Glam rock is a style of rock music that developed in the United Kingdom in the early 1970s performed by musicians who wore outrageous costumes, makeup, and hairstyles, particularly platform shoes and glitter. Glam artists drew on diverse sources across music and throwaway pop culture, ranging from bubblegum pop and 1950s rock and roll to cabaret, science fiction, and complex art rock. The flamboyant clothing and visual styles of performers were often camp or androgynous, and have been described as playing with other gender roles. Glitter rock was a more extreme version of glam.
The UK charts were inundated with glam rock acts from 1971 to 1975. The March 1971 appearance of T. Rex frontman Marc Bolan on the BBC's music show Top of the Pops, wearing glitter and satins, is often cited as the beginning of the movement. Other British glam rock artists include David Bowie, Mott the Hoople, Sweet, Slade, Mud, Roxy Music and Gary Glitter. Those not central to the genre, such as Elton John, Rod Stewart and Freddie Mercury of Queen, also adopted glam styles. In the United States the scene was much less prevalent, with Alice Cooper and Lou Reed the only American artists to score a hit. Other American glam artists include New York Dolls, Sparks, Suzi Quatro, Iggy Pop and Jobriath. It declined after the mid-1970s, but influenced other musical genres including punk rock, glam metal, New Romantic, deathrock and gothic rock.
Glam rock visuals were based on camp and outrageous performances, which often included:
- Flashing lights
- Rock instruments
- Face paint
Glam rock fashion includes but is not limited to:
- Flashy and bright coloured makeup
- Deep V necks
- Platform boots and shoes
- Leather clothing and jackets
- 1970s fashion such as bell bottoms.
- Bodysuits paired with tights
- Gem studded accessories
- Shiny fabrics in bright colours
- Long hair, often fluffed away from the face
- Bright patterns
- Oversized and flowy stagewear
- Did I mention glitter?
- T. Rex
- David Bowie
- Elton John
- Iggy Pop
- Alice Cooper
- Lou Reed