Marc Bolan Anniversary – Glam Rock NostalgiaFest
Thirty years ago today, Marc Bolan died when his car smashed into a tree. This was much more real to me than the recent death of Elvis Presley. Elvis was King of another generation, while Bolan was a God of Glam Rock, of my own childhood. A rumour spread that Bolan had predicted his death. His car had the number-plate FOX 66IL. And his 1972 hit Solid Gold Easy Action begins with the words: ‘Life is the same, and always will be, easy as picking foxes from a tree’.
I remember, after Bolan’s death, spending an evening re-listening to my collection of Slade, Sweet and Suzi Quatro records. And I’ve done it again today, this time on YouTube instead of vinyl. So, looking back thirty years on, here are my top Glam Rock songs from the early 1970s: >>>
Slade – Cum on Feel the Noize
Slade had an amazing seventeen Top Twenty hits during the early 1970s. Vocalist Noddy Holder, guitarists Dave Hill and Jimmy Lea, and drummer Don Powell morphed morphed from a skinhead band to anthemic Glam rockers, and went on to influence both Punk and Brit Pop. I could fill my top five with Slade songs alone, but here’s their 1973 Number One, Cum on Feel the Noize:
Sweet – BlockBuster / Hell Raiser
Sweet were a camper version of Slade, with more a more pantomime style than the band members really liked. Androgynous vocalist Brian Connolly, guitarist Mick Stewart, Bass player Steve Priest and drummer Mick Tucker eventually shifted to a more music-based pop approach, but until after their 1973 hits BlockBuster and Hell Raiser, which are segued together in this clip:
Suzi Quatro – Can the Can
Suzi Quatro was one of my big childhood crushes after her sudden emergence as a leather-clad yet cute rocker when I was eleven. She seemed to have an endless supply of hits: Can the Can, 48 Crash, Daytona Demon, Devil Gate Drive and The Wild One, then a bit of gap until If You Can’t Give Me Love. All of them great, but I’ll go with Can the Can just because it’s the first time I heard her.
Mud – Tiger Feet
Mud meant crazy choreography and addictively fun music. Vocalist Les Gray, lead guitarist Rob Davis, bass guitarist Ray Stiles, drummer Dave Mount and a bunch of lads in tee-shirts and jeans, doing bizarre dances that everyone tried to master down at the disco. Well, if you were eleven or twelve, anyway. Here’s their first Number One, Tiger Feet.
Alvin Stardust – Coo-ca-Choo / Green Cross Code
Finally, Glam at its absolute maddest. Here’s Coo-ca-Choo by Alvin Stardust followed by one of the greatest things to emerge from the Glam Rock era: a 1976 public information film, in which Alvin Stardust warns two young children against crossing the road without mastering the Green Cross Code.
And now, that public information film. How do kids today survive without all of the safety advice that we got from the telly? There must be thousands dying every day in deep dark water and climbing electricity pylons.
Gary Glitter – Leader of the Gang
This is a tough call, so I’ve left it to last. Gary Glitter was one of my favourite Glam Rockers, but it’s hard to listen to his songs today without thinking of his paedophilia. But, in fairness to the music, here he is with Leader of the Gang: