Thursday, October 18, 2012

Rock and Roll - Gary Glitter Greatest Hits

I know that this man is a scumbag in many ways, but goddam if he didn’t create some amazing 70’s rock’n’roll. As part of his glam period (he had been performing since the 50’s), he hit the charts big time with “Rock and Roll Part Two”, ironically an instrumental version (with some “heys” and such) of a number that he also recorded with lyrics, which, for some reason, didn’t resonate with listeners (also included here). His percussive sound is as unique as Slade’s and has since influenced many. Joan Jett popularized several of his tunes - “Do You Wanna Touch Me” (much more inviting and less creepy when sung by a female), “Hello! Hello! I’m Back Again” and “Doing Alright With the Boys” (also given a whole new meaning by Joan). Many more of his songs have been covered throughout the years, from Brownsville Station to the Human League to Die Toten Hosen. He returns the favor (somewhat) by doing a few covers himself, such as “The Wanderer” & “Baby Please Don’t Go”.

Besides the aforementioned, this set includes the fabulous “I Didn’t Know I Loved You (‘Til I Saw You Rock and Roll)”, the fun 50’s-styled rocker “Always Yours” but also schmaltz such as “Remember Me This Way” and “Oh Yes! You’re Beautiful”, giving the listener an idea of the variety (within his idiom) that he was capable of.

Gary’s style practically defined the over-the-top excesses of the Glitter movement that he named himself after. His outrageous outfits (even more so than Slade’s, if you can believe that!), platform boots and make up made him a glam icon, despite his relative age (over 30 when he hit) and his lack of a rock’n’roll-skinny figure.

Oddly, his first hit has since been co-opted by sporting events – something I find nearly as bizarre as the similar fate of “Blitzkrieg Bop” – so, while being vilified for his heinous proclivities, his musical productions continue to entertain.

Not a perfect collection, and nowhere near complete (only 16 numbers here) but pretty damn cool and certainly worth it if you can find it discounted!