Glam Rock

Awwwww Sweet
Awwwww Sweet

My formative years

People think it's difficult bringing kids up these days, but it's always been that way. With each new generation, there's a new 'scene' and a new fad for parents to get very worried about.

To be honest, the seventies were a real oddity - a space oddity? - because usually it's the girls that have the revealing costumes; The Spice Girls, Abba, Lady Gaga etc. Tight jeans that leave nothing to the imagination and skirts so short that they left even less; but this decade was the men.

At least part of it was.

It wasn't unusual in the early to mid seventies for men to appear in public wearing skin-tight body suits terminating in incredibly wide flairs in incredibly bright colours. In fact, they were so wide, they looked more like one of Jessica Rabbit's dresses. Not to forget the boots and shoes with impossibly high heels and hair that looked so androgynous it was hard to tell one gender from the other.

This was the era I grew up in.

Well that's not quite true. I almost hit my teens when Suzie Quattro, Mud, Sweet, T Rex, David Bowie and Gary Glitter were strutting their stuff. For me, it was difficult to see where one gender started after the other finished. Just listen to the beginning of Ballroom Blitz...

Of course, I got "You're not dressing like that, my lad," from my mum, which in retrospect was no bad thing I suppose and thinking about it now, I probably would have got the 'good-for-the-roses' beaten out of me at school.

I managed to avoid that, but I still got the "There's something weird about him" thing from my step father, which went down like a shattered windscreen with me.

Alright, so I had hair like David Bowie's, though sadly, mum wouldn't let me dye it red, but that didn't mean what I think he thought it meant.

I didn't need platforms anyway - much as I wanted them

Sure I had the flairs, but there were boys at school whose parents were more liberally minded and let them dress slightly more like their pop idols, so I looked somewhat conservative by comparison. I didn't have platforms as I was already knocking on the door of six feet - not that I care how tall they would have made me, it's probably like telling a boy now to pull his trousers up.

Oh how times change. Mine were yanked up as far as they could go and too tight to get anything in the pockets, where now, they look like hand-me-downs that have been given to a smaller member of the family who's too poor to afford a belt or even a bit of string to hold them up.

There was some good music though and whilst at the time I didn't know it, we were only about a hundred yards from Denny Lane, the lead guitarist with Wings, not that I thought much of them back in those days and even now I only like Live and let die.

Slade were a big draw in the early seventies although Dave Hill gave me goose bumps - and not in a good way either before you start raising your eyebrows at me. I thought Steve Andy, Mick and Brian of Sweet were over the top, Dave Hill of Slade just had to go one step further...

Gary Glitter? Who's he?

Along with David Bowie who was my real hero - much to mother's disappointment, I also displayed more disappointing traits like disliking Tom Jones' version of Delilah, preferring instead, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band.

I was still into them further on in '76 when they brought out The Boston Tea Party.

Ride a White Swan and Get It On were staples from T Rex and Rock 'n' Roll by Gary Glitter and the Glitter Band was thumping it's way into everyone's living rooms, but again, that was all too commercial for my tastes. Okay, I cut my teeth on Sweet's music - which sounds very odd to say the least, but then it was that that got me into music and when I discovered Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side, well that really got them wondering.

What can I say. I was just messin' wid they heads :)

I thought it ironic that because I had posters of Suzie Quattro on my bedroom wall, mum thought she was a much better role model.

"Okay," I thought. "You don't want me dressing like the men, but dressing like her would be alright?"

Parents. Do they really know what's what?

Lou Reed and Mott the Hoople

My favourite Lou Reed track was the intro/Sweet Jane from Rock 'n' Roll animal anyway, not Walk on the wild side - even though I do like that one.

Mott the Hoople's All the Young Dudes was another favourite, but then so too was Judy Teen by Cockney Rebel. There was just so much of it out there, or it seemed that way.

Okay, so much of it was rock, but that's the way I liked it. Bowie had a unique style, which is probably why I liked All the Young Dudes so much, but then I also like the Man Who Sold The World, made famous by Lulu, but penned by none other than the master himself - David Bowie.

Lets not forget Roxy Music who were at the forefront at the time and have remained a favourite with me ever since, but not so much songs like Avalon or On the Radio. They have to give way to a track from Country Life that's a particular favourite - Out of the Blue.

I know it's sad, but perhaps I'm caught in something of a time warp.

Time to sing along... All together now

I wanted All the young dudes as it's something of a classic from the time and though I searched, I couldn't find a video that was from the time it was released. This clip has David Bowie on backing vocals and alto sax, Mick Ronson and Brian May on guitars, Roger Taylor on drums, Ian Hunter on vocals, John Deacon on Bass and a host of others in the background who you may or may not get glimpses of. I suppose with a plethora of ex glam rockers, it sort of fits and anyway, since the version of Lou Reed's Sweet Jane just had a picture of the cover of the album, I didn't dare do that again.

RIP 70's

Those of us who remember the seventies do so with no small amount of cringing I shouldn't wonder, but after the sixties, it really did mark itself in history with the fashions and whilst I could go on for hours listing all my fave songs of yesteryear with bands like Golden Erring, Cozy Powell and unpteen others, I think one final song will just about wrap this up.

It has a particular place for me and is probably the best one from my point of view to sum up the seventies.

As it says on the cover of Hunky Dory, Luv-on Ya!

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Comments 8 comments

LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 6 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

Oh Gawd, I forgot about Suzi Quatro, I wanted to be just like her...surprised ol Elton John isn't here, he was more mellow music wise, but Electric Boots, and Sunglasses...he was a pioneer. Thank you for the Flashback!!


Nick B profile image

Nick B 6 years ago from Normandy, France Author

I don't think my mum wanted ME to be like Suzy, I think she had the rest of the band in mind.

As far as Elton goes, he wasn't really one of my heroes I'm afraid, In fact I think the version of Benny and the Jets on 27 dresses was about the best one I've heard.


H P Roychoudhury profile image

H P Roychoudhury 6 years ago from Guwahati, India

I like the song 'life on Mars'


Nick B profile image

Nick B 6 years ago from Normandy, France Author

I'm glad. It's one of my favourites and certainly brings back memories of the time.

Many feel that the seventies belong in the past, but without them, we wouldn't have got this far!


wordsscriber profile image

wordsscriber 6 years ago from California

David Bowie still rocks. Great article.


Nick B profile image

Nick B 6 years ago from Normandy, France Author

Thanks WS. I guess I'm showing my age, but I just don't care.


Keli 20 months ago

Too many comnlimepts too little space, thanks!


Asenka 20 months ago

The owner of my flat decided to sell and since I don't have money to buy, I have to leave. So, I just found a new atnmpreat and signed the contract to move at the end of this month. SMALLER place but cost MORE money! But hey - it's JERUSALEM... location, location, location (I guess).suzanne

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