Paul Francis Gadd (born 8 May 1944), known by the stage name Gary Glitter, is an English former glam rock singer, who achieved popular success in the 1970s and 80s. He was known for his extreme glam image of glitter suits, make-up and platform boots, and his energetic live performances. He sold over 20 million records, spent 168 weeks on the UK Singles Chart and had 21 hit singles placing him in the Top 100 UK most successful chart acts. From 1997, he returned to public notice for committing sex offences, being imprisoned for downloading child pornography in 1999, and child sexual abuse and attempted rape in 2006 and 2015.
Glitter on TopPop, 1974
|Born||Paul Francis Gadd
8 May 1944
Banbury, Oxfordshire, England
|Criminal charge||Possession of child pornography, child sexual abuse, attempted rape of minors|
|Criminal penalty||16 years in prison|
After performing under the name Paul Raven in the 1960s, he first came to prominence as Gary Glitter in the glam rock era of the early 1970s, with a sustained solo UK chart run of hits including "Rock and Roll, Parts 1 and 2", "Do You Wanna Touch Me", "I Love You Love Me Love", "I'm the Leader of the Gang (I Am)", and "Hello, Hello, I'm Back Again". Having become one of the most prominent figures in British popular culture, a slight decline in the late 1970s was followed by a successful comeback as a solo artist again from the 1980s. Between 1972 and 1995, Glitter had 26 hit singles which spent a total of 180 weeks in the UK Singles Chart; twelve of those reached the Top 10, with three charting at number-one. He continued to record in the 1980s and 1990s, with his 1984 song "Another Rock and Roll Christmas" becoming one of the most played Christmas hits of all time. He released seven studio albums, and at least fifteen compilation or live albums. In 1998, his recording of "Rock and Roll" was listed as one of the top 1,001 songs in music history. The mostly instrumental "Rock and Roll, Part 2" has been played as a popular cheering song at American sporting events for several decades.
The BBC described Glitter's fall from grace as "dramatic" and "spectacular". The late 1990s saw his image become irreparably tarnished, following his 1997 arrest and 1999 conviction in the United Kingdom for downloading thousands of items of child pornography. He was also charged, but acquitted, of sexual activity with an underage girl in the 1970s. Later, Glitter faced criminal charges and deportation from several countries including Vietnam and Cambodia connected with actual and suspected child sexual abuse, after a Vietnamese court found him guilty of obscene acts with minors in 2006. He had been living in Vietnam since deportation from Cambodia on suspected child sexual abuse charges in 2002. Glitter was deported from Vietnam back to Britain at the end of his sentence, where he was placed on the Sex Offenders' Register for life. In October 2012, Glitter was arrested again as part of Operation Yewtree. He was bailed but was eventually charged, in June 2014, with historical child sex offences. On 5 February 2015, he was found guilty of attempted rape, four counts of indecent assault, and one of having sex with a girl under the age of 13 between 1975 and 1980. On 27 February 2015, he was sentenced to a total of 16 years in prison.
Paul Francis Gadd was born on 8 May 1944 in Banbury, Oxfordshire, England. His mother, a cleaner, was unmarried, and initially brought him up with the help of her mother; he never knew his father. He was hard to control and at the age of 10, along with his brother, he was taken into local authority care. Although nominally a Protestant, he was educated at a Roman Catholic school. He frequently ran away to London, to the clubs that were to be the launching ground of his career.
By the time he was 16, Gadd was already performing at London clubs. His career grew as he appeared at such venues as the Two I's, in Soho, and the Laconda and Safari Clubs. His repertoire consisted of early rock and roll standards and gentle ballads. He gained his first break when film producer Robert Hartford-Davis discovered him and financed a recording session for Decca Records. In January 1960, at 15, under the stage name Paul Raven, he released his first single, "Alone in the Night".
A year later, with a new manager, Vic Billings, he signed a new recording contract with Parlophone and worked with record producer George Martin, before Martin's association with the Beatles. Martin produced two singles, "Walk on Boy" and "Tower of Strength", but neither sold very well and Raven's recording career stalled. By 1964, Raven was reduced to working as an assistant, and playing the warm-up for the British music television programme Ready Steady Go!. He did numerous TV commercials and film auditions, and in the course of those activities met arranger and record producer Mike Leander who eventually helped revive his career. He even auditioned for the role of the protagonist in the film Privilege (1967), which was written and directed by Peter Watkins, known for the television drama The War Game.
Raven joined the Mike Leander Show Band in early 1965. Then he was deputised to produce a few recording sessions by such artists as Thane Russell and a Scottish freakbeat band, the Poets. After Leander's group disbanded, Raven formed Boston International with saxophonist John Rossall, and spent the following five years touring the UK and Germany, recording occasionally. From 1968 to 1970, several singles including "Musical Man", "Goodbye Seattle" and a cover version of the Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun" were released, his name briefly changed to Paul Monday. As the glam movement took off in 1971, Raven adopted the new stage name Gary Glitter, which he devised by playing alliteratively with letters of the alphabet, working backwards from Z. Other options included Terry Tinsel, Stanley Sparkle and Vicky Vomit.
The song that made Gary Glitter's name began as a 15-minute jam session; whittled down to a pair of three-minute extracts it was released as the A-side and B-sides of a single called "Rock and Roll, Parts 1 and 2". Part 2 proved to be the more popular side in many countries, although it took about six months before it made its full impact, going to No. 2 on the UK Singles Chart and reaching the Top Ten in the United States, one of the few British glam rock records to do so. "Rock and Roll Part 1" was also a hit: in France it made number-one, and in the UK both sides were listed together on the charts.
"Rock and Roll" was followed by other successes over the next three years. Glitter, backed by the Glittermen/the Glitter Band on stage, competed with Sweet, Slade and T. Rex for domination of the charts. To reinforce his image, he reportedly owned 30 glitter suits and fifty pairs of silver platform boots. He also released several singles which became UK Top 10 hits, with "I'm the Leader of the Gang (I Am)" being his first single to reach the number-one position in the summer of 1973, and "I Love You Love Me Love", its follow-up, his second. Even an atypical ballad, "Remember Me This Way", went to No. 3. He had eleven consecutive Top 10 singles, from "Rock and Roll, Parts 1 and 2" in 1972 to "Doing Alright with the Boys" in the summer of 1975. "Rock and Roll (Part 2)" caught on as a popular sports anthem in North America.
Despite his success in the UK, Glitter never made the same impact in America where, at best, glam rock was seen as a curiosity. Glitter had one more entry on the US charts with "I Didn't Know I Loved You (Till I Saw You Rock and Roll)"; after that, the closest chart success for Glitter was a cover recording of "I'm the Leader of the Gang (I Am)" by Brownsville Station.
After "Doing Alright with the Boys", Glitter won the award for Best Male Artist at the Saturday Scene music awards hosted by LWT. His next release was a cover of the Rivingtons' novelty nonsensical doo-wop song "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow", but it got no higher than No. 38 on the British charts. After subsequent releases stalled in similar fashion, Glitter announced his retirement from the music industry to start a family life with his new partner in early 1976. That same year, his first hits package, simply titled Greatest Hits, was released. It entered the UK Top 40 best-seller charts. A similar budget album, entitled I Love You Love Me Love, was issued by Hallmark Entertainment the following year.
Comeback and business interests
In 1976, Glitter faced declining record sales. He took a two-year-long exile, living in France and Australia, before returning to the UK, and beginning his comeback.
Glitter's career took a downturn towards the end of the 1970s, leading him to declare bankruptcy in 1977, though he later blamed the high tax rate in the UK at the time. He entered bankruptcy a second time over unpaid tax in the 1990s. Under financial pressure, not even a pair of Top 40 hit singles ("It Takes All Night Long" and "A Little Boogie Woogie in the Back of My Mind") could lift him all the way back. It took the post-punk audience, and some of its artists who still respected Glitter's work, to do that; he had been an influence on post-punk, new wave, Britpop and glam metal, as well as early punk rock itself. Around this time, Glitter settled into being a performer with a niche following that continued until his conviction for possession of child pornography in 1999. This helped provide the opportunity for Glitter to cut a dance medley of his greatest hits, "All That Glitters", which charted in 1981. Within three years, he was playing 80 shows a year at colleges and nightclubs and had chart hits "Dance Me Up" (UK No. 25) and "Another Rock and Roll Christmas" (UK No. 7).
Glitter's comeback was boosted in the 1980s by various guest spots and collaborations. In 1982, he appeared on the British Electric Foundation album Music of Quality and Distinction Volume One (UK No. 25) along with fellow pop/rock luminaries Sandie Shaw and Tina Turner. In 1988, the Timelords' "Doctoring the Tardis", a Doctor Who tribute that sampled "Rock and Roll (Part 2)", reached the number-one spot. In due course, Glitter re-cut "Rock and Roll" with producer Trevor Horn and also "I'm the Leader of the Gang (I Am)" with Girlschool. In the late 1980s, his hit singles were used to compile the Telstar-released C'mon... C'mon – The Gary Glitter Party Album. In 1989, Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers put a large sample of "Another Rock and Roll Christmas" on their number-one UK hit "Let's Party". In 1987 Glitter received a ten-year driving ban and narrowly escaped imprisonment after a third conviction for drunk driving.
During the 1980s Glitter became a Buddhist and a vegetarian. He opened a restaurant in Leicester Square in 1991, with Gary's Glitter Bar being promoted under the slogan "Leader of the Snack", but the restaurant closed a few years later. Glitter also launched his own record label in the early 1990s, Attitude Records, after he lost his deal with Virgin Records. He had signed to Virgin after leaving Arista Records in 1984 after twelve years with the label. Attitude records was merged into Machmain Ltd later in the 1990s, a music company owned by Glitter.
Glitter spent the next decade mostly as an in-demand live performer, and his back catalogue of recordings proved durable enough for several compilations to be successfully released. He appeared in billboard and poster advertisements for British Rail, in one of which he was shown attempting to look younger in order to obtain a Young Persons Railcard. He also released a new studio album Leader II in 1991.
The Leader, his best-selling autobiography, was published in 1991. He was a surprise hit at the 1994 FIFA World Cup concert in Chicago, which was telecast live to forty-six countries. He played the Godfather in the 1996 revival tour of the Who's Quadrophenia. He also released a new single, a cover version of "The House of the Rising Sun". The English rock band Oasis used a sample from Glitter's 1973 chart hit "Hello, Hello, I'm Back Again" on their 1995 multi-million-selling album (What's the Story) Morning Glory?, one of a number of acts that borrowed from his songbook.
Career moves since 2000
In 2002, Snapper Music re-promoted The Ultimate Gary Glitter – 25 Years of Hits, a two-disc compilation album of Glitter's music initially released in 1997, days after his arrest, which covers his commercial breakthrough in 1972 through to 1984 while also including a song that was later released on On, and singles by his former backing band the Glitter Band without him; again it was moderately successful.
In September 2001 he released a new studio album, On, that included material written before his 1999 British conviction. That material was to have been part of a project called Lost on Life Street until that album's release was cancelled following his arrest. By December 2004, after releasing a new single, "Control", Glitter was in the news again concerning his behaviour; NGOs had been petitioning the government with their own evidence aimed at arresting Glitter. He moved to Vietnam.
In 2005 Remember Me This Way, the documentary filmed at Glitter's career peak in 1973 (and originally released in 1974), was issued for the first time on DVD. Glitter's music itself still had an audience, further demonstrated by three new album releases, although all of them contained past recordings from the vaults, rather than new product. The first two new albums were issued at the same time, The Remixes and Live in Concert (the latter of which was a 1981 recording). These were only for sale on the Internet. A new collection of Glitter's chart hit singles followed, The Best of Gary Glitter. In 2006 his back catalogue was made available via the Internet from sites such as iTunes and eMusic.
In 2011 a collection of hits and B-sides was issued under the title All that Glitters.
News reports stated that, as of late July 2013, Glitter may have earned a total of £1,000,000 from royalties derived from the Oasis song "Hello" that sampled "Hello, Hello, I'm Back Again". Music industry lawyer Craig Brookes cited this monetary sum in addition to the royalties from his back catalogue of songs—£300,000 a year or more—and the estimated £200,000 Glitter was awarded for copyright infringement after he enacted legal action against Oasis in 1999. In 2014, Billboard reported that "Rock and Roll Part 2", co-written by Glitter with Mike Leander, was earning an estimated $250,000 a year in royalties due to its use in the NHL.
Influence on other musicians
- Mark E. Smith was a Glitter fan. "I was really into Gary Glitter, and I used to get bad-mouthed for it. It was like 'You've got to be into David Bowie or Yes – Gary Glitter's just tripe'. And I was going 'It's fuckin' great. It's avant-garde... Well, two drummers and all that – it was really percussive. It was the only decent thing around", the Fall frontman said in 1993, speaking to NME.
- "Glam was fairly good at the time; also it was almost all we had. It could look ridiculous but musically it was often alright. Sometimes when you listen back bits of it sound quite punk. I liked Gary Glitter, Hello, Slade; they were all laying the roots to punk. Some of Bowie and Lou Reed were very good and [Marc] Bolan of course. I suppose it had a bit of influence, but not a lot." – Knox from the Vibrators citing glam rock acts, including Glitter, as an influence on punk.
- CeeLo Green has been influenced by Glitter's music, telling NME in 2014, "I'm very aware of the crimes (Glitter) committed so I would not like to have this misconstrued. But I appreciate the musical contribution and (what he did) sonically."
- Freddie Mercury performed as Larry Lurex, a name influenced by the name "Gary Glitter".
- John Eddie was inspired by Glitter and described his first single "Jungle Boy" as "Gary Glitter meets Elvis Presley".
- Joan Jett was inspired by Glitter's early 1970s output, and has covered his song "Do You Wanna Touch Me".
- Gothic rock band The Sisters of Mercy have cited Glitter as an influence.
- Kesha has also cited Glitter as an influence.
In July 1963, Gadd married Ann Murton. The following year they had a son, also called Paul, and in 1966 a daughter, Sarah. They divorced in 1972. In February 2001, he had another son, Gary, Jr., with Yudenia Sosa Martínez, born 1973, with whom he was then living in Cuba.
On 20 January 2008, the News of the World reported that Glitter had suffered a severe heart attack. These reports were denied, although it was confirmed that he had been diagnosed with heart problems. "Glitter was admitted to our hospital with acute diarrhoea", said Nguyen Huu Quang, the director of the hospital in Bình Thuận Province, near the prison where Glitter was serving out his sentence. "While we were treating him, we found out that he also has a cardiovascular disorder."
Legal history as sex offender
Since the late 1990s, Glitter has been charged with numerous sexual offences. According to The Daily Telegraph's music critic, Neil McCormick, "there was a notion that every rock star had complete impunity to commit the crimes, the moral crimes that nobody else in society were committing" and he felt that Glitter was "a sexual predator who exploited the possibilities of what was there".
Child pornography arrest and conviction
In November 1997, Glitter was arrested after a technician discovered pornographic images of children on the hard drive of a laptop that he had taken to a computer retailer in Bristol for repair. He was castigated in the media over the allegations. Additionally, his appearance in the Spice Girls' musical comedy film Spice World was cut, though a truncated edit of the scene, featuring a version of Glitter's "I'm the Leader of the Gang (I Am)", was still included in the film. In the months before his conviction, he thanked the audience for its support at his last show before his trial.
At Bristol Crown Court on 12 November 1999, Mr Justice Butterfield sentenced Glitter to four months in prison and placed him on the sex offender register in the UK after he admitted downloading more than 4,000 items of child pornography.
He was also charged with having sex with an underage girl, Alison Brown, around 20 years earlier, when she was 14 years old. She had had a relationship with Glitter for some years. Glitter was acquitted of this charge. It was later revealed that Brown had sold her story to the News of the World and stood to earn more money from the newspaper should Glitter be convicted.
Following rejection by the British public and facing scrutiny from the press following his arrest and conviction, Glitter fled on his yacht Voyageur to Spain. He travelled to Cuba before settling in Cambodia.
From March 2005, Glitter resided in Vũng Tàu, Vietnam. Despite having applied for permanent residence in Vietnam, he fled his home on 12 November 2005. Three days later, he was arrested in Ho Chi Minh City while trying to board a flight to Thailand. Six Vietnamese girls and women, aged from 11 to 23, claimed that Glitter had had sex with them; the age of consent in Vietnam is reported to be either 16 or 18.
After his arrest, Glitter was turned over to provincial police from Bà Rịa–Vũng Tàu and returned to Vũng Tàu and held on suspicion of having sex with the two underage girls. Glitter was held in jail throughout the criminal investigation, which was completed on 26 December 2005. The charge of rape was dropped for "lack of evidence" (according to Glitter's lawyer), although the singer admitted that an 11-year-old girl had slept in his bed. Glitter could have faced execution by firing squad if found guilty of child rape. After having received compensatory payments from Glitter, the families of the girls appealed for clemency for him.
On 2 March 2006, Glitter was tried on charges of committing obscene acts with two girls, aged 10 and 11, facing up to 14 years in prison if convicted. The following day he was found guilty and sentenced to three years in prison. He was also forced to pay compensation of $320 to each girl's family, as well as court fees. Judge Hoang Thanh Tung said "He sexually abused and committed obscene acts with children many times in a disgusting and sick manner."
The sentence included mandatory deportation at the end of his sentence, and payment of 5 million Vietnamese đồng (US$315) to his victims' families. Glitter continued to deny any wrongdoing, saying he believes he was framed by British tabloid newspapers. He announced he planned to spend part of his sentence writing an autobiography, which he had already begun during his pre-trial detention.
Glitter, in his first interview in more than eight years to BBC News in May 2006, denied any wrongdoing and claimed not to have knowingly had sex with anyone under 18. He also said "I know the line [not] to cross". When asked what he thought of adults having sex with children, he said, "It certainly is a crime ... I would be very angry about that." Christine Beddoe, director of End Child Prostitution, Pornography and Trafficking, criticised Glitter and said he was trying to "minimise what he has done", and added, "We must allow children to tell their story and not just have the words of Gadd."
In his interview, Glitter denied that he was a paedophile. He said that he had hoped that there was even a slim chance he could put his life back on track and have a career after he left prison in England. The people around him felt that the media had already made a sensation about the paedophile allegations. He continued to blame the press for his downfall and called them "the worst enemy in the world", alleging 'entrapment' by them by paying local girls in a bar to arrange a photo-scoop. He did not comment about his previous conviction for downloading child pornography several years earlier.
On 15 June 2006, in a closed hearing, the People's Supreme Court of Appeals heard Glitter's appeal for a reduced sentence. The three-judge panel rejected the appeal four weeks later. Although he was calm throughout the 40-minute reading of the verdict, upon leaving the courthouse, he shouted angrily to reporters and denounced Vietnamese justice for not hearing the defence arguments. On 7 February 2007, it was announced that his sentence had been reduced by three months. In anticipation of his release, the Philippines barred Glitter from entering that country as of 16 May 2008.
Glitter's Vietnamese lawyer, Le Thanh Kinh, said that his client intended to return to the UK, although he had also expressed interest in moving to either Hong Kong or Singapore. In the UK it was reported that he would be placed on the Sex Offenders Register on his return. British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said he should be given a Foreign Travel Order (FTO) banning him from overseas travel: "We need to control him, and he will be [controlled] once he returns to this country."
Glitter was released from Thủ Đức prison in southern Bình Thuận Province on 19 August 2008. He was escorted under police guard to Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City and put on board a flight to London via Bangkok. At Bangkok he claimed that he had tinnitus and a heart condition, and refused to board the flight to London despite the efforts of British police sent to escort him, although they had no jurisdiction to take action. He was refused entry to Thailand and threatened with deportation to the UK. On the evening of 20 August, he took a flight to Hong Kong, where he requested medical treatment, saying he was suffering a heart attack. The Hong Kong authorities also refused to admit him and he returned to Thailand the next day.
At least 19 countries, including Cuba, Cambodia, and the Philippines, announced that they would refuse to admit Glitter, and on 21 August the Thai authorities stated that he had agreed to return to the UK. He arrived back in the UK at Heathrow Airport at 7:10 am on 22 August 2008, where he was met by British police officers.
On his return to the United Kingdom, Glitter was added to the Sex Offenders Register for life, and stated an intention to appeal against this decision; on 16 January 2009 it was announced that he had abandoned this move.
Plans after prison release
On 25 June 2008, The Daily Telegraph reported that Glitter planned to record a new album after his prison release. He was quoted as saying "I have an incomplete album that I want to finish. I have been thinking about the plan during my days in jail. I have sung rock 'n' roll for 40 years. After jail, I will continue to rock 'n' roll."
2012 allegations and 2015 conviction
In October 2012, ITV aired the documentary "The Other Side of Jimmy Savile" in its Exposure strand, which detailed allegations of sexual misconduct by the BBC presenter who had died the previous year. Accounts included an accusation against Glitter who was alleged to have raped a 13- or 14-year-old girl in Savile's BBC dressing room. On 28 October, Glitter was arrested and questioned by police in London as part of Operation Yewtree. Glitter was released on police bail until the middle of December, and was subsequently re-bailed until February. On 5 June 2014, Glitter was charged with eight counts of sexual offences committed against two girls aged 12–14 between 1977 and 1980.
On 19 January 2015 Glitter appeared at Southwark Crown Court accused of seven counts of indecent assault, one count of attempted rape, and two other sexual offences, against three girls, between 1975 and 1980. The trial lasted two and a half weeks.
On 5 February 2015 he was convicted of attempted rape, four counts of indecent assault, and one of having sex with a girl under the age of 13. He was acquitted of the three other counts. He was remanded in custody prior to his sentencing. On 27 February 2015, Judge Alistair McCreath sentenced Glitter to 16 years in prison.
In May 2015, Glitter, under his real name, Paul Gadd, began an appeal against his convictions. On 17 November 2015 Glitter's appeal was denied by the Court of Appeal, which said there was nothing "unsafe" about the conviction.
Concert tours and live performances
During his long career as a singer, Glitter undertook many tours to various venues around the world. His first tour was of the Middle East, as Paul Raven and the Boston International in 1967. He toured amongst other places, Cyprus, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Armenia.
In 1973, Glitter appeared at the London Palladium. It was a sell-out concert. In the same year his performance at the Rainbow Theatre was recorded and released as a live album, Remember Me This Way. Glitter undertook a world tour, performing in Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, and New Zealand. He continued to tour until 1976, and his temporary retirement from music.
During his comeback period of the 1980s, he did fewer tours, and mainly toured Britain. He did shows in Ireland, Germany, France, America and Bahrain. During the 1990s, he toured America several times, finally gaining the significant popularity he sought in the 1970s. In 1995, he undertook his last major tour, visiting Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bangkok and Singapore. His final tour, entitled "A Night Out with the Boys: Could This Be for the Last Time?" took place in 1997. In 2005, Glitter had been living in Vietnam without the knowledge of the authorities. His presence there only came to their attention after he had offered to sing in local bars in Vũng Tàu.
|1984||Boys Will Be Boys|
- 1974 "I'm the Leader of the Gang (I Am)" by Brownsville Station – No. 48 US
- 1980 Holiday '80 EP by the Human League (includes cover of "Rock and Roll" as part of a medley with Iggy Pop's "Nightclubbing")
- 1980 "Doing Alright with the Boys" by Joan Jett
- 1982 "Rock and Roll Part 2" covered by hardcore punk band D.I.
- 1983 "I Didn't Know I Loved You (Till I Saw You Rock and Roll)" by Rock Goddess – No. 57 UK
- 1983 "I Didn't Know I Loved You (Till I Saw You Rock and Roll)" by Planet Patrol – R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Chart No. 62 US
- 1984 "Do You Wanna Touch Me" by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts – No. 20 US
- 1987 "A Little Boogie Woogie (In the Back of My Mind)" Shakin' Stevens – No. 12 UK
- 1988 "KLF – Doctorin' the Tardis" by The Timelords featuring Gary Glitter – No. 1 UK (features samples of "Rock and Roll (Parts 1 and 2)")
- 1989 "Let's Party" Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers – UK No. 1 (features a sample of Glitter's "Another Rock and Roll Christmas")
- 1989 "Rock and Roll" by the Undertones, cover of "Rock and' Roll (Part 1)", The Peel Sessions Album (Undertones)
- 1993 "I'm the Leader of the Gang (I Am)" Green Jellÿ featuring Hulk Hogan – No. 25 UK
- 1995 "Hello" by Oasis (uses elements of and quotes the chorus of "Hello, Hello, I'm Back Again")
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individuals such as Gary Glitter have all been honoured as strong influences in Punk rock evolution
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