What happens when pop stars go wrong?
What happens when your favourite artist goes bad.
Can you still like the music? Or is it tainted for ever? Can you dissociate the real life of an artist from their music? Or are the two entwined.
This is not a debate about Gary Glitter- the courts have already decided his case. This is about the music that is left behind.
Pop culture is full of genius records made by buffoons, creeps and desperadoes. Magical music made by people you would never want as your next door neighbour. Generally they are harmless but stressfully odd individuals with repulsive habits and good PR’s polishing up the truth.
We listen to music by all manner of dark characters and airbrush their lives from the song. Should we do this?
Sometimes though you can be really, really challenged.
Gary Glitter is a convicted pedophile. A dark past that saw him punished in court. Where does that leave the fan? Does that make his ‘rock n roll- part one’ any better or worse to listen to? For some people the music has gone the way of the singer and is never to be listened to again. And that’s understandable.
But it is difficult to ignore the record- even if it never gets played and a few of those early Glitter singles were quite brilliant. The get out clause is that the records were made by Mike Leander and Glitter was brought in to shout over the top of them. By ignoring the records are we ignoring the genius of Mike Leander or is Glitter’s personal life too much to take?
Mike Leander was a great producer who wrote ‘rock n roll part one’ in the downtime of a David Essex session when Essex could not make it due to having a cold. Leander told the engineer to record him playing the drums and laid down twenty minus of that tribal beat before playing the rest of the instruments himself. The brass parts were supplied by John Rossall who went on to play with Glitter and the Glitterband and for the vocals they got in Paul Gadd who had been had been around the music scene for years. Gadd then became Gary Glitter and the most unlikely pop star of his time.
Massively popular at the time he is now a taboo subject. This blog is not about understanding what he did or excusing what he did- because it doesn’t in any way at all- it’s just asking the simple question- can you still listen to his records or can’t you?
Below Dennis and Lois, two legendary New York music fans, who know everyone and had a song written about them by the Happy Mondays and were the closest confidantesÃÂ of the Ramones are still reeling from the confusion caused by Glitter’s conviction. It’s the confusion of the fan.
Garry Glitter vs. Paul Gadd by Dennis Anderson
It’s a real shame that the great music Gary Glitter created has been overshadowed by the acts of Paul Gadd. Glitter was a creation of Paul Gadd, sure, but he was his own entity. The same way Chris Sievey was and was not Frank Sidebottom and Robert Lopez is and isn’t El Vez, When he put on his wig, glitter outfit and hit the stage, Paul Gadd morphed into Gary Glitter.
We knew Glitter but never knew Gadd.
America was never caught up in the glitter thing. Slade, T Rex, The Sweet, Suzie Quatro never caught on here. Bowie did but even as Ziggy he wasn’t really glitter. We always were tuned into what was happening in the UK more so than what trends existed in the States. We became aware of Gary early on and loved his music. On one of our trips to England in the late 70’s or early 80’s we were happy to see that he was on tour and so we got a train ticket and headed to Manchester.
We arrived early at the venue. It was called The Garter (?) and on the outskirts of town. We went to the door and found out it was a supper club and we were denied admittance since we were wearing jeans, trainers, and leather jackets. We waited for Gary to arrive hoping he could do something. He arrived with band, listened to our plight, and on the verge of tears admitted that there was nothing he could do. He mentioned this incident in his autobiography and credits it with his deciding to abandon supper clubs and play universities and this lead to larger and larger venues. His star was on the rise again.
We met him many times after that. He would always make sure we were on his guest list and had great seats. He would meet us after the show in his dressing room or before hand in his hotel. He always treated us with kindness and respect. Gary Glitter was a major talent and a very nice person.
Whatever demons possessed Paul Gadd should be condemned. I am not here to judge him, especially since I don’t know all the facts and what degree of truth they contain. If he did what he was accused of he deserves his punishment, and I am sure he was guilty to some degree. While not excusing his actions I wonder how many of his accusers are just as guilty if not more so. If Gary Glitter was not perceived as a joke because of his appearance would he have been absolved like other bigger stars.
I realise that defending Gary Glitter is not a popular stance but to hell with popularity. I feel that it’s a crime to deny the impact of Gary’s music because of the crimes of Paul Gadd.