If the Singer-Songwriters avoided costumes and dance steps and elaborate sets, if they quieted the room down for introspective musings, Glam was the backlash. The theater was back. And there were those among the audience, particularly among the working classes, who wanted their Rock and Roll to be different from everyday life. They didn't want commentary on politics or someone else's relationship, reflections on modern life, and the like -- they wanted a high-end party, with lights and costumes and dance. Just as Hollywood offered some of its most glitzy productions amidst the Depression, when people wanted to get away from the brute facts of life during an economic downturn, in popular music Glam offered audiences just such an escape from the troubles of everyday life.
As this chapter's lessons will reveal, Glam had a few different strands. One strand can be isolated in the work of Slade and Sweet. These groups, comprised entirely of men, wore sequins and high heels but played Rock and Roll. Playing short songs with melodies that grabbed you, featuring guitar-driven hooks and harmonies, these acts recorded hits, just as they meant to. They appeared to be having fun, not looking inward.
But another strand of Glam can be isolated in Bryan Ferry's Roxy Music. Within this chapter, Roxy Music will be analyzed as a kind of cousin to the Pop Art of, for instance, Richard Hamilton in the U.K and Andy Warhol in the States. Straight from art school, the members of Roxy Music, instead of presenting themselves as separate from popular culture, played with it. Ferry approached every element of the band, from the album covers to the music, as a project he was doing as a visual artist. Along the way, he shook up the British scene, helping to clear a way for more art students to make music.
Video pages: Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music - Advertising and Packaging Art (1975) | Sweet - Ballroom Blitz (1973) | T. Rex - Bang a Gong (1972) | Sweet - Blockbuster (1973) | Alice Cooper - I'm Eighteen (1971) | Slade - Mama, Weer all Crazee Now (1972) | David Bowie - Personal Philosophy (1973) | David Bowie - Rebel Rebel (1974) | Alice Cooper - Theater on Stage (1973)