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"Glam Rock" by Dave Thompson

Glam Rock (20th Century Rock & Roll) - Dave Thompson

An absolutely top notch read for anyone with any love of the beautiful thing we call Glam Rock, or indeed any curiosity about it. It's a mere 168 pages too.

I am a fairly knowledgeable Glam Rock fan, having grown up in the early 1970s spending my pocket money on Chicory Tip, T.Rex, Slade, Sweet, and David Bowie singles. I recall my parents used to tell me I was wasting my money, well Ma and Pa, you were wrong then, and you're wrong now. I still love those classic songs. 

I've read a few books and articles about Glam over the years and, despite being familiar with most of the bands covered by Dave Thompson, I found new and interesting information in each section. Essentially Dave Thompson provides a chapter on 40 Glam-related artists, ordered by single release date, and by this simple process, provides an entertaining history of the 1971-75 era in Britain. 

Curiously the book has been written for a US audience, and - I assume - this explains the inclusion of Kiss. Was it contractual? Gratifyingly Dave Thompson spends the chapter damning them with the feintest of praise. They were crap between 1971-75, and despite the odd pop hit later in their career probably continue to be rubbish and, in my opinion, have nothing to do with Glam rock and are a glaring anomaly in the context of this otherwise splendid book.

Dave Thompson's name quite often crops up under reviews on Allmusic and I always enjoy everything I read by him. Glam Rock is part of a series called "20th Century Rock and Roll". He has also penned the two books on Punk and Pop. I think I feel another couple of purchases coming on. He has written hundreds of books, I have one other, Children of the Revolution: The Glam Rock Story 1970-1975, which I have only dipped into so far. It's far more exhaustive than Glam Rock and, on the strength of this book I need to prioritise it.

Dave Thompson has a wonderful turn of phrase employed in an engaging style. This is a perfect introduction to the wonderful world of Glam, or a great reminder of some amazing music and bands. 

How about these quotes on Slade...

Slade, in contrast to Bolan's fey cerebral other-worldliness, were totally common, out-of-town yobbos intent on raising hell everywhere they went.

Slade's songs weren't music, they were aural graffiti, slabs of working class consciousness spray painted across the wall of the Establishment, each new song more misspelled than the last.

Well played Dave. I doff my mirror-stewn top hat in your direction Sir.

5/5