Rock: Part II
of Outrageous Music and Mayhem
Rock. How does such a perverse and heartfelt exaltation of emotional
splatter not only become the chosen music of local scene denizens
but develop deep roots of style that would explode all over the
U.K., Australia and the U.S.A? It was an incredible genre of music
so in love with itself that waves of sexuality exuded from depths
of a freaky collective psyche direct to the core of our inner beings.
It was a vulgar display of outrageousness, with wild costumes, make-up,
sexually suggestive body gestures, and voracious consumption of
alcohol and drugs. But for those who listened, these were only the
points of initiation into the deep underbelly of our beloved and
depraved choice of musical entertainment. How could such depraved
acts be performed live in public and on stage for your entertainment
Art and Glam Rock have been bedfellows long enough to have become
synonymous, and performers in both genres can sometimes create such
a disturbance that the law must intervene to disrupt the proceedings.
This music is so glamorous and hot that the youth who dug it developed
a serious need to groove and get down that back alley, out on the
dirty boulevard, or down a dusty back road to fill some void in
their young lives. Glam showed them that there was a future and
it burned so bright and shiny that the beautiful ones would rejoice,
dance, and sing out loud.
Rock was unable to maintain the high life for more than a few years
because of the half-life built in by its own intensity. Approaching
the end of the 70’s the influence of Glam settled over popular
culture and infected movies, Top 40 Radio, and of course the dreaded
advertising machine that is the STD in any modern creative body.
Glam was co-opted by every sham man in the business and the music
became cheap product. Priorities changed. It was no longer a heartfelt
expression of freaking out the man, but a golden ticket into the
world of the cool kids. By the end of course those buying the faux
product of leftover attitude weren’t aware of the gift of
freedom it had once been. It is never a pretty sight when everything
ends in tear-smeared eyeliner and a vomit of ripped, shiny clothes.
Quatro (1972 to present) Most often recognized as Leather
Tuscadero on the TV sitcom Happy Days, Suzi Quatro has been pounding
out tunes since age 14, starting in the all-girl group Pleasure
Seekers and later joining another all female band Fanny. Having
hit records in various countries since her first release “Rolling
Stone” in 1972, Suzi Quatro has toured, written, and performed
her 50’s greaser styled Glam Rock worldwide and continues
to work to this day. Loved for her strong female front-woman persona
and leather look, she has influenced bands such as The Runaways,
Joan Jett, and the Riot Grrrl movement. Suzi Quatro continues
to be a force to be reckoned with.
(1971to present) Queen incorporated so much sugar and
spice to the music that what could have been convoluted and overbearing
instead became one of the biggest selling Rock bands of all time.
Initially they were Rock n Roll with Prog Rock elements but with
such varying influences as Classical, Show Tunes, Gospel and Funk.
With their second release Queen II the Glam Rock title was first
applied to the band. Unrelenting in musical style, quality, and
performance, Queen was not a fluke. The guys were aware of how
to develop their sound and create the best experience for the
audience. Queen went on after the death of lead singer Freddie
Mercury with Free / Bad Company frontman Paul Rodgers and continue
to tour successfully.
Music (1970 to today) Roxy Music is one of the most consistently
original and quality driven bands of the 1970’s British
scene. The first LP “Roxy Music” was successful and
reached #10 in 1972 as the first single “Virginia Plain”
rose to #4 on the U.K. Charts. Being visually classy and experimental,
the band was deeply influential in Glam Rock, New Wave, New Romantic,
Punk and Electronic music. The musicians in the band were as eclectic
as the instruments they played, which included sax, oboe, synthesizer,
and violin. Although the band was more popular in the U.K., Europe,
and Australia they have had a wide-ranging and lasting impression
on popular music while shifting from their heavier Rock beginnings
to a smooth sound and crooning vocals. Roxy Music continued to
be successful into the early 1980’s with hits like “Avalon”
and “More Than This” with the help of music videos.
The band regrouped in 2001 for their 30th anniversary and toured
(1969 to today) One of the most successful Glam Rock
bands of all time, with seventeen Top 20 hits and six number one
singles written by Noddy Holder and Jim Lea, they have released
over thirty albums during their varied career, and their best-
selling single “Merry Xmas Everybody” sold over 1,000,000
copies. In the early 1970’s they grew their hair long and
wore outrageous costumes to align themselves with the era’s
popular Glam Rock movement. Achieving popularity in the U.K. and
Australia, they recorded Slade Alive!, now considered one of the
best live records ever made. Slade has tried several times to
break into the American music scene without much luck, but have
influenced many bands including Kiss, Quiet Riot, Motley Crue,
Poison, Def Leppard, Oasis, Cheap Trick, Twisted Sister, The Runaways,
just to name a few.
(1968-1982) Formed in 1968, Sweet had their first hit Bubblegum-style
hit "Funny Funny" in 1971. They changed their style
over the next few years to a more Glam/Hard Rock sound and made
it big with “Little Willy” in 1972, “Block Buster!”
in 1973, “Hell Raiser” in 1973, “The Ballroom
Blitz” in 1973 and “Teenage Rampage” in 1974.
Then in 1975 their self-written and produced single “Fox
on the Run” reached number two in the U.K. and has become
one of their most popular songs. Again their style of music changed
to a highly produced, almost Prog Rock sound with the Top 10 hit
“Love is Like Oxygen” in 1978.
are so many more bands on my list to talk about but this is about
all the time and space that I have for now. Listen in to the DJ
MOFO Show 5-7pm Saturday January 7th for the Glam Rock Revue Part
II on kaosradioaustin.org.