Gary Glitter – The Leader

Shorn of its creator’s infamy, this 14-track collection of stripped down, slap-backed percussion heavy re-imagined rock & roll evinces a certain lunk-headed charm, which only fails when he attempts to carry the tune when camping it up (e.g. “Lonely Boy” and “Oh Yes! You’re Beautiful”). Not as sci-fi as Bowie, as gorgeous as Bolin or as tuneful as Slade, the erstwhile Paul Francis Gadd and producer Mike Leander made as many records as they could before, as amply evidenced on The Leader, wearing the joke painfully thin. All of the big hits are included on this 80s Best Of.

Published in: on February 9, 2011 at 9:45 pm  Comments (5)  

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  1. The brave decision to feature this particular artist raises the following question:

    “Can one still listen to an artist’s music once they have turned into an arsehole?”

    I’m not referring to those who merely choose to swap credibility for commercial success and cash (such as David Bowie or Kool and the Gang, who have already been discussed in this respect on this site). In those cases surely one simply chooses to listen to the earlier good stuff whilst ignoring the post-shark-jumping shit (well I do anyway).

    No, I’m talking about the cases where the artist’s fame/infamy goes beyond the musical exploits that made their reputation in the first place. A particular example is that prick Bono – as far as I’m concerned, U2 had reached their sell-by date with “The Joshua Tree”, but it didn’t stop me from continuing to enjoy their earlier recordings. However, Bono’s misguided decision in recent years to act as a self-appointed globe-trotting envoy/crusader for world peace (and pledging to make poverty history whilst continuing to stash away his vast personal fortune in offshore tax havens) really irritates me to the point where now I can’t even listen to his old stuff! Similar cases include Wacko and Madonna (the latter’s crime being to manipulate her fame by making ever-more desperate and transparent attempts to leap upon any musical bandwagon rolling).

    Does anyone else have this problem, or are they happy (or at least willing) to put aside an artist’s abhorrent personal foibles in order to enjoy the music they made before they became arseholes?

  2. it’s a tricky question. i would’ve been very wary of posting a gary glitter record here, even though (as a small child, ironically) i thought he was brilliant. all i know is, i’d rather listen to gary glitter records than U2 ones.

  3. Eko: You’ve answered your own wariness.

    Ekolad :

    i’d rather listen to gary glitter records than U2 ones.

    Wilberforce: trust the art, not the artist.

  4. Much easier said than done, although in recent times i have almost managed to put aside my contempt for the freakshow that is/was Michael Jackson, to listen to “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough” in the manner I first heard it: purely and simply as a great disco record…

    Talking of Wacko, whenever I see or hear mention of his folly Neverland, I can’t help but conjure up an amusing mental image of what it might be like now: a derelict tumbleweed-strewn wasteland, with Bubbles, the llamas and the rest of the animals wandering aimlessly about having reverted to feral state…

    Going back to the original subject, I beg to offer another question for consideration:

    “Is it now considered a crime to play a Gary Glitter record in public?”

    About 3 years ago I went to see a friend’s band at some sweaty rock dive, and almost gasped out aloud at the nerve of the pre-gig DJ when he started playing “Rock & Roll Part 2”! I don’t know if he did it for a laugh, to be subversive, or perhaps thought he could get away with it because it was an instrumental, but whatever the reason I scanned the room for others’ reactions, however it didn’t seem to register with anyone else (perhaps no surprise there as most of the punters were half my age ha ha)…

    As it now seems (at least unofficially) that Gaz’s records are no longer considered fit for public consumption, I suppose the only real chance of him ever getting airplay again is if somebody forgets to exorcise his Xmas effort from the piped music that accompanies yuletide shoppers as they plod around Woolies and the like!

    princeasbo :
    Eko: You’ve answered your own wariness.

    Ekolad :
    i’d rather listen to gary glitter records than U2 ones.

    Wilberforce: trust the art, not the artist.

  5. Yes, I appreciate that it’s not as simple as I make out, however, I can, for example, still manage manage to listen to MJ without bothering about his eccentricities. It’s only when his (or anyone’s) egomania becomes artistically inhibitive, when self-reference becomes an end in itself, when the need to make global statements masks personal aggrandisement, that I turn off. Billie Jean, yes. Black or White, no.

    John Lennon, by many accounts, could be extremely unpleasant. I don’t listen to his poor records, e.g. Some Time In NYC, etc. and do listen to his good ones, e.g. Plastic Ono Band (which, come to think of it, took self-reference to an absurd level).

    As regards Gary Glitter, or any other particularly heinous artist, I wouldn’t play them at a disco (unless I was being deliberately provocative), but wouldn’t be bothered if someone else did.

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