Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Bowie Connection

When I first began posting in this blog, I touched on the topic of glam rock as a transitional music movement. I mentioned that the era of glitter gods was relatively short and that there were only a few notable commercially successful bands to leap out from that wave.

Do I believe that a glam music influence has been snuffed out over the decades because of this?

Of course not.

I decided that today, since I’m feeling particularly musically existential, I'd take the time and pull down a few branches from the great tree of rock (and beyond) so that we could look at David Bowie and covers. I'd like to show you who was inspired by Bowie's glitter music. Likewise, I'd like to show you some of the artists that worked as a muse to David, too. I've placed an emphasis on genre in my list to show a musical connectedness that not only surpasses time but permiates type as well.

Why David Bowie? Because he is one of the most successful musicians from the this particular musical phase. The man has survived decades of musical twists and his name is still synonymous with glam rock today.

(Disclaimer: I’m aware that this is a long list but it is by no means comprehensive. I chose the tracks which I found most interesting to display. I have labelled the bands in each description with their genre(s) as listed on the, 100% factual, )

David Bowie Covered:

"Across the Universe," from the The Beatles (Genre: rock & pop) album "Let it be", was covered on the David Bowie album "Young Americans."

"Alabama-Song," from the Kurt Weill (Genre: concert hall and classical symphony) album "From Berlin to Broadway", was covered on the David Bowie album "Stage (disc 2)."

"Almost Grown," from the Chuck Berry (Genre: rock and roll) album "Chuck Berry is on Top", was covered on the David Bowie album "Bowie at the Beep."

"God Only Knows," from the The Beach Boys (Genre: rock/surf/pop) album "Pet Sounds", was covered on the David Bowie album "Tonight."

"I Can't Explain," from the The Who (Genre: Rock) album "Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy", was covered on the David Bowie album "Pin Ups."

"I Feel Free," from the Cream (Genre: British blues-rock) album "Fresh Cream", was covered on the road in ’72, later recorded on the David Bowie album "Black Tie White Noise."

"I Wish You Would," from the Billy Boy Arnold & Tony McPhee (Genre: blues) album "Blues Legends: Chicago Blues", was covered on the David Bowie album "Pin Ups."

"I've Been Waiting for You," from the Neil Young (Genre: swing, Jazz, Rockabilly, Blues) album "Neil Young", was covered on the David Bowie album "Heathen."

"Knock on Wood," from the self-titled Eddie Floyd (Genre: soul/R&B) LP, was covered on the David Bowie album "David Live ."

"Where Have All the Good Times Gone," from the The Kinks (Genre: Rock) album "One for the Road", was covered on the David Bowie album "Pin Ups."

"Wild Is the Wind," from the Nina Simone (Genre: jazz, soul, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop) album

"Lady Sings the Blues", was covered on the David Bowie album "Station to Station."

Covered David Bowie:

"1984," from the David Bowie album "Diamond Dogs" , was covered on the Tina Turner (Genre: rock) album "Private Dancer."

"Andy Warhol," from the David Bowie album "Hunky Dory" , was covered on the Stone Temple Pilots (Genre: rock) album "Vasoline."

"Ashes to Ashes," from the David Bowie album "Scary Monsters and Super Creeps" , was covered on the Tears For Fears (Genre: pop) album "Saturnine Martial & Lunatic."

"Diamond Dogs," from the David Bowie album "Diamond Dogs" , was covered on the Beck (Genre: “a pop art collage of musical styles”) album "Moulin Rouge."

"Drive-In Saturday," from the David Bowie album "Aladdin Sane" , was covered on the Morrissey (Genre: alternative rock) album "All You Need Is Me."

"Fame," from the David Bowie album "Young Americans" , was covered on the Duran Duran (Genre: pop rock, synthpop) album "Uncut 2003.03: Starman."

"Five Years," from the David Bowie album "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars" , was covered on the Fish (Genre: progressive rock) album "Songs From the Mirror."

"Golden Years," from the self-titled David Bowie album was covered on the Marilyn Manson (Genre: alternative metal, industrial metal) album "From Highway to Hell."

"Hallo Spaceboy," from the David Bowie album "Outside" , was covered on the Nine Inch Nails (Genre: industrial rock, industrial metal) album "The Oddball Couple."

"Heroes," the title track of the David Bowie album was covered on the Blondie (Genre: new wave, pop rock) album "Blonde and Beyond."

"The Jean Genie," from the David Bowie album "Aladdin Sane" , was covered on the The Dandy Warhols (Genre: alternative rock, psychedelic rock) album "Come on Feel the Dandy Warhols."

"Kooks," from the David Bowie album "Hunky Dory" , was covered on the Robbie Williams (Genre: pop rock, britrock) album "Rules of Life."

"Life On Mars," from the David Bowie album "Hunky Dory" , was covered on the The Flaming Lips (Genre: alternative rock, indie rock) album "This Here Giraffe."

"The Man Who Sold the World," from the David Bowie album "The Man Who Sold the World" , was covered on the Nirvana (Genre: alternative rock, grundge) album "MTV Unplugged in New York."

"Quicksand," from the David Bowie album "Hunky Dory" , was covered on the Seal (Genre: soul, R&B) album "Unplugged."

"Rebel Rebel," from the David Bowie album "Diamond Dogs" , was covered on the Bay City Rollers (Genre: bubblegum pop) album "David Bowie."

"Suffragette City," from the David Bowie album "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars" , was covered on the Alice in Chains (Genre: alternative rock, grundge) album "Boot! ."

"Suffragette City," from the David Bowie album "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars" , was covered on the Red Hot Chili Peppers (Genre: alternative rock, funk rock) album "Slap Happy."

Saturday, March 14, 2009

What's in a name? Confusion sometimes.

Well, they aren’t an Eagles cover band and they don’t sound like Cannibal Corpse or Cradle of filth. They’re just...well, they’re just “the Eagles of Death Metal” (EODM).

The band, led by Jessie “The Devil” Hughes, has made quite a name for itself. They first jumped into the Los Angeles rock scene riding the coattails of their producer and part-time drummer, Josh Hommes, of Queens of the Stone Age.

How can I describe this band? Okay, take a few LPs from the 70s: a little Bad Company, some Canned Heat, a bit of T.Rex and a touch of Zappa” and you get something close to what these guys create musically. Now, it’s not perfect, but it’s pretty damn entertaining.

So, what make EODM glam-ish? Well, besides Jesse Hughes’ over-enthusiastic performances on stage, their act is woven around a music that is stuffed with pure, sweet, ultra-hip glitter vivaciousness. That is, the music is about as glitter as glam can get. Songs express a taste for sex, drugs, fame, androgyny, and boogeying. last time I checked, these words were pretty much the definition of glam (See last week’s post if you don’t believe me, sucka'). When asked about the bands influences, Jesse Hughes always places an emphasis on the importance that early to mid 70s rock and glam rock music play in their approach to music.

Glamtastic Review: The album I’d like to have a look at today is EODM’s first, entitled “Peace, love, and Death metal”. What do we have here? The album starts out with the wispy sighs and chunky power chords of “I only want you”. This track was the first single released from the album and it sounds kind of like a sped up “Time of the Season” by “The Zombies”, though the chorus of the EODM tune isn’t nearly as good of course.

The second track, “Speaking in Tongues”, is one of my favourites. The intro, which is reused as a sort of instrumental chorus, is damn catchy. The song is about the urge to dance and that is all you need to know.

A couple other songs that really clung to the ear were “So easy” and “Bad Dream Mama”, both of which made good use of cool, laid back percussion and soothingly simple guitar solos.

The band even manages a half-decent cover of Stealers Wheel’s “Stuck in the Middle with You”, relabelled “Stuck in the Metal”, a tip of the hat to the music that inspired the band.

I think what really makes this album fun, even on multiple listens, is the effort(?) placed into keeping the album raw. The record almost sounds like a crappy demo...but in a good way. That is, They’ve kept a few outtakes and little conversations here or there in between tracks. I guess it’s just an element that made me feel more involved in the album, like I was sitting behind the mixing board, listening to the group banter.
What I Like About the Album:

-Songs about dancing made me think about dancing.
-The guys don’t go out of their way to seem showcase their musicianship, but the album is still ridiculously catchy because of its simplicity.
- These lyrics: “I said HO! I got this feeling and it's deep in body, It gives me wiggles and it makes my rump shake”.
- The outtakes and one-liners between tracks.

What I Don't like About the Album:

-“Witchy Woman”, “Tequila Sunrise”, “Take it Easy”, and “Hotel California” not on this record (joke).

Verdict: There isn't much that I can say negatively about the album, I thoroughly enjoyed it. "Peace, Love and Death Metal" comes off sounding unfinished or raw but with today's overly produced music, it's a welcomed contrast. It's a good listen if you're interested in an updated glam era sound.
4/5 bottles of your mother’s make-up

"Speaking in Tongues" live on Conan O'Brien. This is unfortunately the best copy I could find of this performance...but it's a good one. See if you can spot the back-up clappers and their nifty mustaches.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Jitterbug! Jitterbug!

Glam rock as defined by the world (Wikipedia)

I was pondering to myself the other day and in said pondering, I thought: “I know what glam rock is, there are definitions here and there but really, it’s more than some characteristics in a description. Glam rock promotes a certain feeling in an, how do I Explain it?”

What is this glitter feeling? Where does it come from? How do we release it? Do we even want to release it? Well, we’ve all felt that “glam rock feeling” at one point or another.

You know that twist in your stomach when Tim Curry first pops up in the “Rocky Horror Picture Show”, hugged tightly in women’s lingerie, and moaningly belches out the opening lines to “Sweet Transvestite”? The “glam rock feeling” is kind of like that...

You don’t know what that feeling is? You’ve never seen the Rocky Horror Picture Show? Gasp!


You know when you’re driving in your car and the opening to Wham!’s “Wake me up” plumes out of the radio and you start to sing along at the top of your lungs--not because it’s campy, but because the song infiltrates your soul and squeezes passionate, rhythmic harmonies from your core-- and then you’re getting ready to launch into the second verse but you notice that the vehicle next to yours is filled with teenagers and they’re all pointing and laughing at you and you feel hurt but, oh, then that chorus comes along, and you scream it anyway, singing, singing, SINGING, tinny tears pushing themselves as far away from you as possible?

*pause for breath*

... That is the “glam rock feeling”, people!

You know when you go on a bender and post some incredibly abstract, meandering, seemingly-pointless entry on your blog and then you wake up the next morning and realize the whole world has caught you at your worst?


It is awkward! It is entertaining! It is fun! It is RELEASE!

*End rant, tip out of chair*

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Roxy Music: Mixed Pleasure

Today we're going to have a look at a band that steered away from the well-established glam rock norms of the early 70s to create a sound which would inspire many bands in the following decades. The group kept certain staples of glitter--particularly lyrical content and stage presence--while adding new experimental sounds, techniques and timings. The group arguably pioneered many of the elements of the new wave genre popularized in the 80s with bands like the Cure or the Talking Heads.

Rocker Profile: Roxy Music began its formation in November 1970. The group was a revolving door for several musicians including front man Brian Ferry, the prominent singer/song-writer and keyboardist of the group. The band tasted its first critical success with its self-titled debut in '72. The album single "Virginia Plain" gained the group their first television appearance on the BBC's "Top of the Pops", an appearance which instantly launched the group into the European mainstream. Their second album, "For your Pleasure", saw the group opening up and using their talent and creativity to stand apart from some of the cookie-cutter glam acts of the early seventies. After many critical ups and downs and endless rotations in the band's line-up, Roxy Music disbanded in mid 83.

Glamtastic Review: Roxy Music's "For your Pleasure" is not an easy listen. The band, riding on the critical positivity of it's first release, used their sophmore album to broadcast its darker, musically strange, ideas. Songs like "Grey Lagoons" and "Bogus Man" weave an unstructured and sporatic musical template, sprinkled with short verses of surreality. Many of the songs on the album push the four or five minute mark making them less radio-friendly. Length alone doesn't make the music on "for your pleasure" unworthwhile. In fact, there are several incredibly catchy tracks on this record, one of my favorites "beauty queen" includes incredible, slowly bleated melodies by Ferry. What makes this album hard to grasp as a listener is the consistently inconsistent experimentation throughout the piece. There are far too many ideas compressed into the eight tracks. Many great albums, particularly from this decade, successfully integrate musicianship and experimentation. Pink Floyd's the dark side of the moon for example, was released within a week of "For your Pleasure" and it still impresses with originality today. "For your Pleasure" simply falls flat with bland breakdowns and odd audio tinkering.

What I Like about the Album:

-The album strays from many glam rock norms, it pushes and succeeds largely at standing out from the rest of the glitter scene of the 70s

-The band is really talented. One listen to "Grey Lagoons" is enough to prove to any listener that the group is made up of seasoned veterans.

-A lot of the filler on the album is seemingly improvised with talent. It simply isn't variable enough to keep the interest of the audience.

What I Don't Like about the Album:

-The vocals don't provide anything special. The lead vocalist has a very limited range.

-Many of the songs are needlessly lengthy brimming with out-of-place filler in an attempt to beef up a short track list.

-The record simply isn't fun to listen to in it's entirety. Different musical ideas in “For your Pleasure” bombard the senses.

What makes this album glam?

-Androgynous vocals coupled with shredding guitars.

-Flamboyant, artistic presentation of sound.

Verdict: For your Pleasure places a clear spotlight on the group as talented instrumentalists but it places far too much emphasis on the use of out of place flashy effects. The band certainly pushes for a darker glam sound with eerie lyrics and experimental effects manipulation but this approach isn’t very successful. Though enjoyable in spots, the album simply comes off as overly artsy.

3 bottles of your mother's make-up out of 5

Roxy music: "Do the Strand"

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Try a Little R&R for a Good Time

Nope, no album autopsies today folks. Today we have a look at a film. What’s the name of the film? Well, what do you label a Canadian animated, post-apocalyptic skip through an alternate New York City, sprinkled with over-the-top, drugged-out rat-rockers? “Rock and Rule” of course.

Rock and Rule was Canada’s first feature-length animated movie. It was produced by “Nelvana” and was originally released to Canada in 1983. Though the film gained an underground audience in the years following its release, the film did very poorly in its theatrical debut. Nelvana practically went bankrupt because of the flick which was partially due to the fact that the movie was geared towards an adult audience.

What’s the film about? Well, I think the post-title narration dictates this well:

The War was over...
The only survivors were street animals; dogs, cats and rats. From them, a new race of mutants evolved. That was a long time ago...

MOK, a legendary superocker has retired to OHMTOWN, there his computers work at deciphering an ancient code which would unlock a doorway between this world and another dimension.

Obsessed with his dark experiment, MOK himself searches for the last crucial component--a very special voice.”

A local OHMTOWN rock and roll act holds the key to MOK’s strange plans and the flamboyant antagonist spends the bulk of the film chasing down the female vocalist of the group so that he can use her voice to summon a demon from hell. Confused? Well, yeah, me too.

What I like about this flick:

-The animation is spectacular. Many of the talented artists behind this project went on to have fruitful careers with Disney and Warner Brothers. Many of the techniques used in the film are still extraordinary 25 years later.

-The soundtrack gathered artists from across the music spectrum. Talents like: Debbie Harry, Cheap Trick, Earth Wind and Fire, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed add a musically-filling framing for the great visuals. A lot of the tracks in the film were originally scored specifically for “Rock and Rule”

-Mok, the antagonist character is over-the-top and endlessly entertaining to watch.

-Omar and Angel, the protagonists in the film, sing a love ballad in unison to banish the 80 foot-tall, flaming spawn of satan.

-Great music interludes tossed in here and there, visually tasty.

What I don’t like about this flick:

-The story is ridiculous. If my description of the film is a little hard to wrap your mind around, it really isn’t my fault. A couple of years ago I had the chance to speak with one of the artists that worked on the film and he told me that the constant re-writes and endless staff partying ensured that the storyline became second to the look and feel of the film.

So, what makes this film “glam”?

-Rock and Rule is basically about the musical transition from 70s glam rock to 80s metal. Mok, the evil glam rocker is trying to cling to fame by any means necessary but in the end the world embraces the new music of the protagonists.

-Mok was designed to look like a mixture of Mick Jagger, David Bowie, and Iggy Pop. These three musicians were arguably the evolutionary chain of glam, from rock and roll to punk.

-The storyline, though insane and underdeveloped, is something that could have easily been concocted by the glitter rockers of the mid 70s. The plot is so strange that it’s perfect for glamrock.

Verdict: Rock and Rule is a fun movie. The story line crumbles within minutes of the opening credits but the music and visuals alone make the film a treat.
3.5 bottles of your mother's makeup out of 5

"My name is MOK" by Lou Reed. This is one of my favourite interludes followed by one of my favourite scenes in the movie.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

"Come on feel the noise"'s Slade

This week I decided to try something different with the layout of this blog, including the addition of the appropriately glam "bottles of your mother's makeup" rating system (patent pending).

Slade never hit it big in North America but they had their share of #1 singles in the UK. In fact, in the early years of glam, Slade was out-charting glitter superstars like David Bowie and Marc Bolan. The band is responsible for 17 top 20 songs in the UK and are cited as influences to post-glam groups like “Kiss” and “The Ramones”.

Rocker Profile: Slade is a band from the West Midlands, England. At the peak of their popularity, the band consisted of: Noddy Holder on vocals and rhythm guitar, Dave Hill on lead guitar, Jim Lea on Bass and Don Powell on drums. The band was pieced together from the leftovers of several unsuccessful English groups. From 1971 to 1975, the band released several successful albums, the two most acclaimed being “Slayed?” in ’72 and “Slade in Flame” in ’75. The band also released a popular Christmas tune entitled “Merry Christmas Everybody” which resurfaces every holiday season in Europe.

Glamtastic Review: Today we’ll have a look at Slade’s third studio album, “Slayed?”. The album charted well mostly in the UK and Australia. It is notably darker than other early 70s glam efforts. The album’s gritty sound, with its anthem choruses and seemingly sporadic guitar noodling, serves as an obvious precursor to later rock acts like “Twisted Sister” and “AC/DC”. In fact, Noddy Holder’s coarse voice sounds incredibly similar to the vocals of the late AC/DC front man, Bon Scott.

What I Like About the Album:

-Songs like “Look at Last Night” and “The Whole World’s Goin' Crazee” are lyrically playful, powerful tunes, that speak on rock and roll stardom in both a grounded and surreal fashion.

-Bassist Jim Lea manages to stick out from the rest of the musicians, his wickedly hopping, vocal-mimicking bassline in “More Over” is fun.

-“Let the Good Times Roll” is a strong and catchy track with a great guitar breakdown in the interlude as well as at the end of the track.

What I Don’t Like About the Album:

-Many of the songs feel too similar. Slade sticks to a certain formula for every track on this album: a couple of lines for the verse, than a yelled anthem chorus. This formula is repeated and an interlude or solo is tossed in here or there. Slade does perform these types songs well but there needs to be some variation.

-Most of the songs aren’t very fulfilling lyrically. Cliché or cheesy lines pepper many of the record’s verses. Here’s an example from “We’re all goin’ Crazee” that made me shake my head a little: “We all get our kicks, playing in a rock and roll band, There’s nothing like the feeling when you give it all you got, and people want to shake you by the hand,”

-Like the actual song structure, the song themes themselves do not vary enough from track to track. With the exception of only a couple of songs on “Slayed?” most of the album is about either kicking a girlfriend to the curb or partying and finding a new one.

Verdict: I enjoyed “Slayed?” overall but it felt like rich glam rock filler, catchy but with very little creative substance.

3.5 bottles of your mother's makeup out of 5

"Mama Weer All Crazee Now" from the album "Slayed?"

band image from
album image from

Sunday, January 25, 2009

How to Apply Glitter...

Researching for this blog gives me the chance to appreciate some great bands. I get to recall some gems I haven't heard in years and I even happen upon some great new music info from time to time. That being said, parusing the dusty corners of the interent's lengthy glam rock tomb doesn't always bring about glitter gods. Some bands fall a little short of the idea of glam, others are just plain lost.

So, the question is: What makes good glam music good and bad glam music...not so good? Well, I decided to run you through a couple of clips and point out some details to help sreamline your judgment on the topic.

This is "The Sweet" with "Ballroom Blitz". You probably recognize the track. It has been used countlessly in television commercials, video games and movie soundtracks. This is glam rock good. Why?

-The song sports a simplistic, crunchy rock riff, catchier than the common cold. Good glam rock keeps things simple and memorable.

-The lyrics are out of this world. Surreal scenes and sounds are paramount in the glitter rock scene.

-The spoken lyric breaks are great, probably one of the most memorable elements as they create the hectic atmosphere of the "ball".

-The band looks like it's ready to go trick or treating. Glam rock is about the looks of the band members just as much as it is about the music. If the band doesn't have you guessing the sanity or sexuality of at least two band members, it fails visually. No exceptions!

This is "Sparks" with "Get in the Swing". This band gained limited success in the glam rock scene in the 70s. Sparks later became far more popular in the UK when they devoted their efforts to developing a "new wave" sound in the early 80s. This is glam rock bad. Why?

-The song strays from simplisity. It has several sections, none of which are attractive to the ear. Let's face it, the song sounds like it would be played during a montage in an after school special, most likely when a character is learning the merits of hard work. This is not glam.

-The costumes are bland. I'm not sure whether the vocalist is wearing shoes but I am sure that those short shorts aren't glam.

-There ARE at least two men in the group that make you question their sanity and sexuality...but in "Get in the swing" it simply does not add to an out-of-this-world presentation of what is supposed to be a flashy, mixed media.

-The lyrics are grounded and uninterestng despite a brief call to the Gods in the interlude of the song.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

"Ziggy Played Guitar..."

Last week’s entry focused on Marc Bolan, the man who set the tone for glam rock in the early 70s. Today we’ll look at tge man that took Bolan’s glam rock foundation to a stellar level.

Rocker Profile: David Jones, later relabelled David “Bowie”, first entered the music scene at a young age. Like Bolan, Bowie first began to make a name for himself writing and performing psychedelic folk tunes for an underground audience. One of these tracks, recorded in 1969 for a self-titled album, was the popular “Space Oddity”. This song was recorded to coincide with the moon landing and it quickly climbed the UK charts. It was soon after Bowie’s first tastes of artistic and commercial success that he teamed with the most influential collaborator of his glitter phase, Mick Ronson. Ronson contributed to five Bowie albums in the seventies, including the popular “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars” and “A Lad Insane”, two records which unified a space-aged glitter sound with astronomical visuals. The Ronson albums became well-known for Bowie’s experimentally androgynous stageshow . He dawned layers of sparkling makeup, platform heals, and tight lycra jumpsuits onstage. David focused on creating a visual personification of the flashy and weird glam rock sounds of the 70s and he became extremely successful because of it.

Glamtastic Review: We’re going to have a brief look at Bowie’s “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars”. The album begins with the apocalyptic “5 years”, a slow, piano driven track that lays the groundwork for the album. The song successfully introduces bizarre imagery; the world is close to an end and everyone seems to be learning to cope with the dark atmosphere. It’s a fantastically ear-tugging opener. The album boasts many chugging, distorted tracks like “Suffragette City” and “Star”. The track “Hang Onto Yourself”, with its clap track and frantically simple bass, sounds as though it would fit in perfectly with any early "Ramones" record. I think the most prominent gems on the album are the slower tracks, though. Songs like “Starman”, “Rock and Roll Suicide” and “Ziggy Stardust” take their time with simple melodies which frame Bowie’s interesting and energetic voice. Bowie has an absolutely stunning range, his highs are practically feminine on the record. “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” is a fantastic concept album, it jumps from different ideas in a near apocalyptic world inhabited by spaced out rockers. This album IS "glitter". Listen to it a couple times.

"Starman" live

Bowie black and white from:
Album artwork from :

Friday, January 16, 2009

It Came From...Everywhere?

Glitter, flamboyance, fashion, freedom, sexuality, surrealism, emotion, sound, expression, colour, confidence, art, rhythm, glam, glam, glam.

Welcome to glam rock, a strange, sense-encompassing musical movement popularized in the mid 70s. Also known as “glitter rock”, glam music takes pinches of popular culture and presses them together firmly in one happily-odd art.

Glitter rock’s revolutionary rise to mainstream popularity was short but powerful. The movement, arguably a transitional phase, ushered the rise of many talented musicians. Pioneering glam rockers took influences like blues, country, Motown, doo-wop, rock and roll and the dream-like tunes of the post-hippie movement and used them to create something radically new, setting the foundation for generations of musicians.

This blog focuses on the brave men and women behind the boas: the history, the music, the albums and the musicians they inspired.

Rocker Profile: The first prominent figure in the world of glitter rock was a corkscrew curled boy from Hackney, London. Marc Feld, later relabelled“Marc Bolan”, found moderate musical success in the London underground as a folk artist. It was after he shed his Dylan-esque image and worked an electric guitar into his act that his band, “Tyrannosaurus Rex”, began steadily appearing in the UK charts. After rearranging the group’s line-up and shortening their title to “T.Rex”, Bolan began working with producer Tony Visconti. Bolan and Visconti collaborated on several of T.Rex’s more commercially successful albums: “Electric Warrior” in ’71, “The Slider” in ’72, and “Tanx” in ’73.

Glamtastic Review: Today we’ll have a look at the album that started it all, “Electric Warrior”, Bolan’s first full-length venture into electric rock. The album was a risky move for a once thriving folk artist. Electric warrior consists of sixteen tracks that display Bolan’s diverse musical interests. The album opens with “Mambo Sun” a track which incorporates a deeply metallic, bouncing rhythm guitar with Bolan’s imagery-focused, dream-like lyrics. Bolan playfully dives into takes on his blues and rock influences in many of the tracks including “Lean woman blues”, “Jeepster”, “The Motivator” and the popular “Bang a Gong (Get it it on)”. These tracks explode with a sort of energetically playful freedom, almost a boastful exhale for the once unplugged musician. That isn’t to say that there aren’t nods to Bolan’s folk roots in Electric Warrior. The musician smoothly blends his new sound with the steady pulsing strums of his classic folky ballads. Across the record, songs like “Life’s a Gas” or “Girl” pay tribute to his musical past. “Cosmic Dancer” an existential folk tune is punctuated with crooning moans and the whispers of a fine string arrangement which displays the marriage of Bolan’s old ideas with a new sound in a fresh way. This album was all about change for the artist and it is a fantastically well rounded sampling of meandering musical ideas. If you have a chance, do yourself a favour and check it out.

That's it for "RMWB" for today. Tune in next time for a spaced out guitarist and his out-of-this-world arachnids... untill then, check out the "Random Glam Clip of the Day":

David Bowie and Marc Bolan perform, Marc tumbles offstage. This was Bolan's last appearance, he died only nine days later in a car accident.

* all album artwork from