20 Greatest Glam Rock Artists

by Patria
Lou Reed

Glam rock, also known as glitter rock, emerged in the early 1970s in the UK, blending the flamboyance of fashion with rock music. Known for its catchy hooks, bold androgynous aesthetics, and theatrical performances, glam rock captured the imagination of a generation. Here, we explore the 20 greatest glam rock artists who have left an indelible mark on the genre.

20 Greatest Glam Rock Artists

1. David Bowie

No discussion of glam rock is complete without David Bowie, the genre’s most iconic figure. Bowie’s alter ego, Ziggy Stardust, epitomized glam rock’s theatricality and androgyny. Albums like “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” (1972) and “Aladdin Sane” (1973) feature Bowie’s signature mix of innovative rock, science fiction themes, and provocative fashion. His influence extends far beyond glam rock, but his contributions to the genre are unparalleled.

2. T. Rex

Led by Marc Bolan, T. Rex was instrumental in bringing glam rock to the mainstream. Their hit “Get It On (Bang a Gong)” and the album “Electric Warrior” (1971) remain classics. Bolan’s charismatic presence and knack for combining rock with catchy, danceable rhythms helped define the glam rock sound and aesthetic.

3. Roxy Music

Roxy Music, fronted by the suave Bryan Ferry, blended art rock with glam rock’s flamboyance. Their self-titled debut album (1972) and “For Your Pleasure” (1973) are quintessential glam rock records, characterized by sophisticated compositions and avant-garde style. Brian Eno’s early involvement with the band added an experimental edge to their glam sound.

4. Sweet

Known for their infectious hits like “Ballroom Blitz” and “Fox on the Run,” Sweet was one of the most successful glam rock bands. Their blend of hard rock riffs and bubblegum pop melodies made them a staple of the genre. Albums like “Desolation Boulevard” (1974) showcased their ability to craft catchy, energetic songs that defined the glam rock era.

5. Slade

Slade’s rowdy, anthemic rock songs and distinctive look made them a leading glam rock band in the UK. Tracks like “Cum On Feel the Noize” and “Mama Weer All Crazee Now” exemplify their sound, characterized by powerful vocals, stomping beats, and infectious choruses. Slade’s influence on later rock acts, especially in the 1980s, is undeniable.

6. New York Dolls

The New York Dolls brought a raw, punk-infused edge to glam rock. With their gritty sound and flamboyant appearance, they were pioneers of the New York City rock scene. Songs like “Personality Crisis” and “Jet Boy” from their debut album (1973) influenced both the glam rock and punk rock movements, blending rebellious energy with glam aesthetics.

7. Mott the Hoople

Mott the Hoople, with Ian Hunter at the helm, became glam rock icons with the help of David Bowie, who wrote their hit “All the Young Dudes.” The song and the album of the same name (1972) cemented their place in glam rock history. Their music combined rock ‘n’ roll swagger with lyrical sophistication and theatrical flair.

8. Gary Glitter

Gary Glitter was one of glam rock’s most controversial figures, known for his energetic performances and hits like “Rock and Roll Part 2.” Despite his later criminal convictions tarnishing his legacy, Glitter’s impact on the glam rock genre in the 1970s was significant, with his music becoming anthems in sporting events and pop culture.

9. Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper brought a macabre twist to glam rock, combining shock rock theatrics with glam’s flamboyance. With albums like “School’s Out” (1972) and “Billion Dollar Babies” (1973), Cooper’s blend of horror imagery and hard rock captivated audiences and pushed the boundaries of the genre.

10. Suzi Quatro

As one of the few prominent female figures in glam rock, Suzi Quatro broke barriers with her bass-playing prowess and rock ‘n’ roll attitude. Hits like “Can the Can” and “48 Crash” showcased her ability to blend glam rock’s style with a tough, rebellious edge. Quatro paved the way for future generations of female rock musicians.

11. Roxy Roller

Sweeney Todd, featuring Nick Gilder and later Bryan Adams, gained fame with their glam rock hit “Roxy Roller.” Their music captured the quintessential glam sound with catchy melodies and a stylish presentation, making them one of the notable acts in the genre’s history.

12. Sparks

Sparks, led by brothers Ron and Russell Mael, brought an eccentric, art-rock sensibility to glam rock. Albums like “Kimono My House” (1974) featured their unique blend of witty lyrics, theatrical vocals, and quirky arrangements. Sparks’ distinct sound and style have garnered a cult following and influenced numerous artists.

13. Jobriath

Jobriath was one of the first openly gay glam rock artists, known for his extravagant stage performances and theatrical music. Though his career was short-lived, albums like “Jobriath” (1973) and “Creatures of the Street” (1974) showcased his talent and helped push the boundaries of glam rock’s expression.

14. Mud

Mud achieved significant success in the glam rock era with hits like “Tiger Feet” and “Dyna-mite.” Their playful, catchy songs and vibrant stage presence made them a favorite among glam rock fans, and their contributions to the genre remain beloved.

15. Alvin Stardust

Alvin Stardust, with his leather-clad image and deep voice, became a glam rock sensation with hits like “My Coo Ca Choo” and “Jealous Mind.” His distinctive style and stage persona made him a memorable figure in the glam rock movement.

16. Lou Reed

While primarily known for his work with The Velvet Underground and his solo career, Lou Reed’s album “Transformer” (1972), produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson, is a glam rock classic. Songs like “Walk on the Wild Side” and “Satellite of Love” feature Reed’s gritty storytelling combined with glam rock’s polished production.

17. Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel

Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel brought a sophisticated, art-rock approach to glam rock with albums like “The Psychomodo” (1974) and hits like “Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me).” Harley’s poetic lyrics and theatrical performances made them stand out in the glam rock scene.

18. Iggy Pop

Iggy Pop, known as the “Godfather of Punk,” also had significant influence on glam rock, especially through his collaborations with David Bowie. Albums like “The Idiot” (1977) and “Lust for Life” (1977) showcase a blend of punk energy and glam rock style, cementing Iggy’s place in the genre’s history.

19. Wayne County & The Electric Chairs

Wayne County, later known as Jayne County after transitioning, was a pioneering figure in the glam rock and punk scenes. With The Electric Chairs, songs like “If You Don’t Want to Fuck Me, Fuck Off” combined raw, rebellious energy with glam rock’s bold aesthetics.

20. Brian Eno

While Brian Eno is primarily known for his work in ambient music and production, his early solo work and contributions to Roxy Music were crucial to the glam rock movement. Albums like “Here Come the Warm Jets” (1974) feature Eno’s experimental approach within the glam rock framework, influencing countless artists in the process.

See Also: The 15 Most Played Rock Songs of All Time


The legacy of glam rock is rich and diverse, with artists who pushed the boundaries of music, fashion, and performance. From the genre-defining sounds of David Bowie and T. Rex to the punk-infused energy of the New York Dolls and Iggy Pop, these 20 artists represent the best of glam rock’s flamboyant, innovative spirit. Their influence continues to be felt across various music genres, proving that glam rock’s glittering impact endures.

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