Will Gary Glitter ever get radio airplay again?

Gary GlitterMention the name Gary Glitter to most over-30s in the UK and you’ll usually get a look of contempt. Once one of the darlings of the 70s glam-rock music scene, he is now synonymous with his various convictions for child porn and transformation from a slightly manic-looking pop star to a bald-headed weirdo with a grey goatee.

In fact, you’ll rarely – if ever – hear one of his songs played on the radio. Radio 2 – the most likely outlet for his tunes – regularly overlook him in the likes of Pick of The Pops or their festive/bank holiday countdowns.

So there was naturally a bit of a kerfuffle when Gwyneth Paltrow decided to perform a cover version of Do You Wanna Touch Me on the TV show Glee – a song, in case you’re interested, that in January 1973 reached No.2 in the UK singles charts.

Glitter – real name Paul Gadd – committed a pretty heinous crime, but is that a reason to expunge his music from the annals of history? I don’t think so.

Take the following music artists, for example: Jerry Lee Lewis (married his 13-year-old cousin), James Brown (convicted of armed robbery and arrested numerous times for domestic abuse) and Phil Spector (convicted of murder).

If radio bosses carried out the same punishment on their music, as has been on Glitter’s, the likes of Great Balls of Fire, I Feel Good and Be My Baby would rarely be heard ever again.

And imagine what a dilemma radio bosses would have had if Michael Jackson had been found guilty of the child abuse crimes of which he was accused back in 2005. Can you imagine radio stations without the option of playing Beat It, Billie Jean, Wanna Be Startin’ Something or Smooth Criminal?

As I said before Glitter is obviously a disturbed individual, but his music should be separated from the man. Let’s not forget that his music was loved so much during the 1970s that he achieved 3 No.1s and another 8 Top 10 hits – no flash in the pan.

And in case you think he’s been completely expunged from popular music, take a closer listen to Katy Perry’s worldwide smash hit I Kissed A Girl. Do you recognise the drum beat that kicks it off and continues throughout the song. Yup, it’s a sample taken from none other than Gary Glitter’s Rock and Roll Part 2.

Let’s hope that someone finally decides to make the sensible decision and allow people to make up their own mind and hear Gary Glitter’s music for what it is – whatever the actions of the man.

7 thoughts on “Will Gary Glitter ever get radio airplay again?

  1. You should also consider that play = pay on the radio and on TV. I absolutely agree that there’s no harm to play the music from a ‘public health’ point of view, but I’m sure the BBC, for example, don’t want to give money to the guy either – I can do without it quite easily…

  2. That’s a fair enough point, but there are enough other cases of musicians who’ve been convicted of what could be considered ‘nasty’ crimes – it hasn’t stopped the BBC playing them.

    As a fairly flippant example, Cheryl Cole was convicted of racially-aggravated assault – sadly, iit hasn’t prevented us being subjected to Girls Aloud on Radio 2!

    I think there needs to be some sort of consistency – I wonder if there exists somewhere in the BBC a document that shows the scale of crime a musician needs to commit before being banned from the airwaves.

  3. You’re right! Chris Brown (Woman Beater), Boy George (Rent Boy Imprisoner), George Michael (Drunk Driver and the rest…), Mark Morrison (General Gangster), Dizzee (Gun Slinger)… All still working… Funnily enough, I took an almost hypocritical view on Michael Jackson’s planned comeback. I just felt that it was wrong and people shouldn’t support it.

    There are a million’s of reasons why Cheryl Cole should be taken off the air ;p

  4. Glitter’s career was ruined when he got beaten up by a bouncer in 1992, at a school-hall gig in Herefordshire. He appeared on the front page of the next day’s tabloids with two black eyes, looking advanced and tragic. As he had previously appeared to be a bit of a hard man, this sad incident put paid to his career. The paedophile conviction came when he’d already faded into oblivion.

  5. Paedophiles are social lepers. To commit the crimes they do against young children are heinous. In the case of Glitter the writer fails to remind readers of this article of the facts ie that Glitter sexually abused a 10 year old girl , a 11 years old girl and downloaded 4000 of the worst kind images of children being abused sexually . According to the judge the images were of girls ( and boys ) from the age of 2 upwards .
    There have been 3 British stars sent to prison for paedophile offences – Gary Glitter , Jonathan King and actor Chris Langham. .Of course the writer failed to mention Jonathan King as his records arent played on the radio either and this would not have helped his pro-Gary article would it. In the case of Langham his past shows arent shown on tv .
    It`s the general public at large who dont want to hear music by paedophiles on the radio or see them on TV. Obviously hardcore Glitter fans do but then they would wouldnt they !

  6. You make some interesting points. The thing is, I make it quite clear that I don’t condone Glitter’s crimes. My point is that music exists quite separately from the person on the radio.

    Yes, some crimes are worse than others, but other artists who have been convicted haven’t been treated in the same way.

    I still maintain that many of Glitter’s hits from his heyday are still exceptional, but most people will never hear them, because of the current policy.

  7. Nearly all the offences you quote murder,domestic abuse etc , the general public will forgive ( Eastenders Leslie Grantham an example having murdered a taxi driver in an earlier life ) .
    In the case of Spector he produced songs for other artists so there would be no justifiable reason why songs performed by The Ronettes , The Righteous Brothers etc should not be played becuase the writer/producer on these records had committed a serious offence , that would be like not playing The Glitter Band`s own songs becuase they were guilty by association. Jerry Lee and Jacko similary are innocent of any charges whatever we may think of them.
    As I commented before there is however one offence the general public will not forgive and forget and that is paedophilia and in that regard I`m afraid I cant agree with your comment that `music exists quite separately from the person`. In the case of GG , he was such a larger than life character, his personalty , stage presence and his songs are one and for that reason he wont be played on radio again , in his lifetime anyway and whilst people wont hear the music of paedophiles on the tv or radio , nearly everyone has access to a computer and both Glitter & King`s music are widely available to buy on every music download site from which they derive royalties as performers and songwriters and their videos are widely available to view on youtube and elsewhere.
    So no-one has any excuse to complain they are deprived of GG & JK`s music do they ?

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