Gary Glitter

Rock & Roll, Pt. 2

Composed by Gary Glitter / Mike Leander

Song Review by

"Rock & Roll," parts one and two the first time around, parts three to six a decade later, is the tribal war cry of the last quarter century. Forget its absorption into American sporting iconography, and the fact that Hollywood can't even dream of filming a sports scene without "Rock & Roll" pounding in the background. Forget, too, the fact that its composers built a five-year career at the top of the British charts, simply from recycling that same organic formula. You can even forget that almost every time you buy a new Gary Glitter record, "Rock & Roll" will be included on there somewhere.

"Rock & Roll" is important because of its lyrics. And those lyrics, the most joyful, meaningful, and utterly, defiantly, triumphant lyrics in the entire history of modern music, go "Rock & Roll, Rock & Roll, Rock & Roll, Rock & Roll." That's part one, anyway. Part two is even better. That one goes "hey, hey, hey, hey, hey." Who needs "awopbopaloobop"? Who cares for "since my baby left me"? And who can even understand half of what Bob Dylan writes? Talk about "Rock & Roll," and you only need to say one thing. "Rock & Roll." Parts one, two, three, four, five and six. Hey!

It was Mike Leander, Glitter's producer and co-writer, who conceived the song, basing it around an earlier, failed, recording called "Shag Rag, That's My Bag." With that track playing behind them, Glitter, Leander and a constant stream of visiting friends simply began jamming along with it, ad-libbing lyrics, twisting the beat.

"We built from there," Leander recalled, "and suddenly it all came together. We had produced something that was like all the records we had ever heard before, and yet were different to them all. We were writing and making the sort of record that we had both loved to listen to when we were 14 and 15 years old, yet it wasn't preconceived. We had not planned it that way. But when we played the tapes back the sound we heard was a revelation" -- a primeval Mogadon stomp which might just be the most heart-stoppingly pure sound ever committed to pop vinyl. Trimmed to 15 minutes, they called it "Rock & Roll." Edited down to an even more manageable length, they renamed it "Rock & Roll (Pts. 1 and 2)," and launched Gary Glitter as one of the brightest stars on the entire glam rock firmament.

An ever-present in Glitter's live set, the song was thoroughly revitalized in 1987 when Glitter linked with producer Trevor Horn to record four further versions of "Rock & Roll" for release as his latest single. The following year, the song was granted an even fresher lease of life -- and a roost at the top of the U.K. chart -- when the Timelords took the rhythm and chorus as the basis for their "Doctoring the Tardis" hit. Other covers and tributes have been delivered by the Undertones, Executive Slacks, and, opening their "Motorcycle" club smash, Love and Rockets. None, however, truly capture the sheer joyful innocence of Glitter's original; and none, in all honesty, have really tried. Perfection is a virtue in all walks of life. But Godliness remains inviolate.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Glitter 1973 3:01
No Image 1980
No Image 1984
Various Artists
MGM/UA
Wrestling Rocks: Anthems from the Ring 1985
Various Artists
Flashback Records / Rhino Flashback 3:04
Gary Glitter's Gangshow: The Gang, The Band, The Leader 1989 Castle Music Ltd.
Super Hits of the '70s: Have a Nice Day, Vol. 9 1990
Various Artists
Rhino 3:10
Rock 'n' Roll: The Best of Gary Glitter 1990 Rhino 3:03
Toga Rock, Vol. 2 1991
Various Artists
DCC Compact Classics 2:59
Classic Rock, Vol. 5: Glitter Bands 1993
Various Artists
Priority Records
No Image 1994
Various Artists
Varèse Sarabande / Varese 3:01
Stardust: Glam, Vol. 1 1994
Various Artists
Stardust Records 3:00
The British Invasion [Laserlight] 1994
Various Artists
Laserlight / Delta Distribution 3:00
Rock Instrumental Classics, Vols. 1-5 1995
Various Artists
Rhino/Warner Bros. 3:05
Party Time, Vol. 2: Ultimate Party Album 1996
Various Artists
SPG 2:55
The Best of '70s Rock Chart Toppers 1996
Various Artists
Priority Records 2:59
Disc Jockey Hits, Vol. 1 1996
Various Artists
Stardust Records 3:02
Rock On: 1972 1996
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:58
D2: Mighty Ducks/D3: Mighty Ducks 1997
Original Soundtrack
Hollywood 3:10
Rock & Roll 1997 Unidisc 2:58
Greatest Sports Rock and Jams 1997
Various Artists
Cold Front Records / K-Tel Distribution 2:54
Rock On: 1970-1974 1997
Various Artists
Madacy 2:58
The Full Monty [Original Soundtrack] 1997
Original Soundtrack
RCA Victor / RCA 3:02
VH1 8-Track Flashback: The One-Hit Wonders 1997
Various Artists
Rhino 2:58
Greatest Sports Rock and Jams, Vol. 2 1997
Various Artists
Cold Front Records / K-Tel Distribution 2:55
Fantastic, Vol. 1: Original Hits Original Stars 1997
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 3:10
Rock 'N Roll Relix: 1972-1973 1997
Various Artists
BCI-Eclipse Distribution / Eclipse Music Group 2:56
Rock 'N Roll Relix: 1970-1978 1997
Various Artists
BCI-Eclipse Distribution / Eclipse Music Group 2:56
Basketball's Greatest Hoop Hits 1998
Various Artists
Rhino
Small Soldiers 1998
Original Soundtrack
Dreamworks SKG
Orlando Magic Greatest Hits 1998
Various Artists
Alphabet City Sports Records / Alphabet City 2:41
Greatest Sports Rock and Jams [Box] 1998
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:54
No Image 1998
Various Artists
Atlantic
Strip Jointz Rocks: Rock N' Roll for Sexy Dancers 1998
Various Artists
Robbins Entertainment 3:01
Rock On: From 1970 to 1979 1998
Various Artists
Madacy 3:01
Are You Ready to Rumble, Vol. 2 1999
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 2:59
Glam Bam, Thank You Ma'am 1999
Various Artists
Buddah 3:02
Sports Illustrated for Kids: Game Time 1999
Various Artists
Madacy 44:57
No Image 199? Tommy Boy 2:52
Party Time [SPG] 2000
Various Artists
SPG 2:55
Michael Jordan to the Max 2000
Various Artists
Chapter III Records 2:59
Bedazzled [2000] [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] 2000
Original Soundtrack
Restless Records 3:00
New York Yankees: The New Era, Vol. 1 2001
Various Artists
Alphabet City 2:40
Jock Jams: The All-Star Jock Jams 2001
Various Artists
Tommy Boy 3:01
The Best of Gary Glitter [Simply the Best] 2001 Disky 2:57
Moonlight Mile 2002
Original Soundtrack
Sony Music Distribution 2:59
ESPN Presents Stadium Anthems: Music for the Fans 2003
Various Artists
Hollywood 3:04
More Explosive Dance Sports 2003
Various Artists
Madacy 3:35
Box of Rock 2003
Various Artists
Import 3:00
Fan Jams: A Collection of Stadium Fight Songs 2004
Various Artists
Warner Music 2:57
Box of Rock [Disc 6]
Various Artists
Rajon Entertainment Pty Ltd. 3:00
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