351. ‘Always Yours’, by Gary Glitter

When I first saw Gary Glitter’s third and final #1 looming on my list, I assumed it would be a ballad. ‘Always Yours’. A Glitterballad. A cod-Elvis croonathon. I was bracing myself…

Always Yours, by Gary Glitter (his 3rd and final #1)

1 week, from 16th – 23rd June 1974

Except, it’s another foot tapper. Glitter clearly didn’t do ballads. (OK, he did, they just didn’t get to number one.) I’m getting Mud (the that’s me, that’s me lines are straight outta ‘Tiger Feet’) through Shakin’ Stevens vibes. Also, hints of Adam Ant. Considering that the latter two acts are a decade away from arriving on the scene, we can conclude that Gary Glitter was a bit of an influence. He wasn’t always, I have to keep reminding myself, just a creepy paedo.

You know, I know, I’ll never never let you go… It’s a frantic record that races through its three minute allocation. The glitter stomp drumbeat has been sped up to raucous rockabilly levels. There are handclaps, pianos, and Glitter’s frenzied vocals. He certainly was an energetic performer. Al-ways Yo-ours…

As with all his #1s, you don’t have to look very hard before finding lines that sound dodgy in hindsight. I’m a scream, A teenage dream… he yelps. Which is rich, coming from a man in his mid-thirties. We’ve come full circle, from the days of thirty-something Bill Haley rocking around the clock to Glitter and Alvin Stardust dancing about in sparkly jumpsuits. When the kids have moved on you know a style is on its way out…

But ‘Always Yours’ is a perfectly reasonable slice of late-era glam. It is undeniably catchy; though I would rate it worst out of his three chart-toppers. I had never ever heard it before, and I probably never will again without choosing to. I won’t be doing a Gary Glitter Top 10, or a Remembering Gary Glitter when he passes. He has been jailed for possessing child pornography, for child sexual abuse and attempted rape. We’ll leave him here. (Actually, not really. We’ll have cause to mention him when we arrive at a couple of 80s #1s.)

It is interesting, however. Why has Gary Glitter been so completely erased from British pop music history, when others with similar allegations to their name haven’t? Plenty of huge stars from the sixties and seventies have their accusers… Jagger, Bowie… while Pete Townshend got caught ‘researching’ a book on child abuse. They all still get played on the radio. Is it as simple as Glitter got convicted? Then there’s Michael Jackson. Again, no conviction, but enough evidence and testimony for us to conclude that something unsavoury was going on at Neverland. His music’s still played, for the most part. Phil Spector, currently in prison for murder, will have his Christmas hits played this year; Glitter’s ‘Rock n Roll Christmas’ will not be getting a spin.

Does it then, ultimately, come down to snobbery? Are we willing to overlook artists’ indiscretions, as long as they make ‘good’ music? Gary Glitter was always a bit of a prat, a clownish character, who released disposable pop music. Same goes, to an extent, for R. Kelly, who in recent years has undergone a similar cancelling. I’m not advocating a rehabilitation of Gary Glitter. He’s clearly a nasty piece of work. I’m just amazed at how sudden and complete his fall from grace was. Even in the mid-1990s he was being sampled by Oasis on the opening track of the decade’s biggest album. He was due a cameo in The Spice Girls movie, which had to be re-shot last-minute following his ill-fated trip to PC World. Then, cut. Finished. One of Britain’s biggest pop stars was Britain’s public enemy number one. That, as they say, was that.


23 thoughts on “351. ‘Always Yours’, by Gary Glitter

  1. Wise words indeed on GG’s fall from grace. If you can separate the music from the computer (ab)user who was Paul Gadd, the records are fun and still an essential part of their time. I think the Pete Townshend case was a bit of a grey area, in that some serious research on the psychological effects of child abuse made for mitigating circumstances on his part. Michael Jackson was either a very troubled, even damaged soul or else played a very canny game (or both) and has posthumously got away with it. John (‘I didn’t ask her for ID’) Peel is still much revered as a presenter, unlike the silver-haired shell-suited one, although he sailed very close to the wind at least once or twice.

    • I didn’t know about John Peel… Yes, I mean Jimmy Saville was another league of awful altogether, but the point is valid. With Michael Jackson, and Pete Townshend I think, it stems from their own childhood abuse, as it does with many non-famous sex offenders too.

  2. There’s a certain hypocrisy about the Music Biz and the media. Jerry Lee Lewis didnt get cancelled when he married his underage cousin, nor did R Kelly when he married underage Aaliyah. Yet celebrities with much less guilt went to prison and ruined for what what in the old days was “getting felt up”. Not condoning it, but one is clearly worse than the other. Glitter made records that were fun, but it was the very young age of the victims that ultimately made him persona-non-grata. Ditto Saville.

    I always preferred both this one and the number 2 follow-up Oh Yes You’re Beautiful to his 2 previous number ones, but the largely instrumental Rock & Roll Part 2 is the brilliant track that should have topped the chart (see Joker). Happily nothing he did since 1974 was anywhere as good and it’s fairly easy to ignore without missing anything.

    • Hmm, I think I like ‘I Love You Love…’ the best of the three. It’s been interesting to discover these records, as I would never have heard them in any other situation.

      And speaking of underage marriage… How old was Priscilla when she first met Elvis…?

  3. I hate the cancel culture…it’s up to the people themselves to decide. Do you separate the art and artist? That is the question. In todays society if you do separate it you get accused of supporting the person…but you are supporting the art. I always try because if we met most of our music heroes we would probably not like them for one reason or another. I’m certainly not condoning what this guy did but it has nothing to do with those pieces of vinyl that are still in second hand shops. You don’t have to love, like, or even acknowledge him if he walked down the street…but this song has nothing to do with it.

    So do I not listen to Led Zeppelin because in 1973 Jimmy Page openly dated a 14 year old Lori Maddox? I think the difference with Glitter is he KEEPS doing it. Do I not watch Woody Allen movies because he was accused of things?
    With Townshend I actually believe what he said.

    • Cancel culture is flavor of the month crap. People in the US are like schools of fish, shifting from one place to the other depending upon how scared they are or what the “latest” outrage is. Everyone has a dark side and most (not all) have a good side. I’m not condoning “kiddie diddling” at all but, I understand some of it. I have a cousin that did prison time for child porn. Ryan is a sweet baby but, he was molested very young by a stepfather. It twisted his reality. It was a trauma and it shaped his ideas of sex. He wound up running up large 900 number phone call bills on his dad’s phone service as a teen. What got him prison time was kiddie porn pix on his computer. He spun out of control due to his trauma. His stepfather was never charged because his mother wouldn’t believe him. To my knowledge, Ryan never raped anyone but, he is now a pariah. I’m surprised he’s still alive but, he has a strong wife.

      I agree about separating art from the person. If the art is good, shouldn’t that mean there are redeeming qualities?

    • Wise words. People get very excited – if that’s the right word – when it comes to sex offenders. I read a news story while researching this post about a school that used a Gary Glitter song in a music exam, as a reference to a particular musical technique, and there was an uproar. As if the mere sound of his voice would be enough to corrupt the children.

      Jimmy Page is a good example, as is Elvis with Priscilla. She was also 14 when they met. Is Elvis cancellable…??

      Glitter is different though because, as you say, he’s a repeat offender. Plus his victims were actual pre-teen children, not just a groupie who could pass for older than she looked…

      • Exactly…and it’s not like you or I are defending Glitter whatsoever. Plus right or wrong…back then with Jimmy and Elvis they had their parents blessing as crazy as that sounds…a different world.

  4. This was a catchy tune. His Rock & Roll Parts I & II are always played at sporting events. Either Americans don’t know his past or they really love the song because the cancel crowd has not gotten a-hold of him, yet. Plus, since he’s a Brit, maybe that gives him a pass. Americans seem to like cancelling each other but, rarely hiss at foreigners.

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