Biography

The Glitter Band are a glam rock band from England, who initially worked as Gary Glitter's backing band under that name from 1973, when they then began releasing records of their own. They were unofficially known as the Glittermen on the first four hit singles by Gary Glitter from 1972 to 1973.

The Glitter Band had seven UK Top 20 hit singles in the mid-1970s, and three hit albums. Pete Phipps and John Springate are still currently touring with The Glitter Band. John Rossall and Harvey Ellison tour under their own names. Pete Phipps and John Springate are still currently touring with The Glitter Band.

History[edit]

When Gary Glitter's first single "Rock and Roll Parts 1 and 2" became a number 2 hit in the UK, his manager Mike Leander realised that he would need a backing band and contacted John Rossall who was then the musical director of the Boston Showband. With a few changes in personnel, the Boston Showband became the Glittermen, and later The Glitter Band in 1973 who were: John Rossall (trombone and musical director), Gerry Shephard (lead guitar and vocals), Peter Phipps (drums and keyboards), Tony Leonard (drums), John Springate (bass and vocals) and Harvey Ellison (saxophone). They backed Glitter in live performances, although in the studio Leander and Glitter played all the instruments themselves apart from the brass section provided by Rossall and Ellison.

In 1973, Rossall approached Leander with the suggestion that the band record some material without Glitter. Leander agreed, but rejected the first recordings. The band then went back into the recording studio and recorded the Rossall/Shephard composition "Angel Face", which met with Leander's approval, but not without some changes. The band, now working as a separate entity with Tony Leonard having replaced Pete Gill, as well as continuing to back Glitter, played a few well-received live shows before their first single came out, mixing some new songs with covers of 1950s and 1960s songs. In March 1974, "Angel Face" was released on Bell Records, reaching number four in the UK Singles Chart, and outselling Glitter's "Remember Me This Way". Further hits followed between 1974 and 1976, along with the release of four albums. Rossall left the band on 31 December 1974. Gerry Shephard, John Springate and Pete Phipps taking over leadership, with Springate taking lead vocal duties on hits such as the ballad "Goodbye My Love", "The Tears I Cried", and "People Like You". Sales dropped in 1976, with the advent of punk rock. Springate and Shephard saw the Sex Pistols perform at the Notre Dame Hall in 1976, and realised that their time was up. The band switched to CBS Records and later Epic Records, and changed their name to The G Band to disassociate themselves from Glitter, but failed to find another hit single. The name reverted to The Glitter Band in March 1977 for the release of "Look What You've Been Missing"co written by John Rossall and Gerry Shephard.

May 1977 saw the band release a final single as the Glitter Band, "She Was Alright". Finally Springate, Phipps and Shephard released "Gotta Get a Message Back To You" in September 1977, under the new name of Air Traffic Control. The single, written by Springate and Phipps, never made it past a few initial commercial pressings on the Epic label. In 1979, Shephard and Phipps worked with former Sparks keyboard player Peter Oxendale, recording the US only album Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is. They regrouped as The Glitter Band in 1980, with further sporadic releases followed in the 1980s on a variety of labels. Trevor Horn played bass guitar for the band in this era. The band's profile was maintained with a slew of Greatest Hits releases, mainly concentrating on their peak mid-1970s era.

Guitarist/singer Gerry Shephard and drummer/pianist Pete Phipps (Eurythmics, XTC, Genesis and The Stranglers 1982-1985) reformed the band in 1987, and successfully performed in the UK and Europe, including tours with Gary Glitter, until 2001 when they split up. Shephard and former drummer Tony Leonard formed one band, whilst Phipps continued to perform with his own band. After Rossall was taken to court in 1983, an injunction banned him from using Glitter in his band name; a second legal ruling in 1997, after Rossall had persistently breached the first order, resulted in him receiving a one year suspended prison sentence which would come into force if he used the Glitter name again. Rossall was subsequently not allowed to use Glitter Band as part of his band's name, but was allowed to advertise his historical connections to the band. With Shephard's death in May 2003, Leonard retired to concentrate on musical production activities in Norway, whilst both Phipps and Rossall continued on the road with their own bands. Shephard and Phipps had previously guested on Denim's Back In Denim (1992).

Pete Phipps and John Springate still perform live as The Glitter Band. In April 2010, The Glitter Band performed at Scala, Kings Cross, London where they were joined by special guests Angie Bowie and Adam Ant. Rossall and Harvey Ellison also continue to tour with their band, releasing the album Glitteresque in 2008.

Springate and Shephard also wrote the UK's 2000 Eurovision Song Contest entry, "Don't Play That Song Again" performed by Nicki French.

Phipps and Shephard appeared in the Identity Parade line-up on the first episode of Never Mind The Buzzcocks television show, recorded on 28 October 1996.

In December 2013, John Rossall released a new single, a Glitter styled version of the classic 'White Christmas'.

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

Albums[edit]

  • Hey (1974) UK No. 13
  • Rock 'n' Roll Dudes (1975) UK No. 17
  • Listen to the Band (1975)
  • Makes You Blind (1975), Arista
  • People Like You (1977)
Live albums
  • Live at the Marquee (1986)
  • Glitz Blitz, Live! (1998), MCI
  • Greatest Hits ...Live! (2001), Armoury
Compilations
  • Greatest Hits (1976) UK No. 52
  • The Collection (1990)
  • Pop Fire (1994), Pilz
  • Let's Get Together Again (1996)
  • 20 Glittering Greats (1998), Music Club
  • Solid Silver: The Ultimate Glitter Band Vol. 1 (1998), Edsel
  • The Best of the Glitter Band (1999)
  • The Glitter Band: The Bell Singles Collection (2000)
  • Greatest Hits (2002)

  • Paris Match (1977)

Film appearances[edit]

Remember Me This Way (1974), as themselves
Never Too Young to Rock (1975), as themselves

External links[edit]

  • The Official Glitter Band Website - The Glitter Band
  • The Official Website for Pete Phipps and The Glitter Band
  • John Rossall's Official Website + Detailed History of the Boston Showband/Glitter Band
  • The Glitter Band at discogs.com
  • BBC Music Artists

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