Classic Rock AUGUST 2018 - by Chris Roberts


As the '60s turned into the '70s, much of rock was getting a bit po-faced and serious and losing some of its sparkle. Then someone stuck a platform boot in and put fun, flamboyance, excitement, colour and glitter back into music. Glam rock, in all its glad rags and make-up, had arrived.

"Are you ready, Steve?" Some say it was T.Rex's Hot Love on Top Of The Pops in 1971. Others insist it was Bowie's Starman the following year. Some claim it wasn't as simple as that. Others say it was the simplest thing in the world. Tony Visconti, the era's key producer, told in his autobiography of a gig by his band The Hype in 1970 in which he wore "a white leotard, silver crocheted briefs and a green cape" and David Bowie sported a leotard and "several diaphanous scarves". "We were heckled initially and called a variety of homosexual epithets. For me, this will always be the first night of glam rock."

One thing's for sure: when glam rock exploded on to our TV screens - and for most it began as a TV phenomenon - the world seemed to suddenly burst into glorious colour. This teenage rampage was the gateway drug to thrilling guitar music for a generation who wanted their own controversy and kicks, not their elder siblings' Beatles, Stones and Dylan. We wanted our own revolution. And in a brief but bold and beautiful blitz of glitter, feather boas, sky-high boots and stomping proto-punk anthems, we got one.

The new stars seemed like superheroes from another galaxy, not blokes next door - even if they were blokes next door. Hysteria ensued as Britain dived into a heady velvet goldmine. From the electric ego of Marc Bolan, to the art-rock of Bowie and Roxy Music, to the irresistible rush of Slade and Sweet, to opulent others who decorated the bandwagon, glam rock was provocative, narcissistic and necessary. The '60s were dead. Long live the '70s.

Glam somehow coaxed into its very camp tent everything from sci-fi futurism to rock'n'roll revivalism, from cabaret to bubblegum. Critics, preferring to spend five hours analysing a Bob Dylan lyric, hated it. But the youth knew better. Up-and-coming stars sensed a change in the weather, and started dressing accordingly.

Andy Scott: Quite frankly it all starts with Elvis - rock'n'roll performed with pizzazz. Then we all heard Rock And Roll Part 2 by he who shall not be named ever again, and it threw us back to Gary U.S. Bonds' New Orleans - all that compressed rhythm. Of course each generation of kids wants its new heroes. Noddy Holder said to me we took the baton of the late '60s and dressed it up.

Dave Hill: It was totally original. It was crazy at times. Frenetic. In the '60s we had The Beatles phenomenon, but most things in life were black and white. Glam rock transferred everything to colour.

David Bowie, NME, 1969: I refuse to have my hair cut or change my appearance for anybody.

Marc Bolan, NME, 1970: The success of Ride A White Swan is a gas. T.Rex haven't even started yet. We haven't reached a zenith. I know what people want and I feed the media.

David Bowie, Melody Maker, 1971: Quite honestly, I'd prefer to work in the theatre. I prefer to work with a proscenium arch. On the Hunky Dory sleeve it's a pretty dress. It's purely decorative. England is tolerant.

Tony Visconti, remembering The Hype in his book Bowie, Bolan And The Brooklyn Boy: This was the time when rockers had long, shaggy hair and beards, and the dress code was check flannel lumberjack shirts and torn jeans. In contrast, we were glamorous. I didn't it at the time, but when we saw photos, Marc Bolan was visible resting his head on his arms on the edge of the stage, taking it all in. He never admitted he even went to the gig.

Steve Harley: At age seventeen or eighteen I was sitting cross-legged, smoking a joint, watching Tyrannosaurus Rex singing A Beard Of Stars. Which was fabulous at the time. Then Marc realised that to get on the telly he needed a breakthrough. So why not become androgynous?

Andy Scott: Bolan was the one who kicked it off, really, at the end of '71. We did an awards show in Germany because we'd been told we'd won it. But he had. Anyway, we all went up on stage and he's there in his shiny jacket and satin loon pants and a hint of Biba make-up glistening under his eyes, as if he'd been crying. We looked like children's entertainers by comparison, all yellows and reds and stars and Mickey Mouse.

From that moment, we changed. I went down to Kensington Market and King's Road with Mick [Tucker, Sweet drummer], and although we didn't have two brass farthings to rub together, we 'invested'. Then you see us on TV in seventy-two and there we are in taffeta, satin and lurex. After we'd had a couple of hits, Andy's in Goldhawk Road made me a pair of boots for free and said: "Show them to your mates." Next thing, he had a queue there. And that was the starting point of the sandwich soles and three-inch heels.

Dave Hill: Yeah, the glitter thing was Bolan, really. He was the first person I'd seen with a teardrop thing under his eye. He came across as charismatic, which as an extrovert I related to. You couldn't take your eyes off the guy. Nice bloke, too. Get It On was a great record. He knew how to be in the camera. After that I started to put glitter under my eyes on Top Of The Pops.

David Bowie, NME, '71: Two years ago I used to be the most serious of serious people. But I mean, I've now reached the age of twenty-four. How can anybody be a serious pop artist at the age of twenty-four?

Steve Harley: David had got a break with the re-release of Space Oddity, and Mary Flanagan at the Beckenham Arts Lab, where I'd been playing for free during intervals, asked me to headline one Sunday. That was the first time I ever got paid, deputising for Bowie. I got fifteen pounds that night. Before that I'd earned eighteen pounds a week as a newspaper reporter.

Johnny Marr, from the book Top Of The Pops by Ian Gittins: When I was eleven or twelve and saw my favourite group T.Rex doing Metal Guru on Top Of The Pops, it bordered on the mystical. I didn't know what to do. I was in total shock, and I just got on my push bike and rode and rode until it was dark. I ended up miles from home, not really knowing where I was, and my family were really worried about me.

Steve Harley: I was at the Ivor Novello Awards a couple of years ago, and I went over and said hello to Johnny Marr. He was staring and staring at me, then he said: "Mr. Soft! First record I ever bought!"

Andy Scott: It's not true that my amp blew up when I auditioned for The Sweet. It wasn't actually my amp, it was just the rehearsal room's. It fed back and there was this incredible, almighty squeal like nothing you've heard. I turned round and Mick said: "Well you're in, then." They liked the danger of it all.

Marc Bolan, Melody Maker, 1971: Imagine the police officer getting more and more uptight as he watches me on television while his daughter is going through an erotic experience and being turned on... I've known I was different right from the moment I was born.

Bryan Ferry, 2001: It felt new, in a way that it doesn't now when you go and see a band. Even though Bowie was around at the time, doing very good things, his was basically a guitar band, Mick Ronson being a wonderful guitarist. But with Roxy there was oboe, sax, all the synthesizer sounds, the treated instruments. It was a lot to take in. People went: "Woah!" Ha, I enjoyed that! Being different. All these worlds to explore, all equally fascinating. You could take it here, there and everywhere.

Noddy Holder, NME, 1971: We haven't always used vulgarity. It stemmed from when we got smashed one night and it just came out. It went down a storm and we've used it ever since. We just pummel their brains until they give in. It's a kind of release valve.

Fifteen-year-old fan Noelle, Melody Maker, 1972: I used to like Keith Emerson. Now Marc Bolan is the only one for me. Keith is just a good-looking pop star, whereas Marc has got everything. There's the way he wriggles. His body actually ripples. It's too much.

The safety catch was off, the genie was out of the bottle, and glam's moonage daydreaming was now the main (star)man. Electric Warrior, Ziggy Stardust and Roxy's debut proved there were great albums in the air, but it was a hurricane of hit singles that caught the essence of its ephemeral giddy magic. Everyone, trying to outdo each other as pop's premier peacocks, got their glad rags on and got swishy.

Phil Manzanera, 2001: The dressing up was always part of the fun of Roxy. People tend to overlook the humour. At first it was just us and Bowie doing it. The more extreme we got, the bigger the reaction. It was a bit of theatre. It also gave us something to do to conquer the nerves and feelings of amateurishness before we went on. It'd be: yes, more make-up, more outrageous costumes! We had lots of friends in fashion. It was never prearranged. We never saw each other's stuff until five minutes before the set, so we'd turn up and freak each other out.

Suzi Quatro: First off, I'm not really glam rock. But that was the era that I began, so I'm lumped in there. Think about it: plain black leather, no make-up. I was exactly the opposite to all the glammers. My stuff was straight-up rock'n'roll. I toured with Slade just before I had my own hits. It was their first UK tour. I had fifteen minutes. Noddy always says: "The fans used to really hate our support groups, but you they loved."

Steve Harley: The journalists hated it. They wouldn't say goodbye to Woodstock. At age twenty I had a Damascene moment and let go of my flares and barefoot busking. We had to move on. I shot myself in the foot by saying something like "Led Zeppelin are dead". Then I spent several days in LA with Robert Plant and he never mentioned it. It was all just showbiz bravado, the arrogance of youth, and nobody took any of it seriously.

David Bowie, Melody Maker, 1972: I'm gay, and I always have been. I'm just a cosmic yob, I guess. I'm not outrageous, I'm David Bowie.

Dave Hill: David Bowie? I didn't take all that much notice of him, personally. Obviously we were aware of his success, but the girls were copying Bolan and me.

Andy Scott: We were on the same Top Of The Pops as Starman. Mick Ronson and Trevor Bolder told me they were about to go on, and they still had no money. Then Bowie arrived with these satin suits. Trevor went: "I'm not fookin' wearing that!" And Bowie said: "It's a deal-breaker, you wear it or you're out." So they did. Later that night they went off to do a gig somewhere, and all the girls were screaming at them. So it swiftly became a case of: "Hey, where's my outfit?"

Dave Hill: We used to come down from Wolverhampton to London... I went to Kensington Market; I think Freddie Mercury was working there at the time. I saw this long coat. I said, "Black doesn't look good on stage, but silver would." "We can do that," the guy said. Another guy looked at my boots and said: "I can make you higher ones." Cutting edge! Because I was short, I asked if he could make it two or three wooden platforms, and put stripes of colour up the sides. So suddenly I was ten feet tall! And the first time on Top Of The Pops, of course it just beamed out of the ruddy telly! Everything together made this explosion of: "What the heck's this?" It was a new form of fun."

Suzi Quatro: That explosion felt to me like the natural antidote to peace and love. Everyone had been writing meaningful protest songs, and the fun had to come back. And the crazy outfits. My God! Most of the guys dressed like women. Talk about gender benders. Coming from the US, arriving here in seventy-one, it was a culture shock for me. It took a while to get into the British sense of humour and character. Tell you the truth, I'm not sure whether the acts invented glam rock, or glam rock invented the acts. The chicken or the egg.

David Bowie, Nashua Telegraph, 1972: I think glam rock is a lovely way to categorise me, and it's even nicer to be one of the leaders of it.

Steve Harley: Were there rivalries? My mascara's blacker than your mascara? Sure, but even the highbrow among us were wearing feathers and eyeshadow. Roxy were clever. It was just their way of getting a foot in the door.

Then there was the [hitmaking duo] Chinn and Chapman bubblegum side of things. They did a great job of presenting lightweight songs to these guys - Sweet, Mud - and getting them a bigger audience, and that's fantastic. Okay, they're not literary figures, of course, but you don't have to be. Nothing wrong with that.

Suzi Quatro: Two different things. There was Bowie and Roxy Music - they were the intellectuals, y'know? The other side was more the 'have fun' attitude.

Dave Hill: I'd go in the dressing room, and the others would line up outside and shout: "Come on, what've you got this time?" Then I'd come out in my costume and I'd be, on one occasion, the 'metal nun'. Bizarre idea, really. Nod would laugh, and Jim would sigh, and Chas [Chandler, manager] would go: "David, I think we've got another number one." I'd go: "You write 'em, lads, and I'll sell 'em." And don't forget, I'd been signed by the man who managed Jimi Hendrix. I'd like to think I'm pretty good on guitar too!

Andy Scott: Don't get me wrong, we had a ball. As a band we thoroughly embraced success - and excess. Okay, one or two veered into... the dark arts. Steve Priest in our band, obviously, and Dave Hill in Slade. But the music of both bands has got something. There's a reason those records are still played: personality.

Dave Hill: Rivalries? Only in a sense. It's a bit like tennis players. You get on well with this other tennis player, you're friends, but when you get on that court you're going to play to win, aren't you? I wanted to make sure that whatever had been on Top Of The Pops before us, I'd get my bit in, bobbing around by Noddy because the singer gets the most camera.

Bryan Ferry, Melody Maker, 1972: Virginia Plain is a bid to get on Top Of The Pops, actually - just a way to get to meet [TOTP's female dance troupe] Pan's People.

David Bowie, Melody Maker, 1972: Marc and I are just terribly polite to each other all the time. I'd never say we're competition, because we're at different ends of the spectrum. He has his own fantasy worlds. He's lovely.

Suzi Quatro: I had no role model. I wasn't like a pioneer, I was a pioneer. I couldn't look at anybody and say I'd like to do that. I was a one-off. It had to happen sooner or later, right? And it fell on my shoulders. Because I actually don't do gender.

Andy Scott: Yes, we embraced glam - maybe too much, mate. If you look at the clips, by the time we're at Ballroom Blitz [late '73] we're already stepping back slightly, moving on to denim and chains and studs. We'd done Blockbuster with Steve Priest dressed as Kaiser Wilhelm, with his hat and his bit of black masking tape under his nose. People don't realise glam rock only lasted about eighteen months, '72 and '72. By seventy-four, people like ABBA came along and in my head it was all a done deal. We were starting to make inroads in America, and the last thing we were going to do there was dress like Christmas trees.

Ian Hunter, Mott The Hoople, Melody Maker, 1972: We were looking for material, and David [Bowie] sent us a demo of Suffragette City. Anyway, we split up in Switzerland. So Overend [Watts, bassist] phoned David to thank him for the demo and told him the news. David went quite mad on the phone about it. Three hours later he rang Overend again, and in that three hours he's written All The Young Dudes. He said, "If you want to split, then split. But please do this number first."

David Bowie, 1999: I was basically an extremely shy, reticent person. I really was. I could never have talked like this to you when I was that age. I felt incredibly insecure about my own abilities of communication on a one-to-one level. So that front was very useful to me. It gave me a platform from which to talk to people - I talked to them as Ziggy. Some of me came through, but it got kinda twisted through the persona of Ziggy, who was a bit of a diva, a... crazed mirror. One of those funny fairground mirrors. It was sort of David Jones in there somewhere, but... not really.

While some began to edge away from wearing foil, smartly sensing glam's perfect transience, others blazed in to dominate the charts. Songwriting/production team Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman may never be afforded the kudos granted to Bowie, Bolan and Roxy, but their run of pyrotechnic pop for Sweet, Mud and Suzi was as much the soundtrack of the times as any highfalutin concept about green-jumpsuited bisexual Martians. For every Ziggy, an Alvin, Elton, Rod and Wizzard had tagged along.

Meanwhile, in a parallel universe, American deep thinkers like Alice Cooper and Lou Reed were asked to explain what it all "meant", and with some this-town-ain't-big-enough feuds, there were signs of trouble in paradise.

Suzi Quatro: Chinn and Chapman's success speaks for itself. I wrote most of the albums, but their singles put the commercial face on me, which is what they were good at. They saw my gig, got the vibe, then went away that night and wrote Can The Can . And it was absolutely perfect. Tailor-made. I still work with Mike to this day. What do the lyrics mean? Oh, 'can the can' is an American phrase when you keep something safe - you put it away, by 'canning' it. And 48 Crash was about the male menopause. Bet you're glad you asked now.

Andy Scott: In those early days, everybody's happy to be on the bus. Chinn and Chapman were a new partnership, enjoying their first success. Phil Wainman [producer] had been a session drummer and writer - he co-wrote The Yardbirds' Little Games - and The Sweet came along at the right time for him. We got away from the nursery rhymes and put more meat in the material, some attitude. Journalists said you might be okay introducing David Cassidy to your mother, but the last people she'd want you to take home would be The Sweet.

Mike Chapman, Melody Maker, 1974: There's nobody better in the world than we are. We are the best, that's obvious. We can't help it. Give the kids some credit because they buy the records. Kids aren't stupid, you know. They're clever. Instead of reading Alice In Wonderland, now they listen to Sweet or Slade. We're dealing with teenage feelings. What a wonderful world it would be if everybody acted like teenagers. If everybody could have that all over again. We live in a fantasy world. Everybody in the pop business does.

Les Gray, Mud, Melody Maker, 1974: We went to a showbiz party where we could sense they were all thinking: "They don't deserve it." So we just left and went down our local pub for a drink with the lads, away from the poseurs.

Alice Cooper, NME, 1972: How can anyone say that there's such a thing as bad taste, when the top box-office movies are A Clockwork Orange and Straw Dogs? I'm two people. On stage I'm Mister Hyde. Everyone would like to release their Mister Hyde at some time. I release things for people. I act out their fantasies.

Lou Reed, NME, 1972: Roxy Music? Don't like 'em. I saw them at the Bowie concert, and we were all waiting to be impressed. They bored me. Alice Cooper? The worst, most disgusting aspect of rock.

Steve Harley: Someone asked Bryan Ferry if he thought Steve Harley was a poet, and he said: "Well... he trades under that guise." Hilarious! Was he mocking me? I don't give a tuppenny damn. It was such a beautiful remark. Roxy were only using the glam thing. I got the impression Paul Thompson on drums behind them hated it almost as much as Mick [Ronson] did with David. I mean, Ronno was from Hull. Silvery glittery trousers and boots and make-up were anathema to him.

Mick Ronson, Melody Maker, 1973: At the moment, having a gay image is the 'in' thing, just like a few years ago it was trendy to walk around in a long grey coat with a Led Zeppelin album under your arm.

Ian Hunter, Melody Maker, 1972: The last thing we want to be called is 'camp'. There's only one person who can do that well, and that is David. And he's not a fairy. We ain't fairies - not one guy in the band is.

David Bowie, 1999: I'd play up to it. I enjoyed playing up to it. Y'know, it was a laugh. But when you're doing that and you're drugged out of your mind it becomes an altogether more serious matter. Because then you really do get into it, in an unhealthy fashion. You've gone away, and you don't really come back out of it again.

Marc Bolan, Melody Maker, 1973: Glam rock is dead. It was a thing, but now you have your Sweet, your Chicory Tip, your Gary Glitter. What they're doing is circus and comedy.

Slade were soaring, we wanted Sweet, but Bolan, the prettiest star, was teetering on his perch as the craving for the new moved on restlessly. Bowie was shifting character. Cockney Rebel, Sparks and Queen were emerging. Yet it was Wolverhampton's noisiest who were racking up a stream of straight-in-at-number-one singles. Glam wasn't always quite as fey, foppish and Noel Coward-inspired as people often think.

Dave Hill: When we really took off, by 1973, I'd say nothing could touch us at that time. We were on top of the pile. Glam is just colourful rock, a way of expressing yourself. People go: "Oh my God, some of those costumes you wore. Were you ever embarrassed?" Well, I never was. I actually got off on it! It's vaudeville, it's entertainment.

Andy Scott: The guitar solo in Teenage Rampage is a nod to Ritchie Blackmore. The play-out over the fade of Ballroom Blitz, I'd been listening to a lot of Jeff Beck. It was the only way I could keep sane. You've got to put something in there that you're happy with. One journalist said me and Mick Ronson were the guitar sounds everybody wanted in the glam rock period.

Tony Visconti, Melody Maker, 1973: Things happen in cycles. The reason it might appear that Marc is on the way down now is that there are outrageous things happening. He paved the way for Bowie, who wouldn't have been possible without Bolan coming along first.

Marc Bolan, Melody Maker, 1973: I don't want to go on the road now for fear of being caught in the dying embers of glam rock. I don't feel involved with it, even if I started it. It's not my department any more, and personally I find it embarrassing.

Mick Tucker, The Sweet, NME, 1973: The Sweet are the band that everybody is frightened to like.

Steve Harley: See, when the original Cockney Rebel came along, the glam-rock movement was well under way. Marc, David, Mott and Roxy had already made a fun, indelible mark. Within weeks of each other, EMI signed ourselves, Queen and Pilot. And within months of that we'd all had Number 1s. But, not to be pompous, you have to differentiate between the glam-rock game and what Freddie and I were trying to do, which was theatrics, bringing theatricality into pop music. Bohemian Rhapsody came two years after my Sebastian and Death Trip - that's my contribution.

Freddie Mercury, Melody Maker, 1973: Although the camp image has already been established by people like Bowie and Bolan, we are taking it to another level. We want to be dandy. We want to shock and be outrageous. Instantly.

Suzi Quatro, Melody Maker, 1973: Y'know, the men are prettier than the women these days. Take Bowie, he makes me feel real ugly.

David Bowie, NME, 1973: I don't think Aladdin Sane is as clear cut a character as Ziggy was. He's a situation, as opposed to being an individual. A lot of people have got a very definite idea of what Ziggy represents. I would not want to shatter anybody's private movie.

Andy Scott: Our shows would open with The Stripper playing, then there was a countdown, ten to one, until on the big screens a rocket exploded in the moon's face. This was interspersed with a woman taking her clothes off. Oh, and the number one turned into a penis which goes into the mouth of the moon, and you heard the 'ker-pow!' opening of Hell Raiser. It was banned in many places.

Dave Hill: We used to get into trouble. We did two shows at the London Palladium, which was a little posh. The balcony was moving because our fans were stamping so hard, so there was concern about the second show, for safety reasons. My dad had come down because the Palladium was the pinnacle of everything. But they never had us back. I ran into ABBA, who were just starting to make it, and they said: "We understand your crowd break the seats?" I said: "Well they don't do it on purpose, they just get excited, you see." It's not like they're sitting down having a glass of wine. Our music is driven.

Andy Scott: There were a few who just thought it was hip to say they were bisexual. We weren't, of course. People thought we were. I had dark green or blue lipstick on. Brian would only paint a star on his cheek or something. Steve Priest had no problem. Of course, as we toured Europe, we realised there was this whole gay following, with Steve as their vanguard.

Dave Hill: I was living next to a girls' school, which was not the best idea, but there you go. I couldn't go outside in the daytime. Five hundred screaming thirteen-year-olds next door. They were all banned from the house, but you'd see them in the bushes, hiding, puffing fags. We had one of those tree houses, and I'd go down the garden and find a picture of Donny Osmond in it. I'd be disgusted: what's that doing in my tree house? We only lived there a short time.

Andy Scott: For the chants of "We want Sweet!" at the beginning of Teenage Rampage, we lifted this BBC recording of girls shouting outside our Rainbow show. Then we all went in and shouted "We want Sweet!" a few times to boost it. Mike [Chapman, producer] said he wanted the ending's repeats of "Now! Now! Now!" to sound like one of the Nuremberg Rallies. That for me was our final glam rock moment.

Dave Hill: We were young then. You're gonna do anything when you're twenty-odd. We did Kensington Olympia, and [influential music writer] Nick Kent said we were the most important band of the time. And it was our time. We never abused things. We were approachable. We never became overly decadent.

Ron Mael, Sparks, Melody Maker, 1974: The secret of English bands is rotten teeth. Everybody thinks it's their boots, or some mythical heritage. But if you ever have a better dental service, none of the English bands will be making it.

When was it going to come down? When was it going to land? Perhaps the most bittersweet epitaphs to the glory of glam were Bolan's poignant (Whatever Happened To The) Teenage Dream? (which failed to make the Top 10 in February '74) and Mott The Hoople's late-'74 eulogy Saturday Gigs (which failed to make the Top 40). The Sweet's The Six Teens was also a layered farewell to innocence. Although glam's influence on image, society, gender roles and short, sharp sonic shocks would resonate always, the launch party was all but over. But oh what a much-needed blast. Wham, bam, thank you glam.

David Bowie, 1999: I was having a ball at first, and then around the end of that Ziggy period I found drugs in a major way. If that hadn't happened, I wonder how different life would've been... But I can't dwell on that. In all seriousness, that's why it all went wrong, then, when I was virtually on top of the world. I can't say it wasn't fun, the whole of that time was terrific.

Steve Harley: Yes, the song Mirror Freak was about Marc ("You can shuffle your hips or m-m-Mae West your lips"), but I'd never met him then. I was saying goodbye to glam rock in it. I didn't like the Narcissus complex they all had. Then we became good friends for two years before he died. I met him in '75 at Cliff Richard's birthday party in a King's Road restaurant. I was sitting next to Cliff, and Marc was opposite. We hit it off instantly. Gloria Jones [Bolan's girlfriend] was going frequently to LA at that time, so he was alone a lot. And they'd just moved into this house in Roehampton, where they were living when the car crashed [killing Bolan]. It was never ready to live in, it was just a shell inside. The plumbers hadn't gone, the chippies, the sparks. They were all still there, taking the piss, really, taking his money. Bad things went on down there. Then his guitars all went missing as soon as he died.

David Bowie stayed over more than once. There was only one bed, so he and I crashed on the living room floor. Cos you'd get too pissed to get home. Marc would come over to mine in Marble Arch to watch re-runs of The Prisoner every week, and we'd write songs. I've still got those cassettes. Marc was always on. Like Sammy Davis Junior. Pure showbiz. Open the fridge door and he'd do a twenty-minute slot. I adored him. Mad as a box of frogs.

Suzi Quatro: The defining glam moments? Well, Devil Gate Drive for me is one of those great party records which you can't fake. It just gets you up. Let's see... Blockbuster, Cum On Feel The Noize, Virginia Plain... What a great, colourful era it was!

Phil Manzanera, 2001: There's this thing called Roxy Music, which is bigger than all of us individually. You say 'Roxy Music' and your mind is free to wander into all sorts of areas and fantasies. When all these bands say they're influenced by Roxy, maybe they mean the idea of Roxy.

Andy Scott: Were The Sweet the missing link between The Archies and Anarchy In The UK [as Simon Reynolds suggests in his book Shock And Awe]? Yes, I can see that. I'm proud of the legacy. It's difficult to come to terms with the fact that maybe you've influenced a generation. Somebody will come up after a show in Germany and introduce their grown son, Andy Scott Weber.

David Bowie, New York Daily News, 2002: Glam really did plant seeds for a new identity. A lot of kids needed that sense of reinvention. Kids learned that however crazy you may think it is, there is a place for what you want to do and who you want to be.

Dave Hill: Glam rock? Basically I am it. I lived it. I'd never speak in any negative way about it. It was going to happen, and we were there at the right time. It was flamboyant and it wasn't fake. People come up to me and say: "Wasn't it a great time to be young?"


The main players in the birth of glam rock.

David Bowie: Bowie's Ziggy Stardust alter ego, androgynous and alien, took his first name from a tailor's shop because "this whole thing is going to be about clothes".

Marc Bolan: The elfin prince of the glam rock glitterati and its major heart-throb, no one grabbed glam quite like the T.Rex man did.

Steve Harley: The Cockney Rebel frontman made two of the era's late-entry classics with The Human Menagerie and The Psychomodo.

Dave Hill: Slade's 'superyob' guitarist and his distinctive hairstyle took one look at glam and got down and got with it.

Phil Manzanera: The guitarist replaced David O'List (ex-The Nice) in Roxy Music in '72. He now works with David Gilmour.

Andy Scott: The Sweet guitarist delivered some of the period's most powerful and popular riffs. Today he's still touring with The Sweet, and as a producer he has worked with many artists, including early Iron Maiden and Suzi Quatro.

Tony Visconti: The man who produced some of the most emblematic Bolan and Bowie moments, layering strings over T.Rex's hits to add mysterious grandeur.

Suzi Quatro: "I've never called myself a female musician. I'm a musician," says the Detroit-born singer/bassist who rocked up in Britain with a series of hits as glam cascaded like confetti.

Those who also served: Mike Chapman, Alice Cooper, Bryan Ferry, Les Gray, Noddy Holder, Ian Hunter, Ron Mael, Freddie Mercury, Johnny Marr, Morrissey, Lou Reed, Mick Ronson.