Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Gary Glitter 'Dance Me Up'

Chart Peak: 25


I admit this wasn't a post I was in any hurry to write. In fact, if I'm really honest the knowledge that this song would be coming up was one reason I made the decision more than four years ago not to continue this blog in chronological order: at the very least I wanted to wait until I had my own copy of Now 3 to refer to. At one point I contemplated not posting a YouTube link on this post, though I ultimately decided that would be going too far; the fact that one of my other online hobbies is posting old charts and making up playlists of them which include Glitter's tracks where necessary would have made it pointlessly inconsistent.

Of course the sensible, high-minded thing to do would be to write about the record without taking any account of Glitter's (or, more accurately, Paul Gadd's) crimes, as I've tried to do with other controversial acts. But the reality is that it's almost impossible to do that because we all know about it, and because his arrest effectively removed his music from the airwaves indefinitely. Not that I remember hearing this one on the radio before 1997, indeed it probably didn't get many plays after about 1985, but it's still a surprise to hear his voice now. And it's hard to resist finding unfortunate double meanings in lyrics and song titles (if this title isn't bad enough, the B-side was called 'Too Young To Dance'). There s something faintly disturbing now about hearing him sing "Bring on the dancing girls!", especially if you see the video on YouTube where he's at a Radio 1 Roadshow with actual children dancing on stage.

This song does at least reduce any moral dilemmas about endorsing it by not being any good at all. Producer Mike Leander (who was also responsible for all the Seventies hits, and who died not long before Gadd was arrested) does a serviceable job of aping mid-80s production values, in what must have been one of the last attempts to sell Glitter as a contemporary star before he became the ironic nostalgia act I remember him as. But the song itself is utterly woeful, a mix of clashing and not very strong hooklines with rotten lyrics that can't even do innuendo properly. And Glitter's vocal is surprisingly poor as well, however did he pass the audition for Jesus Christ Superstar? The song succeeded to the extent that it was his last "normal" Top 40 hit (his last ever was of course 'Another Rock N Roll Christmas') and earned him his only appearance in the main now series, but I've just listened to it in full for the second time in my life and I'm not planning a third.

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