Joe Elliott’s cult 70s glam rock tracks
The new issue of Classic Rock features the 250 Lost Tracks You Must Hear Before You Die – as chosen by the stars. Here are some of Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott’s 70s glitter-rock obscurities.
T.Rex – Sunken Rags
Marc Bolan was a huge star, but Sunken Rags is a very obscure track. It was the B-side of the
T.Rex hit Children Of The Revolution. Bolan had the best B-sides anybody has ever written: B-sides that should have been A-sides. And Sunken Rags is just a great, driving rock song. I haven’t a clue what the title of the song means, or the lyrics. But I loved that stream-of-consciousness thing that Bolan was doing in his lyrics. He picked words not because they meant something, but because they sounded good. And that’s what I did with Pour Some Sugar On Me.
Chicory Tip – Good Grief Christina
Chicory Tip were the most ridiculous band in the world. They wore capes that would have made Rick Wakeman blush. But the man behind it all was Giorgio Moroder, who became a synthesiser god and went on to do the Cat People movie soundtrack with Bowie. Good Grief Christina was the third of Chicory Tip’s three hits: Son Of My Father went to No. 1; this only got to No. 17. It’s brilliant for all of the wrong reasons. It’s like really bad Abba – but before Abba. And what this kind of music eventually turned into was Nine Inch Nails. Yes, really.
Slik – Boogiest Band In Town
Before Midge Ure was in Ultravox – and before he co-wrote the Band Aid song Do They Know It’s Christmas? – this is where he got his start, as a kind of Division Two Bay City Roller. Boogiest Band In Town is a pop song pretending to be a rock song – which is really the essence of glam. And it was written by Bill Martin and Phil Coulter, the guys who wrote the Bay City Rollers’ early hits, so it’s probably a Rollers reject. But a lot of songs got offered around back then. Sweet turned down Tiger Feet – said it was shit. And then Mud had a No. 1 with it.
Alvin Stardust – My Coo Ca Choo
How could you not like a song that’s got the immortal lyric: “Tomcat, you know where it’s at/Come on, let’s go to my flat/Lay down and groove on the mat…” Even at the age of 13, I remember thinking: “Wow, you’ve got a lot of nerve.” Alvin Stardust was like a workingman’s club version of Elvis, and he looked hard – like if your dad was an Elvis fan and you didn’t mess with him on a Friday night when he’d had a few pints. My Coo Ca Choo was a huge hit during the glam era, but really it’s just pure rock’n’roll.
Kenny – Baby I Love You, OK
Kenny were a completely manufactured band – in a way, they were like Milli Vanilli. But they had
a few hits. I remember The Bump and Fancy Pants being absolutely massive. And Baby I Love You, OK! has got everything that a glam rock song should have – the Beach Boys harmonies, the Sweet guitars, the handclaps. It’s simply a great pop song full of big, loud, distorted guitars. It’s the kind of music that would give Led Zeppelin fans the horrors. But really, Kenny were never supposed to be taken seriously. They were so chicken-in-the-basket, they made Showaddywaddy look like Pink Floyd.
…And there’s more! Check out Joe Elliott’s complete list of cult glam rock obscurities in the new issue of Classic Rock – on sale now!
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