Glitter before all the glitter fell off. Born Paul Francis Gadd, he became
Paul Raven and nearly Terry Tinsel before settling for Gary Glitter, obviously
inspired by earlier rocker's name-finding methods, -Marty Wilde, Billy Fury,
Tommy Steele etc., but with a glam-rock twist.
Prior to his current fall from grace, Paul Gadd had been performing the British club circuit since his mid-teens in the late 1950s, appearing in such legendary London clubs as the Two I's in Soho and the Laconda and Safari Clubs. At the time, his repertoire consisted of early rock standards and ballads, and he got his first break when a film producer looking to hit the music industry, Robert Hartford Davis, discovered him and financed a recording session for the British Decca label. Under the stage name Paul Raven, he released his first single, Alone in the Night in January 1960.
A year later, he got landed a new recording deal (with Parlophone), and a new producer George Martin, before Martin hit the big-time a year later when he signed and began producing the Beatles.
When his career finally kicked off for a peak of 3-years of glam-rock, until the whole thing became just a kitsch joke, he could challenge The Sweet, Slade and T. Rex as the era's chart dominators with hits such as Rock and Roll (Parts 1 and 2), I Didn't Know I Loved You (Til I Saw You Rock 'n' Roll), Do You Wanna Touch Me? (Oh Yeah), Hello Hello I'm Back Again, I'm The Leader Of The Gang (I Am) and I Love You Love Me Love.
With the coming of the much edgier Punk, making glam and the soppy New Romantics seem all the more like a bad joke, Gary Glitter announced his retirement from music in early 1976. Glitter's collapse was so complete that he was said to have begun drinking heavily, even admitting in due course that he pondered suicide, all under money and financial pressures.
But after some years in near obscurity, Glitter spent the next decade in come-back mode, mostly as an in-demand live performer, and his back catalogue of recordings proved durable enough that several compilations sold well. He didn't have to become a caricature of himself as so many artists that attempt comebacks become, as he's always been a caricature anyway.
He was a surprise hit at the 1994 World Cup concert in Chicago which was telecast live to forty-six countries. He played the Godfather in a 1996 revival of the Who's Quadrophenia. And he cut a single, a new version of The House of the Rising Sun. Oasis sampled Glitters 1973 chart hit, "Hello, Hello, I'm Back Again" on their 1995 multi-million selling long playing album Morning Glory, just one of the many acts that was borrowing from his song book. 'Rock and Roll (Part Two)' by this time was being used heavily as a crowd-rouser at numerous American (and other) sporting events, and it was featured in the film hit, The Full Monty.
But in 1997, Glitter was arrested after child pornography images were discovered on the hard drive of a personal computer he had taken to the Bristol branch of PC World for repair. It had a dramatic impact on Glitter's career: British shops no longer carried his records, concerts were cancelled abruptly, even his segment in the Spice Girls' film, Spiceworld, was cut.
Glitter was convicted of possession of child pornography in 1999 and classified formally as a UK sex offender, serving two months of a four-month sentence. He was also charged with having sex with an underage girl, Alison Brown, when she was 14 years old. Glitter was acquitted of this charge after it emerged that Brown had sold her story to the News of the World and stood to earn more money from the newspaper on Glitter's conviction.
He reportedly moved to Cuba in 2000, but then moved on to Cambodia, buying a home there, after the British press revealed his Cuban whereabouts. But after an uproar over his presence there, Cambodian authorities were compelled to expel him from that country too. In 2001 he released a new album, On, that included material written before his child porn conviction. That material was to have been part of Lost on Life Street until that album's release was cancelled following his child porn arrest.
Since being hounded out of the Caribbean and Cambodia, he's been living in Vu-ng Tàu in Vietnam, since March 2005, and has applied for permanent resident status.
He is currently facing charges of statutory rape allegedly involving two underage girls in Vietnam after being arrested on November 19th, in Ho Chi Minh City. A variety of press reports have claimed conflicting ages for the girls involved (some claiming a 12 and 15-year-old), as well as the age of consent in Vietnam (thought to be sixteen). It's also alleged he paid them £5.50 each for sex. Underage sex in Far Eastern countries, as if this is true proves, is driven by poverty. If Glitter/Gadd is convicted, it's reported that he could face anything from 12-years to death by firing squad.
On November 24, 2005 the Mainichi Daily News reported Police said Thursday they have requested four more months of detention for whilst they complete investigations into a suspected child sex abuse case.
However, whilst I'm sure not living a totally innocent life, and being a convicted offender before, he could now just be a victim of opportunity, as may or may not be the case also with Michael Jackson. Or maybe the two aren't comparable? Chuck Berry and Roman Polanski were also both accused in high-profile cases of having sex with minors. Jackson got off, proving nothing, -wonder if The Leader will be shot?