Saturday 19 September 2020, 17:40 GMT

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Music Masterclass- Glam Rock

The Sound
 -initially surfaced in the post-hippie early 1970s. Largely an English phenomenon, glam rock had its peak between the years of 1971 and 1973,
-The music was characterised by languid, narcotic ballads and raunchy, high-energy Rolling Stones–influenced rock n‘ roll stylings. Lyrically, the genre's emphasis was most often centered on standard rock themes, but classic literature, mythology, esoteric philosophy, science fiction and especially "teenage revolution
-Although owing a considerable debt to pioneers fusing a camp image with a hard rock sound like Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones, Little Richard, the Kinks, Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett and others, much of the credit for the genre's crucial crystallisation of camp, glamour and raunch is given to Marc Bolan of T. Rex. Bolan scored his first major glam-era "Ride A White Swan" hit in late 1970.

The Look-Glam fans (usually referred to as "glitter kids") and performers distinguished themselves from the denim-clad hippie-hordes with sci-fi/mythological/Hollywood glamour/ambisexual-inspired costumes, which were perceived as glamorous by the press
-The bands themselves were the same deal- With then-recent homosexual reforms in the United Kingdom and the militant Stonewall Riots in the U.S., sexual ambiguity was briefly in vogue as an effective "shock tactic". Some bands took to playing in makeup and drag. However, some glam performers and fans dressed in nostalgic and "space age" costumes (or combinations of the two) ranging from unique interpretations of Victorian, cabaret, and futuristic styles. The best-known example of the "glam spaceman" was David Bowie, during his Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane phases, 1972–73. In early 1972, former singer-songwriter Bowie radically changed his image and sound, telling the press he was "gay" (although he actually meant "bisexual"). Genuinely gay glam musicians were actually quite rare.

The American connection
-In the United States, glam made far less of a commercial impression and was largely confined to enclaves of fans in the cities of New York, Detroit, Cleveland and Los Angeles
-In America, glam rock was most prominently represented by the proto-punk New York Dolls, whose Rolling Stones-influenced rock and roll was matched by their frilly yet macho 'dandified street gang' look.
-During the late 1960s and early 1970s, another key American influence to the development of the glam rock genre was Iggy Pop who came out of the Detroit and Southeast Michigan rock scene. Alice Cooper, also from the Detroit rock scene, combined hard rock music with a 'transvestite' look and a provocative, theatrical stage show, a vague precurser to Glam in style, though not in attitude (Cooper is noted moreso as shock rock). Alice Cooper was extremely successful, but it was cartoon-like metal-pop Kiss (formed New York City, 1973) who became the most enduring of the American glitter bands. In the US, glam was primarily a rock music phenomenon. In the UK, it was popular across both rock and pop spheres

The Girls
In spite of all the sexual identity experimentation, it was a predominantly male-dominated genre. There was, hoever, one noteable exception- Suzi QUatro. Singer and bass plater, she was seen as something of a proto-riot grrll, although the music had none of the feminism and political leanings championed by the likes of the Babes in Toyland and others of the movement.

Where Did It Go?
-Although not a hugely successful genre in term of record sales (nothing like Disco, which became immensely popular over glam rock's declining years), glam's air of wilful decadence, society-baiting clothes, near-cultish behaviour and pop-rock sound were a major influence upon the punk rock movement of the late 1970s. Bowie and Bolan held a huge sway but it was the New York Dolls in particular who most influenced early Punk bands such as the Heartbreakers (which included two ex-Dolls), Ramones, Sex Pistols, Voidoids, Dead Boys, The Damned (with whom Marc Bolan toured during 1977) and Siouxsie And The Banshees.
-In the 1980s, the Los Angeles music scene spawned glam metal bands, including Mötley Crüe, Ratt, Twisted Sister, Poison, Cinderella and many, many others, who were vaguely influenced by Glam in appearance and pop sensibility, but were more akin to metal in attitude and sound
-In the 1990s, Britpop strongly referenced glam rock, with bands like Oasis taking Slade and Mott The Hoople among their primary influences

We Played...T-Rex- RIde A White Swan
David Bowie- Ziggy Stardust
New York Dolls- Wishing For a Kiss
Suzi Quatro- Can the Can
Siouxie and the Banshees- Christine


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