Glitter rockers Iron Virgin formed in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1972, comprised of vocalist Stuart Harper, guitarists Gordon Nicol and Lawrie Riva, bassist Marshall Bain, and drummer John Lovatt. Following their discovery by Decca label producer Nick Tauber, Iron Virgin issued its debut single, a note-perfect reading of Paul McCartney & Wings' "Jet," in late 1973. Just as the record began earning steam on the strength of BBC airplay, McCartney released his original version as a single, and Iron Virgin's cover was swiftly forgotten.
Still, they cultivated a small but dedicated fan following based largely on their over the top live act -- while the band's early stage garb owed much to A Clockwork Orange, Iron Virgin eventually adopted a look inspired by American football uniforms, creating handmade costumes complete with iron chastity belts. As Nicol told The Guardian in 2002: "We used regular crash helmets, painted them, and added aluminum tubing around the face to look like faceguards. And we bought oversized T-shirts, used foam for padding, then [Harper] sewed numbers on the shirts. With our bright yellow loon pants and platform boots we looked quite a sight."
In 1974 Iron Virgin resurfaced with its sophomore single, "Rebels Rule." A brilliantly bombastic ode to teenage anarchy, the single's commercial failure is one of the great mysteries of its era; the band even cut a second version personalized for BBC DJ Kenny Everett, who championed the disc to no avail. Iron Virgin split soon after. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi