“Glam” became the buzzword for a new teen-focused music that cut through the seriousness and signaled a return to rudimentary Rock and Roll, awash in flamboyant fashions and theatrical posturing. Glam records were sometimes “bubblegum”— unpretentious, adolescent, and fun—but at other times they were groundbreaking artistic works. Its representatives were David Bowie, Alice Cooper, Roxy Music, Slade, Sweet, and others. David Bowie drew on his training in theater and mime to create his Ziggy Stardust persona, an androgynous alien-like humanoid who sang about space exploration and Pop superstardom. Alice Cooper combined horror movie spectacle with Rock and Roll anthems of teen angst, including “I’m Eighteen” and “School’s Out.” Teenagers of the early 1970s reveled in the made-to-shock styles and recordings of their new heroes. The hippie met his match.
Through an examination of musical performances, film trailers, television interviews, and archival photographs, students will investigate the cultural landscape of the early 1970s to better understand the rise of Glam and what the music offered teenage audiences who came of age after the radical social movements of the 1960s.