You Say It's Your Birthday: Gary Glitter

It's also Marc Bolan's birhday today.

Today is the birthday of glam-rock personality Gary

Glitter (given name: Paul Francis Gadd), who was born in 1940 in Banbury,

England. Glitter was a peer to bands like T. Rex and Slade which came to power

in the 1970s; although he had huge influence in England, he barely charted in

America. Glitter's career began in the early 1960s when he began recording

ballads under the name Paul Raven. His version of "Walk on By" was a huge hit

in the Middle East in 1961, and he toured with folks like Cliff Richard and

Tommy Steele. He sang on Jesus Christ Superstar and recorded a cover of

the Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun."

In 1971 Gadd dubbed himself Gary

Glitter and burst onto the glam-rock scene with singles like "Rock and Roll

Part II," "Do You Wanna Touch Me?" (later a hit for Joan Jett), "I'm The Leader

of the Gang" and "Remember Me This Way." His studio debut, 1972's

Glitter, was also a success. However, Glitter's early success

pigeonholed him and he soon became a self-parody. He was continually going on

"retirements," although by 1976 he had charted 13 consecutive hits in England.

He toured with a handpicked group called the Glitter Band and hung on until the

end of the decade.

In 1980 Glitter had to declare bankruptcy because he

owed so much in back taxes. He tried to raise money by touring and selling off

much of his elaborate clothing. In 1986 he accidentally overdosed on sleeping

pills but survived; now he occasionally appears on television specials around


Other birthdays: Alex Van Halen, Chris Frantz (Talking

Heads, Tom Tom Club), Marc Bolan (T. Rex), the late Rick Nelson, John Fred,

Euclid James Motorhead Sherwood, Paul Samwell-Smith (Yardbirds), Toni Tennille,

Phillip Bailey (Earth Wind & Fire) and Billy Burnette (Fleetwood Mac). -- Beth