Introducing…The Ultimate Genre Guide to Glam

Get down and get with it! The UGG Glam is in shops on Friday!

As you will discover when you read this stomping new publication, there were many ways to be glam. Conceptual, like Roxy or Bowie. Flashy, and made for colour television, like Slade. Theatrical, like Alice Cooper or chaotic like the New York Dolls. For our cover star Brian Eno, it was the start of a 50-year career in experimental ideas – currently being celebrated in an excellent new documentary

Perhaps more than anything else, glam could be a key to reinvention and self-discovery. Roy Wood was a joint-passing hippy before he became the glitter-bearded star of Wizzard. Mott The Hoople were longtime triers about to quit, given another shot when they performed Bowie’s “All The Young Dudes” – essentially glam’s national anthem. Elton John began the 1970s as an earnest balladeer, and was possibly more a glam rocker from expediency than anything else. Still, it allowed him to access elements of his showmanship, sexuality and general high-spirits than he had previously managed. 


There was no one way to be glam. There were some recognizable features – the intersection of ambiguous sexuality and hard, often1950s-inspired rock; an emphasis on performance, posing and showmanship; great singles – but this was no straitjacket. 

Some artists – like Lou Reed or Iggy Pop – drifted into glam, took what they wanted and moved on. The lesser talents had their brief moment basking in its reflective glow. All round, it offered freedom, not confinement. (Unless you were The Sweet, of course – for whom the whole experience turned into a struggle for independence from their production team.) 

As the late David Cavanagh pointed out here in his writing about glam singles, not everyone could be as talented as David Bowie. Glam offered both the sublime and the ridiculous, whether that was the stellar run of albums Bowie made between 1970 and 1974, or a one-off exploitation single by one-hit wonders we’d now find filed under “junk shop glam”.


You can read about all versions of the glam experience here, in a range of hilarious archive features – just who were Hair, Nose & Teeth? – and insightful new commentary. There are thoughts on glam film, glam art and glam’s legacy. You’ll read how our artists, from Bowie, Bolan and Slade through to Eno, Queen and Sparks (in 2024, glam’s only real survivors) made, and were remade, by glam rock. 

Melody Maker’s Richard Williams sets the scene: “While the rest of the band were mixing the B side of the new single Eno was sitting in the control booth with a set of logtables, a notebook and a rapidly blunting pencil. “I woke up this morning,” quoth he, “with a theory about prime numbers…’”

Get it on, and get yours here