Monday, 3 August 2015

Glam - Cockney Rebel

I wrote a book about glam rock a couple of years back. It wasn't as good as it should have been, but then I'm not sure it could ever have been as good as the subject deserved. Because glam was the highest point rock 'n' roll ever reached, the most absurd, beautiful, camp moment in the music's history.

I was reminded of the book last month when I heard that Paul Weller was reading it. Which made me go back to listening to my favourite glam songs. And I thought I'd share some of them over the next week. 

So where better to start than with the most over-the-top masterpiece (and/or folly) in the entire glam catalogue? 'Death Trip' is the closing song on the debut album by Cockney Rebel*, The Human Menagerie (1973). And it's worth bearing in mind that this is a debut, though it's hard to believe that any group could be this confident and audacious right at the start of their career. Also worth bearing in mind is that this song lasts for ten minutes - I wouldn't normally approve of that kind of thing, but it's entirely justified when you've got as perfect a creation as this.

* Note that this is Cockney Rebel, not Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel. The first two albums were released under the group name and are absolutely stunning. Then the band broke up, the musicians unhappy at not being given credit for their contribution by Harley. He recruited a new group, put his name at the front and scored his biggest hit with 'Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)'. But it was never again as good as this.

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