INTRODUCING GLAM ROCK
How was Glam Rock a reaction to the "seriousness" of popular music at the time?
In the wake of the somber introspection of the Singer-Songwriter movement, Glam Rock brought a sense of theater back to Rock and Roll.
With artists such as James Taylor and Gordon Lightfoot becoming major figures on the international popular music scene, many considered Rock and Roll to be losing its connection to the "show." For listeners who grew up with R&B, it was clear that things had shifted. If a James Brown live show included dance, costume, and theatrics, a James Taylor live show included none of that. Earnest, stripped down, often presented by a solo artist with a guitar or piano, the music of the Singer Songwriter movement aimed at intimacy and honesty.
Glam Rock was a kind of reaction, an unsettling opening up of the possibilities. It took different forms, from Roxy Music's Pop Art approach to Slade's back-to-basics Rock and Roll to David Bowie's theater of identity. But, across the board, it brought the "show" back to popular music.
This preliminary lesson centers on an investigation of Glam as a reaction. Through a set of comparisons, students will be asked to describe what they see as Glam Rock's fundamental characteristics.
Upon completion of this lesson, students will:
Show the class two clips: the first of Slade performing "Mama Weer All Crazee Now" and the second of Sweet performing "Blockbuster." Ask the students to explain why, based on these clips, these two acts were grouped in with the Glam Rock moment.
1. Have students read and respond to the article from Rock's Backpages about David Bowie, written by Lenny Kaye. How, they should ask themselves, does Lenny Kaye write about David Bowie's identity, about his theatrical style, about his showmanship? And, lastly, how might he describe a performance by a Singer Songwriter like Jackson Browne?
2. Design and create cover art for a Glam Rock band of your own creation.
3. Assign students to research the artists Andy Warhol and Marcel Duchamp, both of whom are mentioned in the Rock's Backpages article about Roxy Music. Why might those artists be important to a Glam Rock performer such as Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music. For additional information about Ferry, see the two interview clips in the resources.
College and Career Readiness Reading Anchor Standards for Grades 6-12 for Literature and Informational Text
College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening for Grades 6-12
Speaking and Listening 1: Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
Speaking and Listening 2: Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Language for Grades 6-12
Core Music Standard: Responding
Analyze: Analyze how the structure and context of varied musical works inform the response.
Interpret: Support interpretations of musical works that reflect creators' and/or performers' expressive intent.
Evaluate: Support evaluations of musical works and performances based on analysis, interpretation, and established criteria.
Core Music Standard: Connecting
Connecting 11: Relate musical ideas and works to varied contexts and daily life to deepen understanding.