The List: Must-listen glam rock records

Jim Fischer
Columbus Alive
David Bowie

The best thing about music genres is that no one agrees on what they mean or what acts fall under which label. And that makes for great conversation. (At least it did back in the days when I worked at a record store — even if it was a corporate megastore into which “High Fidelity's” Rob Gordon would have never set foot.)

So, with Bryan Ferry (you know, of seminal glam-rock outfit Roxy Music) set to play a show at the Palace Theatre on Tuesday, March 28, I thought a conversation could be had on the various expressions, incarnations and implications of glam rock. Let's start with these eight records, listed in no particular order.

The Slider, T. Rex

By its very nature, glam rock is about persona, and Marc Bolan was as big a persona as there was in rock music for a decade or so until his untimely death. This 1972 album's predecessor,Electric Warrior, is rightly considered more influential, butThe Slider is simply a great, perfectly executed record of songs by a master operating at the height of his powers.

Aladdin Sane, David Bowie

Also a less-celebrated follow-up from a glam-rock staple (and who am I to quibble withZiggy Stardust?), I've always had a thing for this record. Maybe because it comes on a little stronger thanZiggy, and I've always felt like raucousness was an important aspect of glam.

Sweet Fanny Adams, The Sweet

On this album, these meandering Brits find an ideal balance of elements to produce a quintessential glam record. Bubblegum, psych, hard rock. It's all there.

New York Dolls, New York Dolls

Glam came to America, and this is what America did with it. Led by David Johansen, the Dolls performed in high heels, fancy hats and scarves, and unleashed a brief string of hook-laden punk on unsuspecting audiences.

Slayed?, Slade

History remembers Slade as the band that Quiet Riot covered, but few bands in the early-to-mid '70s married attitude, style and hooks the way Noddy and the boys did.

A Night at the Opera, Queen

You thought a list of must-hear glam records wouldn't have this Queen masterpiece on it? Or at the very least Freddie Mercury?

Billion Dollar Babies, Alice Cooper

Detroit's Vincent Furnier invented shock rock by exploring the darker side of glam.

For Your Pleasure, Roxy Music

Roxy was, of course, going to make the list. This record, Brian Eno's last with the band, is full of elegance, atmosphere and high drama at its most artfully executed.