Top 10 Glam Rocker Artists: Then and Now

  • Pin It

When you think of glam rock bands/artists or glam metal bands/artists you immediately think of: David Bowie, Alice Cooper, KISS and Tommy Lee just to name a few. But have you ever wanted to know what they look like today? After all, it’s been decades since most of them have been in the limelight. Well now you can with our Top 10 Glam Rocker Artists: Then and Now.

Glam rock, which was also known as “glitter rock”, was a style of music in the 1970s. Popular in the UK, the music was a mixture of rock and pop music that exploded around the mid-1970s – the style of music would eventually die down around 1976 where other genres of music then picked up.

Glam metal, which was also known as “hair metal”, was a style of music which was popular  in the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s which basically picked up where glam rock finished. Hard rock and heavy metal influences were added into the mix too.

The term “glam” received its name due to the outrageously emphasized, flamboyant costumes and makeup that artists at that time adopted. Think of huge hair, full-face makeup, glittery costumes, platform shoes – the full works. In fact, if someone was to dress the same in today’s society, not only would their sexuality be questioned, but they would probably be looked upon as a social outcast.

10. Gary Glitter


Born: May 8, 1944 (age 68)

Gary Glitter, if you know his name it’s down to one of two reasons: You loved his music back in 1970s, or you know him due to his antics that happened back in the 90s – but we will get to that later.

In the 1970s, Gary Glitter was at the height of his career. In fact he dominated the industry with 26 hit singles between 1972 and 1995 – some of which included I’m the Leader of the Gang (I Am) and Hello, Hello, I’m Back Again. Out of the 26, a staggering twelve of those broke into the UK Top 10, and three charted in at that most-wanted #1 spot. Glitter’s song Rock and Roll was mentioned on the top 1,001 songs in music history which is a privilege in itself.

It seems that in 1997, Gary Glitter was naughty and was caught with pornographic images of underage children on his laptop. Not only that be he was sentenced to 4 months in prison in 1999 and earned himself a place on the sex offender register in the UK due to more convictions of downloading child pornography. So as glam rock goes, Gary is seen as tarnishing the image of that era. Bad times if you used to have a poster of the guy on your bedroom wall.

9. Gene Simmons


Born: August 25, 1949 (age 63)

Gene Simmons, although is an American rock/metal bassist, was actually born in Israel with the name Chaim Witz. Gene Simmons goes by the stage name The Demon in the band KISS where he played bass guitar, and shared vocals.

KISS were known for thier iconic look of black and white face paint and over the top stage outfits, and in the mid-1970s the group exploded in popularity. This and the fact the band had very elaborate shows with antics such as: blood spitting, smoking guitars and fire breathing, is what lead to the rise in popularity of the band. And like most bands of this era, KISS have gone through many genre stages in the lifespan of the band – one of which being glam metal.

Stanley and Simmons changed their minds on occasions about the concept of the band reforming for a new album back in November 2008. After much speculation, the album that is said to have a “real 70s Kiss sound,” was released on October 6, 2009 and was called Sonic Boom. The album was KISS’s 19th studio album and was their first one in 11 years.

8. Elton John


Born: March 25, 1947 (age 65)

You know that tw#t who thinks he is cool by wearing that hat, even though everyone keeps telling him he looks a d#ck? Well, that’s how we feel when we see Elton wearing those silly glasses that are never going to catch on no matter how hard he tries.

Sir Elton Hercules John (you couldn’t get a gayer name, oh wait, you can, his birth name Reginald Kenneth Dwight), is not typically classed as a glam rocker and will lead most of you to scratch your heads. But his album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – which made its way to #1 and stayed there for two months – earned “Sir” Elton a place on the glam rock register. His single “Bennie and the Jets” from that album went to #1 in the Top Ten Chart.

In June 2012, Elton John performed at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert which was held at Buckingham Palace, but we all know the Queen would have preferred a little Hatebreed or Emmure instead, but the bands were busy at the time.

Oh, for the 5 of you who maybe interested, the guy is touring (2013).

7. Axl Rose


February 6, 1962 (age 51

Axl Rose was indeed born with the name William Bruce Rose, Jr (yeah, we would have created a new name ourselves) and is the lead singer of the hard rock band Guns N’ Roses. In fact, he is the only original member – not the same band then really. The band has sold over a total of 100 million albums worldwide.

Guns N’ Roses reached to fame with their song Sweet Child o’ Mine of the album Appetite for Destruction – the song reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 at the time. Their fifth studio album The Spaghetti Incident? was the album that mainly classed the guys as glam rock due to the album consisting of glam rock and punk rock songs.

Axl Rose basically went into hiding around the 1990s and wasn’t seen for a while, to then only arise with a full new line up and kept the band name Guns N’ Roses . The album Chinese Democracy was released in 2008 with production costs in excess of $13 million.

6. Tommy Lee


Born: October 3, 1962 (age 50)

Tommy Lee (not to be mistaken for Tommy Lee Jones) was born Thomas Lee Bass, and similar to Bret Michaels was in a glam metal band. Unlike Bret however, Tommy Lee wasn’t a singer, he was in fact the drummer for the band – Mötley Crüe.

Mötley Crüe are infamous for their antics and press related issues (alcoholism, drug usage and time in prison just to name a few), but this has not stopped them from selling over 80 million albums worldwide and earning them a place on the world’s best-selling groups of all time list. During the 1980s, Mötley Crüe had hit albums such as Shout at the Devil (1983), and Girls, Girls, Girls (1987).

Over the years, Tommy Lee has starred in his own sex tape with former Baywatch babe Pamela Anderson, has upset the law on many occasions, served four months in prison after kicking Pamela Anderson, became a supporter of animal rights PETA, and even formed his own band called Methods of Mayhem.

5. Steven Tyler


Born: March 26, 1948 (age 64),

Steven Tyler – born Steven Victor Tallarico – is frontman of the Boston-based rock (with a hint of blues) band Aerosmith. But apart from singing, the singer also dabbles in a bit of harmonica playing, drum bashing and ivory tickling. And due to his unique screaming-like vocals (we’re saying annoying) he earned the nickname “Demon of Screaming”. Stand to one side Parkway Drive.

Aerosmith, as well as Bon Jovi and Guns N’ Roses, usually get miss-categorised as certain genres of music such as glam rock, glam metal, hair metal, etc. But the fact is at one point they all did fit the bill of “glam” if they wanted to or not.

Aerosmith broke into mainstream music with their album Toys in the Attic (1975), which included the songs Walk This Way and Sweet Emotion.

In November 2012, Aerosmith released their 15th studio album named Music from Another Dimension! which is their latest album since their last one in 2004 (Honkin’ on Bobo). In May 2012, the band started their Global Warming Tour.

4. Bret Michaels


Born: March 15, 1963 (age 50)

Bret Michaels, or what his Momma called him, Bret Michael Sychak, was lead vocalist for the glam metal band Poison who have sold 30 million records worldwide. With six singles reaching the Top Ten Chart in various countries and the song “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” reaching number one, the American band had great success between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s.

Open Up and Say… Ahh! has been Poison’s most successful album to date with the band being ladled as icons of the ’80s MTV era. With the arrival of the music genre grunge in the ’90s, the band took a hit fan base wise, but this and other setbacks haven’t stopped the band touring and releasing new material since.

The band was still going strong in 2012 with the Rock of Ages Tour with rocker-friends Def Leppard.

Bret Michaels starred in his own reality TV dating show called Rock of Love with Bret Michaels, where women had to compete to be Michaels’ girlfriend – with another two series following pursuit (gayest thing ever).

In January 2013, Michaels released a new single called You Know You Want It (Featuring Peter Keys) from his upcoming new album titled Good Songs & Great Friends.

3. David Bowie


Born: January 8, 1947 (age 66)

David Bowie, or for you hardcore fans David Robert Jones, is as glam rock as it gets. In fact he was looked upon as a trendsetter of that era.

A little song called Space Oddity is what first brought David Bowie to the forefront of music and in July of 1969 the song broke into the top five of the UK Singles Chart. But it wouldn’t be until 1972 that David Bowie would be a household name. During the era of music that would later become known as glam rock, Bowie introduced us to his new stage name, Ziggy Stardust and brought with him the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, and the hit song Starman.

On Bowie ‘s 66th birthday he announced on his website that a new album called The Next Day (his 24th studio album) would be shortly released – An album which would be his first studio album in a decade. In January 2013, the single “Where Are We Now?” from the album was released and reached #6 in the UK Singles Chart.

2. Alice Cooper


Born: February 4, 1948 (age 65)

Alice Cooper or Vincent Damon Furnier (yeah, we prefer Alice Cooper) is a glam rock artist (loosely speaking), but his name was actually the name of his band back in late 1960s which he adopted in 1975 after the band spilt. The “glam” probably comes down to the glam-rock-style costumes the band isolated rather than their music style.

The mainstream breaking of Alice Cooper was with their hit single hit I’m Eighteen (1971) and School’s Out (1972).

With his horror-themed stage props such as: fake blood, guillotine and electric chairs, Alice sometimes gets classed in the genre “shock rock”. His style has changed over the years and while his music mainly consists of rock/metal, he usually gets categorised as “glitter metal.” Personally speaking, he has too many styles to put in a genre box.

Alice Cooper can be seen starring as himself in Tim Burton, 2012 movie, Dark Shadows which stars the actor Johnny Depp. Cooper has also battled with an addiction to alcohol and in his 2007 autobiography: “Alice Cooper, Golf Monster”, he talks about how he took up golf to try and replace one habit with another.

The rocker is still going strong and can still be seen preforming gigs and tours to date, well done, man.

1. Jon Bon Jovi


Born: March 2, 1962 (age 51)

Jon Bon Jovi, aka John Francis Bongiovi, Jr., is the lead singer of rock band Bon Jovi. But like everyone else on this list, these guys were categorised as “glam” – in fact they were classed as a “glam metal” or a “hair metal” band. The rock band from New Jersey were an ’80s era band and it was in 1986 that the band exploded with the album Slippery When Wet which included the songs Livin’ on a Prayer and You Give Love a Bad Name.

As well as having a very successful music career – with two solo albums included, and co-owning an AFL team, Philadelphia Soul – Jon Bon Jovi has also had an acting career and starred in films such as Moonlight and Valentino and U-571.

“What About Now” is the twelfth studio album from the band that was released in March 2013; they started touring in February 2013 on the tour called Because We Can to promote the album.

Note: At no point have we made this post for people to think “sh#t, he’s got old.” You need to think that  some of these guys were alive in the 40s.

Note: Again, the “glam image” comes from the usage of outrageous clothing, extreme high-heeled boots, heavily applied make-up, etc – which means it’s more of an image and not a style of music per se. Technically speaking, if Britney Spears was to dress “glam,” her new music style would be classed as “pop glam.” The genre came about due to the English psychedelic and art rock scenes of the late 1960s and was a rebellion if you would, against it.