15 of the best glam rock bands of the 70s

glam rock bands of the 70s

The ’70s were the hottest years in rock and metal music. We can even say that the 70s were the golden age of rock music. We were introduced to rock bands in the 70s such as Led Zeppelin, iconic AC/DC members, Pink Floyd, Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, and many more. Alongside these bands, musicians who wanted to innovate and use their creativity gave birth to a new genre: Glam Rock. Let’s look at the best glam rock bands of the 70s.

One thing is certain: when we were introduced to glam rock in the ’70s, the world suddenly seemed to glow with beautiful colors. This genre, which reminded us of a teenage rebellion made a generation addicted to guitar music. For a while, people had forgotten about the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, or Bob Dylan. The fans of glam rock wanted their revolution. The 60s were dead. The new stars were like superheroes from another galaxy.

glam rock bands of the 70s.

Here are the best glam rock bands of the 70s:

  • T. Rex
  • Roxy Music
  • Slade
  • Sweet
  • Mott the Hoople
  • Gary Glitter
  • New York Dolls
  • Wizzard
  • Mud
  • Sparks
  • The Glitter Band
  • Queen
  • Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music
  • Hello
  • Cockney Rebel
  • The Sensational Alex Harvey Band
  • The Rubettes
  • Jobriath
  • KISS
  • Suzi Quatro and The Quatro Sisters

1. T. Rex

At the beginning of the 70s, England is in a T. Rex frenzy. A wave of “Rextasy” swept across the British Isles. The reason for this wave was the initiator Marc Feld (Marc Bolan).

T. Rex, led by the iconic Marc Bolan, was one of the best British glam rock bands that emerged in the late 1960s and became one of the defining acts of the 1970s.

The band was initially formed as Tyrannosaurus Rex in 1967, featuring Marc Bolan and Steve Peregrin Took. The duo released a series of folk-inspired albums. However, in 1969, Took left the band, and Bolan formed a new lineup, shortening the band’s name to T. Rex.

Albums by T. Rex

Here are some of the albums by T. Rex

  • My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair (1968)
  • Prophets, Seers & Sages (1968)
  • Unicorn (1969)
  • A Beard of Stars (1970)
  • T. Rex (1970)
  • Electric Warrior (1971)
  • The Slider (1972)
  • Tanx (1973)
  • Bolan’s Zip Gun (1975)
  • Futuristic Dragon (1976)
  • Dandy in the Underworld (1977)
Glam rock bands 70s
Photo by David Warner Ellis/Redferns

2. Roxy Music

Roxy Music was a British glam rock band. The band was formed in London, in 1970. Bryan Ferry was the band’s lead vocalist and primary songwriter.

The members of Roxy Music were Ferry, Brian Eno, Phil Manzanera, Graham Simpson, Andy Mackay, and Paul Thompson. They released a self-titled debut album in 1972.

The band members adopted a glossy and chic persona, frequently appearing in fancy costumes and exuding an air of creative indulgence. Their live performances and record covers both exhibited their artistic sensibility and offered another level to their total creative output.

Albums by Roxy Music

Here is a list of Roxy Music albums.:

  • Roxy Music (1972)
  • For Your Pleasure (1973)
  • Stranded (1973)
  • Country Life (1974)
  • Siren (1975)
  • Viva! (Live album) (1976)
  • Manifesto (1979)
  • Flesh and Blood (1980)
  • Avalon (1982)

3. Slade

Slade was a British glam rock and hard rock band. It was formed in 1966 in Wolverhampton, England.

Through the 1970s, Slade saw an ongoing series of chart victories. With six number-one singles throughout their incredible run of 17 straight top 20 singles in the UK, they experienced great success.

Albums by Slade

Here are the albums by Slade:

  • Beginnings (1969)
  • Play It Loud (1970)
  • Coz I Luv You (1971)
  • Slade Alive! (1972)
  • Slayed? (1972)
  • Old New Borrowed and Blue (1974)
  • Slade in Flame (1974)
  • Nobody’s Fools (1976)
  • Whatever Happened to Slade (1977)
  • Return to Base (1979)
  • We’ll Bring the House Down (1981)
  • Till Deaf Do Us Part (1981)
  • The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome (1983)
  • Rogues Gallery (1985)
  • You Boyz Make Big Noize (1987)
  • Crackers – The Christmas Party Album (1985)
  • Cum On Let’s Party! (2002)
  • Rogues Gallery – Expanded Edition (2007)

best glam rock bands of the 70s

4. Sweet (The Sweet)

The Sweet was one of the best glam rock bands of the 70s. It was formed in London in 1968.

The original lineup consisted of Brian Connolly, Steve Priest, Mick Tucker, and Frank Torpey. Torpey was later replaced by Andy Scott. The band initially had a bubblegum pop sound, releasing songs like “Funny Funny” and “Co-Co,” but they later evolved into a heavier glam rock sound.

Sweet had many hit singles in the 1970s. Some of their most well-known songs are: “Block Buster!,” “Ballroom Blitz,” “Fox on the Run,” and “Love is Like Oxygen.”

Over the years, Sweet changed many band members. Brian Connolly left the band in 1979, followed by Mick Tucker in 1981. Andy Scott and Steve Priest continued with new members, performing as Sweet in various incarnations. However, they did not achieve the same level of success as the classic lineup.

Albums by Sweet

Here are the albums by Sweet:

  • Funny How Sweet Co-Co Can Be (1971)
  • Sweet Fanny Adams (1974)
  • Desolation Boulevard (1974)
  • Give Us a Wink (1976)
  • Off the Record (1977)
  • Level Headed (1978)
  • Cut Above the Rest (1979)
  • Waters Edge (1980)
  • Identity Crisis (1982)
  • Sweet 16 (1993)
  • New York Connection (1996)
  • Sweetlife (2002)
  • The Answer (1992)
  • Live at the Rainbow 1973 (1999)
  • Sweet’s Biggest Hits (1972)
sweet glam rock band

5. Mott the Hoople

Mott the Hoople is a glam rock band from Herefordshire in England. It was active between 1969 and 1976. Their biggest hit was a song by David Bowie, All the Young Dudes.

The guitarist Mick Ralphs traveled to London in 1969, where he hired Ian Hunter as a singer. The group was renamed Mott the Hoople by their producer Guy Stevens after the title of a novel by Willard Manus published in 1966.

The eponymous album was released in 1969 and was heavily influenced by hard rock. The second is more focused on ballads, rhythm, and blues, while the third is inspired by country rock.

The sales vo their second album, Mad Shadows (1970), were also poor. Wildlife (1971) was no better. The expected success did not come. The members went their separate ways after a depressing concert in Switzerland.

Albums by Mott the Hoople

  1. Mott the Hoople (1969)
  2. Mad Shadows (1970)
  3. Wildlife (1971)
  4. Brain Capers (1971)
  5. All the Young Dudes (1972)
  6. Mott (1973)
  7. The Hoople (1974)
  8. Live (1974)
  9. Drive On (1975)
  10. Shouting and Pointing (1976)

6. Gary Glitter

Gary Glitter was supposed to embody all the glittering dreams that people usually have of the glamorous lives of pop stars. And Paul Francis Gadd, born on May 8, 1944, in Banbury, did it very well. Glitter rose to the top in 1972 with his glam rock anthem “Rock And Roll”.

At a young age, Gadd was drawn to the center of the British music scene: London. There he played rock’n’roll classics in small clubs, which brought him the attention of Robert Hartford Davis. Robert Hartford Davis arranged a recording contract for Gadd with Decca, where he made his debut in 1960 under the pseudonym Paul Raven.

Albums by Gary Glitter

Here are some of the most successful albums of Gary Glitter:

  1. Glitter (1972)
  2. Touch Me (1973)
  3. Remember Me This Way (1974)
  4. Silver Star (1977)
  5. Boys Will Be Boys (1984)
  6. Leader II (1991)
  7. On (1997)
Gary Glitter
Gary Glitter

7. New York Dolls

The New York Dolls were founded in 1971. Their style combined elements of rock ‘n’ roll, punk, and glam rock, with influences from bands like The Rolling Stones, The Stooges, and The Velvet Underground.

The band first rose to fame in 1972 for their wild performances at the Mercer Arts Center and Max’s Kansas City in Lower Manhattan, where they donned their trademark women’s makeup and eccentric clothes. Their glam rock androgyny concealed a natural musical aesthetic that blended rhythm and blues with British Invasion influences with the guitar distortion and thunderous backbeat of proto-punk bands like the MC5 and Iggy and the Stooges.

The band’s reputation was further enhanced by Murcia‘s drug-related passing while they were on tour in England in 1972. The next year, they signed with Mercury Records and issued the Todd Rundgren-produced single New York Dolls.

Albums by New York Dolls

  1. New York Dolls (1973)
  2. Too Much Too Soon (1974)
  3. One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This (2006)
  4. ‘Cause I Sez So (2009)
  5. Dancing Backward in High Heels (2011)
Best glam rock bands of the 70s
New York Dolls

8. Wizzard

Wizzard was Roy Wood’s band in the 1970s after he left the Electric Light Orchestra. The musical style was a mix of big band and rock ‘n’ roll. Wizzard is attributed to glam rock because of its look. Many disagreed with this because they felt that their music was too sophisticated for glam rock. This was observed especially in the LPs. The band also played pieces of progressive rock, such as Meet Me at the Jailhouse or Ball Park Incident.

The group existed from 1972 to about 1976 and had number-one hits (See My Baby Jive, Angel Fingers) in the British charts in 1973, as well as a number of other top ten hits.

Wizzard`s Albums

Wizzard released three albums:

  • Wizzard Brew (1973, with Alan Parsons on the mixing desk)
  • Main Street (2000/recorded 1976).
  • A “best of” album Singles A’s and B’s was released, which also includes rare single B-sides by the group.

9. Mud

Mud was a British glam rock band of the 70s. It was formed in Carshalton, Surrey, England, in 1966. The band initially consisted of Les Gray (vocals), Rob Davis (guitar), Ray Stiles (bass), and Dave Mount (drums).

At the beginning of their career, the group was active in British clubs. In 1972 came the first record deal. By 1976, eleven songs landed on the British charts. At the end of the decade, things went less well. The members of the Band parted ways…

In the 80s, singer Gray, who had solo success with his version of “A Groovy Kind Of Love” in 1977 and repeatedly appeared with Elvis numbers, continued under the name Les Grays Mud.

Albums by Mud

  • Mud Rock (1974)
  • Mud Rock Vol. II (1975)
  • Use Your Imagination (1975)
  • Mud’s Greatest Hits (1975)
  • It’s Better Than Working (1976)
  • Rock On (1978)
  • As You Like It (1979)
Mud glam rock band

10. Sparks

Sparks are a glam rock/pop/avantgarde-rock band formed in Los Angeles by brothers Ron and Russell Mael in 1967. Sparks became known for their theatrical, operetta style.

Sparks made their first recordings under the name Urban Renewal Project before changing their name to Halfnelson in 1968. They also recorded their first LP, produced by Todd Rundgren, under that name. After a label change, the album was re-released under the name Sparks. The band’s biggest hits include “This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us” (1974), “The Number One Song In Heaven” (1979), and “When Do I Get To Sing My Way” (1994).

Throughout their career, Sparks experimented with new styles, from prog-rock to disco to dance-pop. But no matter what style of music, Sparks’ idiosyncratic music was always identifiable after a few seconds.

The brothers Ron and Russell Mael celebrated their breakthrough in 1974 with the killer album “Kimono My House“. The album was released in the midst of glam rock fever. The singles “This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us” (number two in England) and “Amateur Hour” (number three) put the Sparks on the front pages of the music gazettes.

In the 2010s, Sparks collaborated with the Scottish band Franz Ferdinand, among others. In 2020, they released their album “A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip”, whose advance single “Please Don’t Fuck Up My World” was ByteFM track of the day in December 2019.

In 2021, the musical film “Annette” was released, for which Sparks had written the music and, in collaboration with director Leos Carax, the screenplay. In the same year, Edgar Wright released the documentary film “The Sparks Brothers” about the band. In 2023, the Mael brothers announced their 27th album “The Girl Is Crying In Her Latte” with the single of the same name.

Albums by Sparks

Sparks have released 27 albums so far:

  1. Halfnelson (1971) – Released as “Halfnelson” in the United States and “Sparks” in the United Kingdom.
  2. A Woofer in Tweeter’s Clothing (1972)
  3. Kimono My House (1974)
  4. Propaganda (1974)
  5. Indiscreet (1975)
  6. Big Beat (1976)
  7. Introducing Sparks (1977)
  8. No. 1 in Heaven (1979)
  9. Terminal Jive (1980)
  10. Whomp That Sucker (1981)
  11. Angst in My Pants (1982)
  12. In Outer Space (1983)
  13. Pulling Rabbits Out of a Hat (1984)
  14. Music That You Can Dance To (1986)
  15. Interior Design (1988)
  16. Gratuitous Sax & Senseless Violins (1994)
  17. Plagiarism (1997)
  18. Balls (2000)
  19. Lil’ Beethoven (2002)
  20. Hello Young Lovers (2006)
  21. Exotic Creatures of the Deep (2008)
  22. The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman (2009)
  23. Two Hands, One Mouth: Live in Europe (2013)
  24. FFS (with Franz Ferdinand) (2015)
  25. Hippopotamus (2017)
  26. A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip (2020)
  27. The Girl Is Crying In Her Latte (2023)

11. The Glitter Band

The Glitter Band began as a backing band for Gary Glitter. The band released Gary Glitter Songs without Gary Glitter starting in 1974. It is one of the most famous representatives of the glam rock of the 70s. In 1977, the group initially broke up but reunited in 1981.

When Gary Glitter’s first single Rock and Roll Parts 1 and 2 became a number-two hit in England, he felt that he needed a band. He contacted his manager John Rossall, who was the musical director of the “Boston Show Band” at the time. “The Glitter Band” was formed.

In 1972 Ray Moxley was kicked out of the band. He was replaced by John Springate from The Foundations.

1973 John Rossall had the idea to record their own records. He told Mike Leander about his idea. Leander, who also did the productions for the Glitter Band, accepted it. The band finally recorded Angel Face.

Albums by The Glitter Band

  1. Hey! (1974)
  2. Rock ‘n’ Roll Dudes (1975)
  3. Listen to the Band (1975)
  4. Paris Match (1976)
  5. The Albums 1974-1976 (Compilation) (1996)
  6. The Best of the Glitter Band (Compilation) (1997)
  7. The Glitter Band  (2001)

12. Queen

Queen was formed in 1970 by Freddie Mercury, Brian May, and Roger Taylor. The band named itself after the British Queen. In 1971 John Deacon joined as the fourth member. He played bass. Brian May played guitar and Roger Taylor drums and Freddie Mercury was the lead singer.

The first song with which Queen was successful in Great Britain appeared in 1974, it was called “Seven Seas Of Rhye”. “Killer Queen” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” came later. With these songs came Queen’s success for the first time in other countries as well.

The most famous songs of Queen are “We Will Rock You”, “Radio Ga Ga” and “We Are the Champions”.

In 1985 there was a very special performance: Queen played with other musicians at “Live Aid”. This was a big concert in London, England. Millions of people watched on television. The money raised by the concert was donated to the people in the East of Africa. Queen is considered one of the best glam rock bands of the 70s.

Albums by Queen

  1. Queen (1973)
  2. Queen II (1974)
  3. Sheer Heart Attack (1974)
  4. A Night at the Opera (1975)
  5. A Day at the Races (1976)
  6. News of the World (1977)
  7. Jazz (1978)
  8. The Game (1980)
  9. Flash Gordon (1980) – Soundtrack album
  10. Hot Space (1982)
  11. The Works (1984)
  12. A Kind of Magic (1986)
  13. The Miracle (1989)
  14. Innuendo (1991)
  15. Made in Heaven (1995)
  16. Queen on Fire: Live at the Bowl (2004) – Live album
  17. Return of the Champions (2005) – Live album with Paul Rodgers
  18. The Cosmos Rocks (2008) – with Paul Rodgers
  19. Queen Forever (2014) – Compilation album
  20. Live at the Rainbow ’74 (2014) – Live album
  21. Queen on Air (2016) – Live album
  22. Bohemian Rhapsody: The Original Soundtrack (2018) – Compilation album

13. KISS

The band Kiss was formed in 1973 in New York. A year earlier, guitarist and singer Paul Stanley and bassist Gene Simmons met and decided to make music together. They teamed up with drummer Peter Criss and guitarist Ace Frehley.

The group had its first performance in January 1973, and in March of the same year, the band members of KISS were first seen wearing makeup on stage. The group’s first album, “Kiss,” was released in February 1974. Their biggest hit, “I Was Made For Lovin’ You,” was released in May 1979 and rose to No. 2 in the German charts. In 1980, Criss left the band, and Frehley followed suit two years later.

At an appearance on MTV in 1983, Kiss members stood on stage for the first time without makeup.

Frehley left the band again in 2002 and was replaced by Tommy Thayer. Two years later, Criss also left again and found his successor in Eric Singer. Until 2012, Kiss released a total of 20 studio and 10 live albums.

Albums by Kiss

Here are the albums by Kiss:

  1. KISS (1974)
  2. Hotter Than Hell (1974)
  3. Dressed to Kill (1975)
  4. Destroyer (1976)
  5. Rock and Roll Over (1976)
  6. Love Gun (1977)
  7. Alive II (1977) – Live album
  8. Dynasty (1979)
  9. Unmasked (1980)
  10. Music from “The Elder” (1981)
  11. Creatures of the Night (1982)
  12. Lick It Up (1983)
  13. Animalize (1984)
  14. Asylum (1985)
  15. Crazy Nights (1987)
  16. Hot in the Shade (1989)
  17. Revenge (1992)
  18. Carnival of Souls: The Final Sessions (1997)
  19. Psycho Circus (1998)
  20. Sonic Boom (2009)
  21. Monster (2012)
Kiss the band

14. The Sensational Alex Harvey Band

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, often abbreviated as SAHB, was a Scottish glam rock band that rose to prominence in the 1970s.

The band was formed in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1972. The original lineup consisted of Alex Harvey (vocals), Zal Cleminson (guitar), Hugh McKenna (keyboards), Chris Glen (bass), and Ted McKenna (drums). Prior to forming the band, Alex Harvey had already gained recognition as a solo artist and had experience in the music industry.

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band achieved commercial success in the mid-1970s. Their breakthrough came with their album “Next” in 1973, which featured the hit single “The Faith Healer.” Subsequent albums like “The Impossible Dream” (1974) and “Tomorrow Belongs to Me” (1975) further solidified their popularity and critical acclaim.

Albums by Sensational Alex Harvey Band

Sensational Alex Harvey Band has released 13 albums so far. Here are the albums:

  1. Framed (1972)
  2. Next (1973)
  3. The Impossible Dream (1974)
  4. Tomorrow Belongs to Me (1975)
  5. Live (1975) – Live album
  6. SAHB Stories (1976)
  7. Rock Drill (1978)
  8. Fourplay (1993) – Compilation album
  9. British Tour ’76 (1994) – Live album
  10. Last of the Teenage Idols (1994) – Live album
  11. The Penthouse Tapes (1995) – Compilation album
  12. Live in Glasgow 1993 (2006) – Live album
  13. Zalvation (2006) – Compilation album
Sensational Alex Harvey Band
Sensational Alex Harvey Band

15. The Rubettes

The Rubettes achieved significant success during the glam rock era and is one of the best glam rock bands of the 70s.

The first six singles and three albums were produced by Bickerton and Tony Waddington. These producers had also worked with ex-Beatle Pete Best in the 1960s.

Starting in 1976, the Rubetts parted ways with the producer and composer duo Bickerton & Waddington and produced their own work with Alan Blakely.

Albums by The Rubettes

The Rubettes released a series of albums throughout the 1970s.

Some of their notable albums include:

  • Wear It’s ‘At (1974)
  • We Can Do It (1975)
  • Sign of the Times (1976)
  • Baby I Know (1977)

From the iconic personas of David Bowie and Marc Bolan to the infectious melodies of Sweet and Slade, the glam rock movement left an indelible mark on the music industry.

T. Rex charmed listeners with their otherworldly lyrics and boogie-rock beats, and Roxy Music’s skillful fusion of glam, pop, and art rock revealed their avant-garde sensibilities. Slade’s catchy sing-alongs and Mud’s contagious pop tunes guaranteed their position in music lovers’ hearts.

Pushing the limits of rock performance and spectacle were The Sensational Alex Harvey Band’s theatricality and storytelling, Queen’s opulent anthems, and Kiss’s enormous stage productions. Meanwhile, the raw and raucous energy of the New York Dolls and Gary Glitter’s glam rock anthems gave the genre a more edgy and rebellious edge.

Did we forget some of the bands? What are your favorite glam rock bands of the 70s? Let us know in the comments!

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