aggressive vocals, distorted electric guitars, bass guitar, drums, and often accompanied with keyboards.

Rock and roll is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s from musical styles such as gospel, jump blues, jazz, boogie woogie, and rhythm and blues, and country music. While elements of what was to become rock and roll can be heard in blues records from the 1920s and in country records of the 1930s, the genre did not acquire its name until 1954.

Alvin Stardust English pop singer and stage actor

Bernard William Jewry, known professionally as Shane Fenton and later as Alvin Stardust, was an English rock singer and stage actor. Performing first as Shane Fenton in the 1960s, Jewry had a moderately successful career in the pre-Beatles era, hitting the UK top 40 with four singles in 1961–62. However, he became better known for singles released in the 1970s and 1980s as Alvin Stardust, a character he began in the glam rock era, with hits including the UK Singles Chart-topper "Jealous Mind", as well as later hits such as "Pretend" and "I Feel Like Buddy Holly".

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. [4] Glam is most noted for its sexual and gender ambiguity and representations of androgyny, beside extensive use of theatrics. [16]

Hollywood District in Los Angeles, California, United States

Hollywood is a neighborhood in the central region of Los Angeles, California, notable as the home of the U.S. film industry, including several of its historic studios. Its name has come to be a shorthand reference for the industry and the people associated with it.

Cabaret venue for a mixed variety show of music & theatrical revue

Cabaret is a form of theatrical entertainment featuring music, song, dance, recitation, or drama. It is mainly distinguished by the performance venue, which might be a pub, a casino, a restaurant, or a nightclub with a stage for performances. The audience, often dining or drinking, does not typically dance but usually sits at tables. Performances are usually introduced by a master of ceremonies or MC. The entertainment, as done by an ensemble of actors and according to its European origins, is often oriented towards adult audiences and of a clearly underground nature. In the United States striptease, burlesque, drag shows, or a solo vocalist with a pianist, as well as the venues which offer this entertainment, are often advertised as cabarets.

Victorian literature literature during the period of Queen Victorias reign

Victorian literature is literature, mainly written in English, during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837–1901). It was preceded by Romanticism and followed by the Edwardian era (1901–1910).

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." [17] Showmanship and gender identity manipulation acts included the Cockettes and Alice Cooper, the latter of which combined glam with shock rock. [18]

Noël Coward English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer

Sir Noël Peirce Coward was an English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer, known for his wit, flamboyance, and what Time magazine called "a sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise".

Mad Dogs and Englishmen (song) song composed by Noël Coward

"Mad Dogs and Englishmen" is a song written by Noël Coward and first performed in The Third Little Show at the Music Box Theatre, New York, on 1 June 1931, by Beatrice Lillie. The following year it was used in the revue Words and Music and also released in a "studio version". It then became a signature feature in Coward's cabaret act.

A gender bender is a person who disrupts, or "bends", expected gender roles. Bending—or "fucking with"—expected gender roles is also called genderfuck. Gender bending is sometimes a form of social activism undertaken to destroy rigid gender roles and defy sex-role stereotypes, notably in cases where the gender-nonconforming person finds these roles oppressive. It can be a reaction to, and protest of, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny or misandry. Some gender benders identify with the sex assigned them at birth, but challenge the societal norms that assign expectations of particular, gendered behavior to that sex. This rebellion can involve androgynous dress, adornment, behavior, and atypical gender roles. Gender benders may self-identify as trans or genderqueer.

History

Marc Bolan of T. Rex performing on ABC's In Concert, 1973 Marc Bolan In Concert 1973.jpg
Marc Bolan of T. Rex performing on ABC's In Concert , 1973

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. [9] 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. [15] Bolan was, in the words of music critic Ken Barnes, "the man who started it all". [15] 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". [19] 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”. [17] T. Rex's 1971 album Electric Warrior received critical acclaim as a pioneering glam rock album. [20] 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!". [21]

Noddy Holder (right) and Dave Hill (left) of Slade, near the height of their fame in 1973, showing some of the more extreme glam rock fashions Noddy Holder - Slade - 1973.jpg
Noddy Holder (right) and Dave Hill (left) of Slade, near the height of their fame in 1973, showing some of the more extreme glam rock fashions

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. [8] 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". [22] Bolan and Bowie were soon followed in the style by acts including Roxy Music, Sweet, Slade, Mott the Hoople, Mud and Alvin Stardust. [8] 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. [23] [24] 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. [7]

Mott the Hoople, c. 1974 Mott the Hoople (1974).png
Mott the Hoople, c. 1974

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, Bon Jovi, and Quiet Riot, some of which either covered Slade compositions or composed new songs based on Slade templates. While highly successful in the single charts in the UK, 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. [25]

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. [6] 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. [8] [26] Quatro directly inspired the pioneering Los Angeles based all-girl group The Runaways. [27] 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. [8] 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, [28] helped end the fashion for glam from about 1976. [25]

Influence

Kiss on stage in 2013 W0854-Hellfest2013 Kiss 69933.JPG
Kiss on stage in 2013

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. [29] Glam rock was a background influence for Richard O'Brien, writer of the 1973 London musical The Rocky Horror Show . [30] 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 and Mötley Crüe. [31]

New Romantics in the UK; acts like Adam Ant and 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. [32] 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. [25]

In Japan in the 1980s, visual kei was strongly influenced by glam rock aesthetics. [33] Glam has since enjoyed continued influence and sporadic modest revivals in R&B crossover act Prince, [34] and bands such as Marilyn Manson, Suede, Placebo, [35] Chainsaw Kittens, Spacehog and the Darkness. [36]

Film

Movies that reflect glam rock aesthetics include:

See also

Related Research Articles

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Glam metal is a subgenre of heavy metal, which features pop-influenced hooks and guitar riffs, and borrows heavily from the fashion and image of 1970s glam rock.

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Gary Glitter Former English glam rock singer-songwriter and musician

Paul Francis Gadd, known professionally as Gary Glitter, is an English glam rock singer who achieved success in the 1970s and 1980s. He was known for his extreme glam image of glitter suits, make-up and platform boots, and his energetic live performances. He sold over 20 million records, had 26 hit singles which spent a total of 180 weeks in the UK Singles Chart; twelve reaching the Top 10, with three charting at number-one. He is listed in the Top 100 UK most successful chart acts. He was imprisoned for downloading child pornography in 1999, and child sexual abuse and attempted rape in 2006 and 2015. Formerly one of the best-loved entertainers in British music history, in 2015 Glitter was described by Alexis Petridis of The Guardian as a "public hate figure".

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Art pop is a loosely defined style of pop music influenced by pop art's integration of high and low culture, and which emphasizes the manipulation of signs, style, and gesture over personal expression. Art pop artists may be inspired by postmodern approaches or art theories as well as other forms of art, such as fashion, fine art, cinema, and avant-garde literature. They may deviate from traditional pop audiences and rock music conventions, instead exploring ideas such as pop's status as commercial art, notions of artifice and the self, and questions of historical authenticity.

Gastank was an English television show that aired between 1982–1983 in the United Kingdom on Channel 4. Hosted by former Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman,, along with keyboardist Tony Ashton, the show featured a mix of interviews with 1970s musicians and impromptu performances where the guest artist would join Wakeman and his house band in playing re-arranged versions of their classic songs, or entirely new pieces created for the show. The format was very informal with the setting likened to a bar where Wakeman would interview the guest over a drink or two followed by their performance in front of a small studio audience sitting in groups at tables. Wakeman would frequently cite the show as an opportunity for musicians from different bands to get the opportunity to work together. During its run, the show featured guests as diverse as Ian Paice, Steve Hackett, Andy Fairweather Low, John Entwistle, Godley and Creme, Eric Burdon and Phil Lynott.

Hype was a band formed by David Bowie in 1970. The band were originally titled The David Bowie Band for their first gig on February 22nd 1970 at the Roundhouse, London. The second Hype gig on the 23rd 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. Bowie settled on the name Hype. "A phone call sparked a discussion over what to call themselves, with a chance remark – “The whole thing is just one big hype” – providing a name that seemed to suit". The band has been credited with helping to form the glam rock scene in the 1970s. The band was also the debut for Mick Ronson when they played at the Roundhouse supporting Noel Redding's Fat Mattress on 22 February 1970.

Brill Building (genre) pop genre that originated in New York in the 1960s

Brill Building is a subgenre of pop music originating from the Brill Building in New York City, where numerous teams of professional songwriters penned material for girl groups and teen idols in the early 1960s. The term has also become a catch-all for the period in which those songwriting teams flourished. In actuality, most hits of the mid 1950s and early 1960s were written elsewhere.

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Further reading