Oh! You Pretty Things. Glam Queens And Street Urchins 1970-76

Released 2021. Recorded 1970-76

“Glam” is a word that can be applied to a musical style or to bands whose dress sense was a beacon of originality in the drab early 70s. This Grapefruit compilation, consisting of three discs with 66 tracks focusses on “the edgy, androgynous, peacock-plumaged” glam rock rather than the “mutton-dressed-as-glam chancers” who produced bubble gum glam pop (according to the wonderful sleevenotes by David Wells). The prime inspiration for most of the music here were the Kinks but also The Velvet Underground and The Stooges. David Bowie, Marc Bolan, Roxy Music and The New York Dolls quickly assimilated and processed the earlier music and, in turn, provided inspiration to a multitude of new bands.

Disc 1 Track 1 Pyjamarama by Roxy Music. The second single after “Virginia Plain” reached Number 10 in the U.K. Charts in March 1973.

Disc 1 Track 2 Ma-Ma-Ma Belle by Electric Light Orchestra. This was ELO’s 4th single and got to Number 22 in the U.K. Charts in March 1974. Marc Bolan plays twin lead guitar alongside Jeff Lynn.

Disc 1 Track 3 Barbecutie by Sparks. The B side of “This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us” which got to Number 2 in the U.K. Charts in May 1974. In this song an Arctic explorer leaves his girlfriend who becomes an expert at barbecues.

Disc 1 Track 4 Joey by The Pretty Things. The former R’n’B band turned psychedelic in the late 60s but their career was on a downward turn until David Bowie recorded two of their songs on “Pinups”. As interest was rekindled, they were signed to the Swan Song label which was owned by Led Zeppelin. This was their 21st single but failed to chart in the U.K. or the USA.

Disc 1 Track 5 Tumble With Me by The Hollywood Brats. Despite being a popular live band in London, their debut album was only ever released in Norway – 18 months after they split.

Disc 1 Track 6 Rolling With My Baby by Silverhead. Susie Quattro and Ellie Brooks provided backing vocals to this 1972 single which failed to chart. Nigel Harrison subsequently joined Blondie and Michael des Barres moved to America where, not only did he marry legendary groupie Pamela Miller, but forged a successful acting career, appearing regularly in “MacGyver”.

Disc 1 Track 7 Teenage Archangel by Be-Bop Deluxe. The first single by the prog/glam/rock’n’roll band failed to make an impression despite being played a few times by John Peel.

Disc 1 Track 8 On The Ball by Streak. This is an unreleased song. Bass player Ben Brierley subsequently married Marianne Faithfull.

Disc 1 Track 9 Once Bitten Twice Shy by Ian Hunter. Having left Mott The Hoople, Ian Hunter recorded an eponymous solo album in 1975 with Mick Ronson producing. This single, the first track on the album, reached Number 14 in the U.K. charts in April 1975.

Disc 1 Track 10 Kerb Crawler by Hawkwind. In 1975, Lemmy left Hawkwind to be replaced by former Deviants and Pink Fairies bass player Paul Rudolph. At the same time, Robert Calvert joined as lead singer. At the Reading Festival of 1975, Mick Farren wrote, in the NME, that Robert Calvert’s costume was “a cross between Biggles and Lawrence Of Arabia, with definite S&M undertones”. This was the 8th single to be released by the band but failed to chart.

Disc 1 Track 11 Payroll by Brutus. This single failed to chart and the members of Brutus are unknown.

Disc 1 Track 12 Bright Lights by England’s Glory. 25 copies of a demo album were produced by future leader of The Only Ones, Peter Perrett and this Velvet Underground-inspired ode to ennui was, apparently, a highlight.

Disc 1 Track 13 Andy Warhol by Dana Gillespie. David Bowie claimed he wrote this song specifically for Dana Gillespie to sing. When her version wasn’t released, he recorded it himself and included it on “Hunky Dory”. She later included it on her 1973 album, “Weren’t Born A Man” with Mick Ronson on lead guitar.

Disc 1 Track 14 Blue Movie Star by Rococo. This is previously unreleased.

Disc 1 Track 15 White Light/White Heat by Mick Ronson. After The Spiders From Mars broke up, Mick Ronson recorded two solo albums before joining Mott The Hoople and then teaming up with Ian Hunter. David Bowie had intended to record this Velvet Underground song for “Pinups” and a backing track was made. When he decided not to include it, Mick Ronson added his own vocals to the track, making up most of the lyrics because he could never decipher what Lou Reed had sung on the original.

Disc 1 Track 16 Send Me The Bill For Your Friendship by Duncan Browne. In 1968, Duncan Browne released an album called “Give Me Take You”, produced by Andrew Oldham who was the owner of the Immediate label (as well as being the manager of The Rolling Stones). In 1973, short if cash, Andrew Oldham sent Duncan Browne an invoice to cover the cost of recording the album. This biting song was Duncan Browne’s riposte. Despite his obvious talent, Duncan Browne only released 5 albums before his death, from cancer, in 1995, aged 46.

Disc 1 Track 17 Powerman by The Kinks. Many people assume that British glam rock was invented by Marc Bolan or David Bowie. They’re wrong. The Kinks invented British glam rock in the mid Sixties. This song is from their 1970 album “Lola Versus Powerman And The Moneyground Part One” which failed to chart in the U.K.

Disc 1 Track 18 Up In The Air by Bearded Lady. Originally named Elmo’s Fire, Bearded Lady released one single but this isn’t it. Lead singer Johnny Warman went on to have a hit single with “Screaming Jets”

Disc 1 Track 19 The Prettiest Star by Simon Turner. Having befriended the subject of this song, Angie Bowie, actor Simon Turner recorded David Bowie’s 1970 single and was signed up by manager Tony Defries.

Disc 1 Track 20 The Cops Are Coming by Heavy Metal Kids. Despite their name, this London group had more in common with Humble Pie (who they toured with) and musicals such as “Oliver” and “Hair” (in which lead singer Gary Hilton had appeared).

Disc 1 Track 21 Glittery Obituary by Blackfoot Sue. Prior to “Standing In The Road” reaching Number 4 in the U.K. Charts, Blackfoot Sue’s first album, “Nothing To Hide” included this song about an androgynous star who was on a steep decline. Before deciding to call themselves Blackfoot Sue, this Birmingham band were called The Virus, The Gift and Blackfoot Sioux.

Disc 1 Track 22 Street Urchin by The Pink Fairies. It’s not known whether or not The Pink Fairies repeated their trick of playing naked (as they occasionally did at gigs) on this track.

Disc 2 Track 1 Take Me Back ‘Ome by Slade. Their second Number One reached the top spot in the Summer of 1972.

Disc 2 Track 2 Little Darling by Thin Lizzy. After “Whiskey In The Jar” was a hit in 1973, Thin Lizzy failed to make an impact on the charts until they left the Decca label and joined Vertigo and released “The Boys Are Back In Town” in 1976. This, their 5th single sank without trace two years earlier.

Disc 2 Track 3 Cat’s Eyes by Zior. This Essex band used to pretend to sacrifice a girl in their live show.

Disc 2 Track 4 Satellite Of Love by Lou Reed. “Transformer” was a breakthrough album for Lou Reed. It was produced by David Bowie who contributed backing vocals to this single which also featured Mick Ronson on piano and Trevor Boulder on trumpet.

Disc 2 Track 5 Gun by John Cale. Two members of Roxy Music play on this non-single track from John Cale’s 4th solo album. Phil Manzanera’s guitar solo is processed in real time by Brian Eno’s synthesiser making it a two person guitar solo.

Disc 2 Track 6 Lady Easy Action by Despair. Ian Carnochan went on to form punk band The Vibrators after none of Despair’s recordings were ever released. Until now.

Disc 2 Track 7 Shame Shame Shame by The Hammersmith Gorillas. Jesse Hector was the leader of this band who later changed their name to The Gorillas. What do rock stars do after their musical careers have ground to a halt? In Jesse Hector’s case they become a cleaner at The Royal Geographical Society.

Disc 2 Track 8 B-Movie Bedtime by Doctors Of Madness. Although they were associated with the emerging punk movement and were supported by The Sex Pistols at one point, Doctors Of Madness managed to sound like the early Velvet Underground.

Disc 2 Track 9 Gimme Some Skin by Iggy & The Stooges. After meeting David Bowie in 1971, Iggy Pop and The Stooges came to London to record an album with Tony Defries. The first session resulted in a few songs that were deemed unsuitable for an association with David Bowie and were scrapped. Until now. A month later they recorded “Raw Power”.

Disc 2 Track 10 Rat Crawl by Third World War. Terence Stamp was the guitarist, singer and songwriter with Third World War. No, not that one. He was a fifteen stone truck driver. In “Rat Crawl”,  politicians knock on the door of a poor working class family, seeking their votes.

Disc 2 Track 11 Give Yourself A Chance by Agnes Strange. This three piece band from Southampton released just one album. In Germany.

Disc 2 Track 12 Chance Meeting by Bryan Ferry. The B side of “The In Crowd” had been included on Roxy Music’s first album but Bryan Ferry was very unhappy with the production values and re-recorded it.

Disc 2 Track 13 The Purple Speed Queen by Curved Air. Sonja Kristina was the only original member of Curved Air to be featured on their 4th album, “Air Cut”. Eddie Jobson was a new recruit to the band but soon left to replace Brian Eno in Roxy Music. “The Purple Speed Queen” was the opening track and tells the story of a teen suicide.

Disc 2 Track 14 Earthling by Jobriath. Bruce Wayne Campbell was promoted as the first openly gay rock musician and died of AIDS in 1983. He was signed to Elektra for half a million dollars after spending several months in a psychiatric hospital and subsequently working as a prostitute. This song is from his first eponymous album and featured him naked as if he were a Roman God.

Disc 2 Track 15 Big Day by Phil Manzanera featuring Eno. Roxy Music’s flashy and excellent guitarist has made 9 solo albums and “Diamond Head” was his first. This Eno composition also features Roxy Music’s drummer Paul Thompson.

Disc 2 Track 16 Around And Around by Slowload. A stop/start version of the Chuck Berry made popular by The Rolling Stones.

Disc 2 Track 17 Strange Movies by The Troggs. The 23rd single by The Troggs failed to chart in 1973 by which time it was 6 years since their last chart hit, “Love Is All Around”.

Disc 2 Track 18 Rosie’s Coming To Town by Rosie. This song by Anglo-German band Rosie, about a threesome with a mother and daughter, failed to get any plays on the radio.

Disc 2 Track 19 Queenage Baby by Wayne County. Jane/Wayne County claimed that David Bowie used this song to compose “Rebel Rebel”.

Disc 2 Track 20 Sweet Transvestite by Tim Curry. Having starred in “Hair”, Tim Curry played the leading character, Dr. Frank N. Furter in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”.

Disc 2 Track 21 The Six Teens by Sweet. In an effort to move from a teenybopper group to a well regarded rock band, The Sweet changed their name to Sweet and released a four minute rock opera which reached Number 9 in the charts.

Disc 3 Track 1 Personality Crisis by New York Dolls. During a tour to Britain in 1972, the New York Dolls recorded this song, having joined MainMan management. At a London party a few days later, drummer Billy Murcia passed out from an accidental overdose. He was forcefed coffee in an attempt to revive him which caused him to choke to death.

Disc 3 Track 2 I’m Waiting For The Man by Tina Harvey. Described in one of the music papers as “a Micky Dolenz lookalike”, Tina Harvey was initially signed by Jonathan King in 1972 but failed to make an impact. A few years later she recorded this Velvet Underground song which also attracted little interest.

Disc 3 Track 3 Small Town, Big Adventures by John Howard. Homophobic attitudes in the music industry probably prevented John Howard receiving much attention.

Disc 3 Track 4 Space Ace by Brett Smiley. A child actor who played “Oliver” on Broadway, Brett Smiley never subsequently hit the big time despite an article in “Disc” which was titled “The Most Beautiful Boy In The World”. The YouTube link shows a fascinating interview with him and Andrew Loog Oldham (his manager) conducted by a very snooty Russell Harty.

Disc 3 Track 5 The Dancer by Leo Sayer. “The Show Must Go On” went to Number 2 in the U.K. Charts and was on Leo Sayer’s first album, “Silverbird”, from which this remarkable track is taken.

Disc 3 Track 6 Peaches (What’s It all About?) by Richmond. Steve Hall later joined the brilliant Starry Eyed And Laughing.

Disc 3 Track 7 Going Home by Strawbs. Dave Cosins’ band transformed from a folk-rock band to a glam-rock band in 1972, having Top 20 hits with “Lay Down” and “Part Of The Union”.

Disc 3 Track 8 I Love You For Your Mind (Not Your Body) by A Raincoat. Andy Arthurs gained the first UK degree in Music Production in 1974 from The University Of Surrey.

Disc 3 Track 9 The Monk by Rupert Hine.  Folk duo Rupert and David consisted of David MacIver-Robinson and Rupert Hine, who produced a single by Jon Pertwee called “Who Is The Doctor”. They later went on to make “The Lone Ranger”, a Top 5 single in 1979, credited to Quantum Jump. Rupert Hine went on to produce albums by Kevin Ayers, Rush, Tina Turner, Bob Geldof and many others.

Disc 3 Track 10 All I Wanna Be by Rusty. Originally called Sheephouse and later to be called National Flag, Rusty spent a year in Switzerland recording their eponymous album. This song appeared in episodes of “Rumpole Of The Bailey” and “The Sweeney”.

Disc 3 Track 11 The Browns by Duffy. Switzerland also saw the recording of Duffy’s second album, “Scruffy Duffy”.

Disc 3 Track 12 Last Chance by The Winkies. At one point, Brian Eno intended for The Winkies to be his backing band but his illness caused the project to be abandoned but not before he produced The Winkies’ first single, “Last Chance”.

Disc 3 Track 13 Ragman by Hard Stuff. John Gustafson was the bass player with The Big Three who were signed by Brian Epstein. They recorded “Some Other Guy” for Decca and this was the song that The Beatles recorded when filmed at The cavern in late 1962. John Gustafson later joined The Merseybeats as lead vocalist, going on to form Quatermass before joining Hard Stuff. After they disbanded, he played bass on “stranded”, “Country Life” and “Siren”, three seminal Roxy Music albums. he later joined the Ian Gillan Band (ex Deep Purple).

Disc 3 Track 14 Dog Meat by Flamin’ Groovies. This American band released three astonishing albums between 1969 and 1971 but were without a record contract for 5 years during which Dutch label Skydog released a 4 track EP containing this nugget.

Disc 3 Track 15 Dozy Dora by Bullfrog. Lead singer Pete McDonald later had a hit with “Making Up Again” by Goldie.

Disc 3 Track 16 Little Girl by Spiv.

Disc 3 Track 17 Not Fade Away by Fumble. David Bowie adored Fumble and they supported him on the final leg of his Ziggy Stardust tour. Bassist Sean Mayes later played on “Stage” and “Lodger”.

Disc 3 Track 18 High School Dropout by Crushed Butler. A description in a music paper as “Three heavy, ugly musicians, making music to match” probably didn’t help this London band get a record contract despite supporting Slade and Mott The Hoople.

Disc 3 Track 19 Dodgem Dude by Michael Moorcock & The Deep Fix. The Half Man Half Biscuit song, “Dickie Davies’ Eyes” starts with “Mention The Lord Of The Rings just once more and I’ll more than likely kill you. Moorcock, Moorcock, Michael Moorcock you fervently moan.”

Disc 3 Track 20 Hollywood Nites by Kim Fowley. This American songwriter, producer and all round huckster has been described as “one of the most colorful characters in the annals of rock & roll”, as well as “a shadowy cult figure well outside the margins of the mainstream”.

Disc 3 Track 21 King Of The Night Time World by Hollywood Stars. Kim Fowley was responsible for the formation of what he considered to be the West Coast’s answer to The New York Dolls

Disc 3 Track 22 The Last Of The Teenage Idols by The Sensational Alex Harvey Band. In 1957 The Sunday Mail pronounced Alex Harvey as the winner of a teenage idol competition, claiming that he was Scotland’s answer to Tommy Steele.

Disc 3 Track 23 Saturday Gigs by Mott The Hoople. Mick Ronson’s first appearance with Mott The Hoople was their last single.

Published by wilfulsprinter

Music lover

5 thoughts on “Oh! You Pretty Things. Glam Queens And Street Urchins 1970-76

  1. What a great compilation. I’d forgotten how much I used to like Once Bitten Twice Shy by Ian Hunter & it still sounds great. The Dancer by Leo Sayer is an excellent song too – brilliantly performed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a collection. Being a bit of an aspiring long-hair back in the early 70s, I considered myself a solid Purple, Zep, Atomic Rooster kind of chap and professed no interest in this glam rock rubbish…… whilst spending much of my time listening to Alice Cooper and T Rex. The line between the glam and the rock was blurred …. on the one hand you had the straight up glammers like Mud, Sweet, Glitter Band etc and then you had some real innovators lumped into the same category, like Roxy Music, the Stooges, New York Dolls. Looking through this track listing one also feels the birth pains of Punk. I was surprised to see the arch-hippies Pink Fairies and Hawkwind included though when I saw the Fairies track I have to admit, it’s right-down-the-middle glam rock.

    Liked by 1 person

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