Various Artists

Top of the Pops, Vol. 26

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"You won't fool the Children of the Revolution." In years to come, Marc Bolan would learn to his own cost how prophetic those words were, as his own attempts to squeeze himself out of his glam rock glad rags were utterly dismissed by the audience he'd raised. But, in October 1972, "Children of the Revolution" was just one more in the seemingly ceaseless string of T. Rex chart-toppers, presiding over a British Top 20 that was positively tottering on its platform boots and scratching the ceiling with its spiky, krazy-kolored hair. Glam was a remarkably egalitarian beast, willing to spread its magic as far as its audience wanted it to go. Look back on the era through the plethora of compilations that litter the modern CD shelves and some almost nightmarish visages leer out at you, as virtually anyone who scored a hit between 1972-1975 finds himself or herself tarred with a kohl and blusher-colored brush. In years to come, such decidedly unglammy creations as 10cc, the Wombles, Medicine Head, and the Electric Light Orchestra would all come in for such revisionism. In fall 1972, it was the turn of songstress Lynsey DePaul and rockers Blackfoot Sue, and, listening to them replayed via Top of the Pops, Vol. 26, all the old miscalculations come screaming back to mind. Whether in its original form or via Martha Smith's queenly reworking, DePaul's "Sugar Me" may or may not be a riot of sexual innuendo, but the violin solo is straight out of Slade, and what is sugar if not Sweet? Their "Wig Wam Bam," un-PC riot of Native American clich├ęs though it is, still stands as one of Britain's best-ever contributions to the theme of cowboy rock. Rod Stewart, too, made no more concessions to glam than he could spray paint onto his legs in lieu of a pair of sensible trousers, but his "You Wear It Well," too, is hopelessly intoxicated by the aura of the era (even if the Top of the Pops version does replace his well-worn rasp with a laryngitic gargle). If any two songs utterly encapsulate both the brilliance of this edition and the turmoil of the times, however, look no further than Roxy Music's "Virginia Plain" -- replete with even more Eno-isms than the original, even if the singer isn't sure of half the words -- and Mott the Hoople's "All the Young Dudes," as anthemic as it ever should be and, in iconographic terms, as potent a delineation of the future as "Children of the Revolution." The dudes carried the news -- and Top of the Pops, Vol. 26 makes sure it stays as fresh as ever.

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