Queen – Killer Queen
We start with the only decent Queen song, and it even has Moet & Chandon in the lyric. As a child the words in this song had me very confused between gelatine and gelignite; unless Freddie actually meant to bring gunpowder to the kids’ party?
Sweet – Blockbuster
The first of a few Chinn/Chapman penned rockers on this compilation. They also wrote for Mud, Suzi Quattro, the Wombles and even Tina Turner. Blockbuster was also parodied by the mighty KLF in their alter ego the Timelords when they combined Chapman’s riff with the Dr Who theme tune for their no. 1 hit Doctorin’ the Tardis , which incidentally included Gary Glitter on backing vocals. Who said there was a formula for making hit records?
David Bowie – John, I’m Only Dancing
I could have picked any one of a number of Bowie’s early 70s numbers. Rebel Rebel also seems fitting, but hey John, I’m only Deejaying.
Iggy Pop – The Passenger
Another iconic artiste and timeless track and a logical follow-on from DB. Iggy, equally at home on punk and glam playlists, also inspires my recommended cover art for this offering.
The Faces – Stay With Me
A great track with swagger and balls and a good example of Rodney before he lost the plot.
T. Rex – Metal Guru
No glam playlist could be complete without a Bolan song or two. Here is Marc at his best. CC even named an old Subaru car he used to have after this one: “Metal Baru, noo ni noo” (see also lyrics that can be replaced with “noo ni noo” elsewhere on this website).
Bryan Ferry – Let’s Stick Together
Curiously similar to Canned Heat’s ‘Let’s Work Together’ , but as Bryan Ferry is frankly as cool as f*ck, who cares? And there’s some great moaning from Jerry Hall too.
Luxury – These Days
Glam does not necessarily mean 1970s. Introducing Luxury, first spotted (by me, in any case) in the movie Austin Powers International Man of Mystery. It’s the honky-tonk piano-rock swinging glam chorus that saves this otherwise ordinary track, with its almost dragging indie-rock verse. But it still makes the list whilst other modernist glammers do not.
Sparks – This Town Ain’t Big Enough
A seminal no. 1 hit from a truly bizarre group. From the opening gunshot through searing guitars, it’s fair to say that without this, Goldfrapp would never have happened.
Rubettes – Sugar Baby Love
From the sublime to the ridiculous. Glam generally has a simplistic RocknRoll subtext. Here’s the exception that proves the rule, a simplistic RnB/ Motown Girl Group subtext, but hey it works and it was the 70s so anything goes. Bop-showaddy-waddy, as they say. Not to mention those oversized flat caps they wore!
Blur – Maggie May
Rod Stewart has already had a look in, so how about a top cover version? Taken from the NME’s Roaring Forty, where contemporary mid-90s bands took on their favourite no.1s, Mr All-bran et al pull this one off with aplomb, possibly second only to Vic Reeves version of Vienna (which wasn’t actually a no.1, being kept off the top spot by Jo Dolce’s Shaddappaya Face). Vic went totally surreal, confusing Austria’s first city with Belgium, criticising the Belgian’s fascist policing skills and imploring Vera to “have a tortellini”. It means nothing to I. Blur on the other hand played it straight. Great use of axe-flip-out amp feedback too as Graham Coxon hits the guitar solo \’85 rock on!
Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel – Make me Smile (Come up and See Me)
I veered away from cover versions with this one though – the diabolical effort by Duran Duran on the flip side of The Reflex is well worth avoiding, especially when the original is a near perfect example of a glam ballad, if there is such a thing. Mr Harley certainly looked the part too. It could be argued he’s since lost the plot, although more in the Julian Cope way than in the Rod Stewart sense.
Roxy Music – Virginia Plain
Great looking band, cool front man, rambling incoherent lyric, odd ending, relentless dance-floor pop bass riff – wonderful!
Mott the Hoople – All the Young Dudes
This is a great song that actually acknowledges the dangers of being a glam rocker (“Freddy’s got spots from ripping off the stars from his face”). Legend has it David Bowie wrote this song for Mott after seeing them live and hearing they were going to split up. The rest is history. It also features Bowie on backing vocals. This title of the song was even parodied by the Clash (All the Young Punks from Give ‘Em Enough Rope in 1978): another few brushstrokes on pop’s rich canvass!
T. Rex – Solid Gold Easy Action
Another outing for glam giant Marc Bolan; the lyric reflects the hedonistic easy-going pleasures of any man with a huge perm and a leopard skin suit.
Suede – The Beautiful Ones
That’s ‘London Suede’ to all you Yankees out there. Swaggering indie rock meets glam never better than in this hit from the 90s. Brett Anderson is cooler than Bryan Ferry – well almost!
Lou Reed – Perfect Day
Not a glam song as such. Not really a glam artist. More heroin chic, a la Trainspotting. Not that I condone train-spotting, although come to think of it I’ll bet a significant number of 1970s glam fans were actually train-spotters as well, I know my big brother was.
Louis XIV – A Letter to Dominique
Glam is alive and well and living in 17th century France (?). Taken from Louis’ 2005 album All the Best Secrets. This band rock, and if it wasn’t for QUIMS I would never had heard of them. I’m pretty certain the music bears homage to Marc Bolan’s Metal Guru, but the lyric about a pretty girl who writes herself a death letter before she suicides and our narrator comments its a shame because there’s no one left to watch her TV is SICK. However it somehow brings glam right up-to-date for the 21st century.
Sweet – Ballroom Blitz
Here’s another Chapman/Chinn effort. Bit poppy this one, but what a stomper! Oft covered, but never matched.
ELO – Livin’ Thing
When Dirk Diggler reveals the real star of the show by getting his nob out to this song during the final act of Paul Thomas Anderson’s debut movie, I realised two things (1) Boogie Nights is a great movie (possibly one of the best ever made – by the way 70s disco will be the subject of Champagne Charly’s Retro Playlist soon), and (2) ELO were a genuinely unique band. It made me get out my 7-inch (!) vinyl copy of ELO’s Livin’ Thing, a single I bought when I was just eight years old. I must’ve known I was onto something, erm, big.
Supergrass – Pumping of Your Stereo
The “Graaaaass” come in musical styles aplenty; from punk sentiment on Caught by the Fuzz through to the Monkees-inspired pop of Alright. Sure, they’ve misfired many times with their over-analysed muso credentials, but whether they’re ‘humping’ or ‘pumping’ on your stereo, this is their rather splendid nod to glam – and a fine way to close the playlist.
What’s not in
Suzi Quattro – Glam is like another 70s invention, the Yorkie, and it’s NOT FOR GIRLS!
Gary Glitter – It’s not for pervs either!
Elton John – see Suzi Quattro.
Mud, Alvin Stardust, David Essex – too poppy
Scissor Sisters – See Elton John.
Slade – as the Stranglers might say “No Noddy, no Noddy, no, no no!”
The Tubes – looked glam but sounded punk. If Iggy Pop can slip into either category, here is an example of a band that can slip into neither.
Showaddywaddy – need I even say why?
Title and cover art
The title would have to be Wham Bam Thank You Glam! (a twisted take on the lyric from David Bowie’s Suffragette City. For artwork I would suggest a still from the movie Velvet Goldmine , featuring either Jonathan Rhys Meyers or Ewan MacGregor as Iggy and Bowie inspired glam stars.
Champagne Charly’s Cocktail Corner
Traditional – French 75
Glam is about looking effete, but being manly underneath. Here is a cocktail that looks like a glass of Champagne, but has a real sting in its tail.
Dash Angosturra Bitters
Chilled Champange (Moet & Chandon for that Killer Queen vibe)
Slice of orange to garnish
Dash bitters onto sugar cube and drop into glass with the Cognac. Top with chilled Champagne and garnish. Stir briefly.
Modern – Cosmopolitan
Here is a proper man’s cocktail, despite being often drunk by women (being as it was popularised throughout the western world by Sex in the City) and it certainly looks girly. Trust me, it\rquote s a burlesque, hairy gender-bender.
50ml Citrus Vodka (preferably Stoli Citros)
25ml Triple Sec
Juice of 1 lime
50ml Cranberry Juice Cocktail (possibly a little more, to taste)
Wedge of lime to garnish
Cocktail flute or Margarita glass
Alternatively can be served on the rocks in an Old Fashioned glass.
Half fill a cocktail shaker with cracked ice. Add all ingredients and shake until thoroughly chilled. Strain into chilled flute. Squeeze a bit of extra lime on top, garnish with lime wedge and serve with a short pink straw (if you dare).
For the ladies – Pina Colada
I’ve told you Glam is not for girls, but if they insist on joining you, make them something sweet, strong and fancy looking that was popular in the 70s and they’ll get the picture.
50ml Caribbean Rum (Barbados Mount Gay is Charly’s particular favourite)
50ml pineapple juice
25ml cream of coconut
100ml crushed ice
Pineapple stick and maraschino cherry to garnish, an umbrella perhaps
Whirl all ingredients in Glenda the Blender, pour into a wine glass, garnish and serve with a straw.