Best mates at school: Whole load of friends during my time there but for first 2/3 years it was Andy Nall, Iain Cochrane, Stevie Smith. Ian Russell & Dav Sharp
Funniest memory from school: Apart from my Deuchars episode probably Granny Smith. She gave me lines and I didn’t do them. She told me if I didn’t hand them in the next day I would get one of the belt and it would increase every day until I did them. When she gave you the belt she took you into the corridor and put the lights out because she didn’t like to see you in pain. After four days she gave up as it was hurting her more than me.
First holiday with your mates: First holiday was in 1975 when me, George McKechnie and Geoff Kaczmarek went camping to Arran. It rained constantly and after 3 days and with a river running though our tent we went home. First proper holiday was 1976 when me, Ian Martin (Teeny), Davie Boyle, Geoff Kaczmarek (Skinny), Ian Fleming (Lugsy) and Gordon McKechnie went to Morecambe. Outstanding memory was going into first English pub ordering 6 pints of Tetleys bitter and Elton John & Kiki Dee were playing on the jukebox. Other than that getting questioned for attempted murder!
What was your first job: Worked as a trainee quantity surveyor in Wellington Street for 30 quid a month. Left after 3 years and went to see the world with my brother.
Who was your musical hero in 70s: Bryan Ferry
Favourite Single: Pyjamarama by Roxy Music
Favourite Album: Roxy Music debut album
First gig: Think it was Roxy music at the Apollo with big Geoff Kaczmarek (Skinny), who was a mega Roxy music fan.
Favourite movie in 70s: Blazing Saddles at the Rio with Ian Martin, Neil Mackay, Alan Campbell (Sammy), David Goudal (Bug) & Johnny Reay. This was the the same night we got pulled up by a team of Drum boys who pulled out there steel combs and walked up the line threatening to slash us. They got as far as Johnny who stuck the nut on one, I booted another one and it was just kicking off when the Polis arrived.
Who was your inspiration in 70s: Pat Stanton (Hibs legend) was my inspiration as regards to football. I didn’t have any posters on my wall. I shared a bedroom with my oldest brother Brian who was a bit of an artist. He had painted portraits of Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa and Leonard Cohen on the walls.
What do you miss most from the 70s: Everything (especially the art of tackling!)
What advice would you give your 14yr old self: Wouldn’t change a thing – I lived it, experienced it and wouldn’t change it.
70s pub session, you’re allowed to invite 4 people dead or alive from 70s: Bill Shankly, Matt Busby, Jock Stein & Eddie Turnbull….. wonder what we’d talk about?
As sub-genre’s go ‘Glam Rock’ has got to be one of the most influential, but for the most part people are usually pretty sniffy about it and it rarely gets the respect it’s due.
Ask people what their favourite 70s music was and they’ll probably say Rock, Disco, Punk, or Reggae but they’ll very rarely say Glam Rock, preferring to say Bowie or Roxy or T-Rex.
Maybe Glam Rock gets a bad rep because for every Roxy Music or T-Rex there was a Chicory Tip or a Kenny.
Maybe it’s because six-inch platform boots, glittery capes, satin loons and feather boas don’t wear quite so well several decades later.
The genesis of Glam Rock is credited to Marc Bolan and his appearance on Top of the Pops (TOTP) in March 1971 with his new single – ‘Hot Love’.
Ex-hippy Marc, bopped along with teardrops of silver glitter under his eyes, gold satin pants, a catchy chorus, and kicked the whole thing off as the unofficial Prince of Glam Rock, with lyrics aimed at his target audience….
Ah she’s my woman of gold And she’s not very old a Ha Ha
Girls loved him, guys accepted him and parents were a bit confused by him, which as we all know now is the perfect cocktail for pop stardom.
On the back of T-Rex’s impactful TOTP appearance Hot Love went straight to number one and stayed there for 6 weeks.
Get it on (Bang a gong), came hot on its heels, and also made the number one spot its own, ditto the album Electric Warrior and with a sell out tour playing to legions of adoring fans, there was no stopping T-Rex.
‘Jeepster’ was the next release, and the second single I ever bought after ‘Maggie May’. I remember being particularly impressed with the B side, ‘Life’s a Gas’, and naively thinking that all B sides must be great as Rod’s ‘Reason to Believe’ wasn’t too shabby either.
Frustratingly for T-Rex fans Jeepster would remain at number 2 for six weeks – kept off the top spot firstly by new Glam sensations Slade, and then by of all people – Benny Hill, probably the antithesis of Glam Rock, who reached the coveted Xmas number one spot in 1971, ahead of T-Rex.
Looking back now it’s quite funny to picture the Bolan devotees huddled around their radios on consecutive Sunday’s, counting down the top 20 and waiting to lip-synch Jeepster’s dreamy lyrics, as it reached the top spot….
You slide so good With bones so fair You’ve got the universe Reclining in your hair
Only to find the slightly less dreamy lyrics of that weeks actual number one, the un-glamest song ever – ‘Ernie the Fastest Milkman in the West’ with the chirpy west country droll of Benny Hill, assaulting their eardrums.
Now Ernie loved a widow, a lady known as Sue, She lived all alone in Liddley Lane at number 22. They said she was too good for him, she was haughty, proud and chic, But Ernie got his cocoa there three times every week
When Benny Hill was finally ousted from the number one spot it wasn’t by T-Rex it was by the New Seekers with, ‘I’d like to teach the world to sing’.
It was Glam Rocks first bloody nose – being beaten to the number one spot by upstarts like Slade was one thing but to be kept off the top spot by a roly-poly comedian with a comedy song and then by a TV jingle for coca-cola was an affront to the T Rex acolytes.
Despite this setback, in the space of 12 short months Marc Bolan had become the poster boy (quite literally) of Glam Rock, he was front and centre of every teen mag and plastered on the bedroom walls of most teenage girls, and quite a few boys as well.
Bolan’s success had been meteoric and he quickly became the Pied Piper of the Glam movement, inspiring others to follow with varying degrees of success
There were those artists who jumped on the bandwagon and did it well:
Slade were the perfect example, prior to donning top-hats, satin and glitter they were wearing doc martins and braces as a skinhead band, but Bolan had shown them there was another way, and the lads from Wolverhampton went on to carve out a great career using Glam Rock as their platform.
Similarly, The Sweet, changed lanes, initially a bubble-gum pop band covering Archies songs with aspirations to be the new Monkees, they updated their line-up, beefed up their sound and found a commercial niche within Glam Rock.
Other artists who carved out successful Glam Rock careers in this category include Suzi Quatro, Gary Glitter and Wizzard.
Then there were the hustlers – the bands/artists who flirted with Glam Rock to gain a foothold before using their talents to carve sustainable careers.
David Bowie Roxy Music Elton John New York Dolls
Sparks Alice Cooper Mott the Hoople Lou Reed
And finally there were those artists who jumped on the bandwagon and had their 15 minutes of fame before disappearing off into the sunset.
Bands like –Kenny, Chicory Tip, Racey, Geordie and Hello
The Glam Rock movement probably peaked in 1973, but just as acts like Wizzard and The Sweet were topping the charts, T-Rex’s star was beginning to wane and their last big hit was 20th Century Boy.
The chart below offer a snapshot of the top 20 from May 1973 and as you’ll see, Glam Rock was riding high with 4 of the top 10 singles coming from Glam acts.
By 1973 Bowie was the one carrying the torch for Glam Rock as well as influencing others like Lou Reed and Mott the Hoople to follow in his footsteps. We were soon to find out however that Bowie was the master of reinvention and it wan’t long before he had moved on from Glam and was recording a soul album – Young Americans.
Glam Rock at it’s best was a series of well-crafted, well-produced, 3-4 minute pop songs with a bit of theatre, that didn’t pretend to be anything else. It was commercial, accessible and catchy. (see Glam Rock playlist below)
In terms of Glam Rock’s legacy, we all know how far reaching Bowie’s influence has been and you only need to listen to the first two Oasis albums to hear T-Rex & Slade riffs aplenty. Bands as diverse as The Sex Pistols and Chic have also credited Roxy Music’s influence on their careers and acts like Alice Cooper, Sparks and Elton John are still going strong today.
Bolan’s activity waned heading into the mid seventies which was understandable given his prolific output and he found domestic bliss to replace the mayhem. He was on the comeback trail by 1977 and hosted a TV pop show called imaginatively – ‘Marc’, inviting his old buddy David Bowie to perform Heroes in the final episode.
With a successful TV show a newly released album and a planned tour, things were looking up for Marc when he was involved in a fatal car accident at the tender age of 29.
In terms of Glam Rock fashion, I need to declare that it wasn’t very accessible for the majority of us who didn’t have connections with avant garde designers like Bowie, Ferry or Glitter or who wanted to look like scarecrows on acid like Roy Wood. Platform shoes and broken ankles were probably as Glam as it got for most of us guys.
When it came around, Punk was a lot easier all you needed was a pair of scissors and some safety pins.
I’m probably a tad defensive about Glam Rock because the period it represents, 1971-74 holds a lot of great memories and correlates with my peer groups formative years – a period when we started to have a bit of freedom and a social life.
‘Glam-Rock’ anthems like Get It On, Jean Genie, Virginia Plane and This Town Aint Big Enough for Both of Us, made up the soundtrack to much of that youth, and when I hear those songs today they bring back memories of Teen Discos, and gatherings at friends houses when T-Rex devotees like Elaine Neal (nee Currie) would turn up with her copy of Electric Warrior place the needle on the vinyl – first track, side one, Mambo Sun……
Beneath the bebop moon I want to croon with you Beneath the mambo sun I got to be the one with you
(Post by Paul Fitzpatrick, of London – February 2021)
1972 in Scotland – The Eurovision Song contest is held in Edinburgh (New Seekers, Beg, Steal or Borrow comes 4th); The Average White Band are formed.
I can’t remember what I had for dinner last night, but I can remember watching Top of the Pops nearly 50 years ago in the summer of 1972.
The summer had already got off to a great start when it was announced that the summer school holidays had been extended by two weeks to align the school leaving age in Scotland to 16 with the rest of the UK.
On top of that I had been invited to go on a camping holiday to Ayr by a good mate Alan McGuire and his family, so five of us and a dog made our way down the old A77 to join the other happy campers at Ayr Racecourse in August 1972.
The next 10 days were among the best of my young life.
Ayr racecourse was closed for the summer and being utilised as a camping site that year.
We were a 20-minute walk from the beach & harbour, a 20-minute walk from the town centre and there were great facilities on site.
Every day was an adventure, and we’d literally collapse into our sleeping bags at night exhausted from the day’s events which included nightly footie matches between the Scottish and the English, all ages and abilities welcome. Matches that went on for ever with the cry of ‘next goal the winner’ never being adhered to.
The sun was shining, there were no midges, everybody was really friendly, and the days seemed to last forever, right up until it got dark at what seemed 10pm most nights.
And if that wasn’t enough, there was the most unbelievable soundtrack being played in the background on the radios and on TV.
I usually missed Top of the Pops (TOTP) because it clashed with football training on a Thursday, but I always made an effort to watch it during the holidays, and I was glad I did that summer, as there were so many memorable moments.
Leading up to our holiday, TOTP was getting interesting; first there was Bowie who had come from nowhere, I’d never heard of him, and the song he was playing (Starman) wasn’t one I’d heard before.
I wasn’t even sure what I was watching, he was strange but cool at the same time, the rest of the band were pretty weird as well, apart from the guitarist who looked reasonably normal, (in a ‘glam-rock normal’ sort of way), but there was no mistaking the quality of the music, it was incredible, and I rushed out to buy the single from Woolies the next day.
The following week Alice Cooper exploded onto our screens for the first time, all menacing in black with ghoulish eye makeup and a sword. It was all theatre of course but we didn’t know it at the time, and we were suitably shocked.
During his performance I remember a girl in a pink smock innocently dancing on stage beside him and thinking ‘you need to be careful hen; he could have your eye out with that sword’.
During his performance I remember a girl in a pink smock innocently dancing on stage beside him and thinking ‘you need to be careful darling; he could have your eye out with that sword’.
Once again Woolies duly received my hard-earned paper-round money.
So, the hits kept on coming and the following week another band I’d never heard of dropped into my orbit. They were called Mott the Hoople and they rocked up with the anthemic All The Young Dudes, another jaw dropper, which we discovered came from the pen of Bowie.
Woolies, here I come!
We arrived in Ayr on a Thursday, settled in and happily realised that watching TOTP was a communal, must-do activity, so a large group of teenagers including my pal’s older sister Elaine gathered round the TV in the racecourse clubhouse to see who would be appearing that week.
It would be fair to say that the majority of the assembled audience were female and were there in anticipation that their current crushes – David Cassidy or Donny Osmond would be making an appearance on screen.
Unfortunately for the girls there would be no Donny or David that week but they weren’t disappointed as it was the evening that You Wear it Well was performed by Rod Stewart with The Faces in tow. Everybody seemed to love Rod back then and he was back on form larking around, presumably bevvied, which was The Faces de-facto state in those days.
I found a record shop in Ayr the next day.
The following Thursday, our last in Ayr, would be no let down in form as we gathered round the TV to watch the unfortunate Jimmy Saville introduce another new band, called Roxy Music, who were like aliens from another planet.
This bunch of misfits had a vocalist who looked like an Elvis impersonator, and an androgynous silver glove wearing character with a Max Wall haircut playing some sort of box/keyboard, that made weird but wonderful sounds.
The rest of the band looked like extras from Star Trek, but like Bowie and Mott, they jumped out of the screen demanding your attention and the music was captivating. As soon as I got home, I was heading to Woolies for sure.
There were so many highlights on that holiday, I even went to my first gig, to see a band called Chicory Tip. Although we only knew one of their songs, their number one hit Son of my Father.
Little did we know at the time that this one hit wonder would be a precursor to Donna Summer’s I feel Love and all her 70’s disco hits, as it was written and produced by the legendary Giorgio Moroder. On reflection the little moog synthesiser hook is a giveaway.
Our days at Ayr Racecourse raced by and sadly the adventure came to a close, but the memories of that holiday didn’t end there.
My pal’s family dropped me off at my house on our return and I rang the doorbell to be met by a perfect stranger, we both stood there looking at each other for a minute, him wondering who the hell I was, me thinking the same, but with a look of panic etched on my face.
The man broke the deadlock by very reasonably asking what it was I wanted and looked confused when I blurted out, “where’s my Mum”?
He replied that he didn’t know where my Mum was, which was a bit disconcerting, and it was at this point that the penny must have dropped for the bemused chap, when he saw my holdall, sleeping bag and crushed look and said “Ah, we just moved in here a few days ago, you must be the son of the people we bought the house from”.
Yep, my family had moved and had forgotten to tell me.
Having moved myself a few times over the years now, I know it’s stressful and I know there’s a long to-do list, but we usually remember to take the kids with us.
I remembered there had been talk of moving as I had been told to keep my room tidy for people viewing the house, but the fine details and timelines had not been important to a 14-year-old who expected to be packed and transported with the Tupperware, plus like I said, I never got the memo!
The new house was only half a mile away and as I made my way there, I got excited about the prospect of my new home and all that that entailed and reflected on the great holiday I had just experienced.
I had spent time away from my loved ones for the first time but with people who had welcomed me into their family with open arms.
I had experienced much independence, went to my first gig, kissed a girl, had an amazing time and on top of all that, I had all these great songs washing around in my head.
Further grown-up adventures obviously lay in wait, but for my 14-year-old self, this was the perfect summer holiday.