b. Paul Francis Gadd, 8 May 1944, Banbury, Oxfordshire, England. The elder statesman of the 70s UK glam rock scene, Glitter began his career in a skiffle group, Paul Russell And The Rebels. He then became Paul Raven, under which name he recorded an unsuccessful debut for Decca Records, 'Alone In The Night', in 1960. His cover of 'Tower Of Strength' lost out to Frankie Vaughan's UK chart-topper, after which he spent increasingly long periods abroad, particularly in Germany. During the late 60s, having been signed to MCA Records by his former orchestral backing leader and MCA head Mike Leander, he attempted to revitalize his career under the names Paul Raven and Monday, the latter of which was used for a cover version of the Beatles' 'Here Comes The Sun', which flopped.
In 1971, seemingly in the autumn of his career, Gadd relaunched himself as Gary Glitter, complete with thigh-high boots and a silver costume. His debut for Bell Records, 'Rock And Roll Part 2' unexpectedly reached number 2 in the UK and climbed into the US Top 10. Although he failed to establish himself in America, his career in the UK traversed the early 70s, stretching up until the punk explosion of 1977. Among his many UK hits were three number 1 singles, 'I'm The Leader Of The Gang (I Am!)', 'I Love You Love Me Love' and 'Always Yours', and Top 5 placings for 'I Didn't Know I Loved You (Till I Saw You Rock And Roll)', 'Do You Wanna Touch Me" (Oh Yeah!)', 'Hello! Hello! I'm Back Again', 'Remember Me This Way', and 'Oh Yes! You're Beautiful'. His backing musicians, the aptly named Glitter Band, also enjoyed hits of their own at the height of Glitter's popularity. An accidental drug overdose and bankruptcy each threatened to end his career, but he survived and continued to play regular concerts in the UK.
In later years the now sober figure of Glitter was courted favourably by the media and became a minor legend, even returning to the UK Top 10 in 1984 with 'Another Rock And Roll Christmas'. In 1988 he was back at the top of the UK charts when the Timelords' 'Doctoring The Tardis', which featured a prominent sample of 'Rock And Roll', reached number 1. The commercial longevity of his back catalogue, a bestselling autobiography, a London stage show, and a highly praised role in the Quadrophenia revival kept Glitter's name alive during the late 80s and early to mid-90s.
In a disturbing development the singer was arrested in November 1997 over allegations of harbouring child pornography on his computer. He was charged the following year, and in November 1999 was found guilty and sentenced to four months in prison. He resorted to living overseas because his unpopularity with the UK press had made him a hunted man. The occasional single and album continued to leak out during this time. In November 2005, Glitter was arrested in Vietnam and convicted of sexually abusing two girls, aged 10 and 11 respectively. On 3 March 2006 he was sentenced to three years in prison after being found guilty of obscene acts with the girls.
Copyright © 2016 Omnibus Press