From Glam Rock King To One Of The Most Hated Men In Britain: The Gary Glitter Story | True Crime


(Paul Gadd aka Gary Glitter. Picture credit: IMDB)

When you mention the name 'Gary Glitter' in this day and age people recoil in horror but there was a time, especially in the UK where Gary (real name, Paul Francis Gadd) couldn't walk down the street for hundreds of adoring fans surrounding him. He's been arguably described as the King of Glam Rock in the past. As much as people would not like to admit, Gary was a pioneer and very much a focal point of the Glam Rock era and influenced everyone from Johnny Rotten to The Sisters of Mercy. 

Paul (Gary) didn't just arrive on the music scene and become a star over night, he actually struggled in the beginning and went through various different images and styles of music until he settled on what would become Gary Glitter. His life was something of a rags to riches tale, with him having a difficult upbringing, his mother struggled to make ends meet and did what she could on the wages that she earned from her job as a cleaner. He never knew his father and from a young age, Paul was a handful and his mother struggled to control him. Both he and his brother were taken into care of the state. 

Paul always felt like an outsider and was quite shy in his younger years, he felt that he related more to the kids who'd also had difficult upbringings or no proper parental guidance. He was a dreamer who had fantasies of running away and becoming famous, as soon as he discovered the London night life, he would sneak off and hit the clubs. He fell in love with the whole scene and decided that he was going to be a singer. 

He worked hard trying to get his music career off the ground and was very ambitious even at the tender age of 15, Paul was performing in clubs around London and cut a record (Alone In The Night) using the name 'Paul Raven'. 

(Gary Glitter. Picture credit: Billboard)

Years followed where he continued on trying to hit the big time and suddenly it had arrived with the released of Rock And Roll Parts One And Two which was a massive hit and even up to this day has been featured in various movies and at stadiums in the USA. Most people with be familiar with Rock And Roll Parts One And Two. The song did really well in the US which was quite rare for a glam rock artist to have achieved at that time so it was a huge deal. 

Gary Glitter had officially arrived and it was still the early 70s, he was supported on stage by his band 'The Glitter Men' and his new image seen him transform into this larger than life character, very eccentric with costumes of silver, covered in glitter and wearing platform boots. When he appeared on TV people were transfixed, they couldn't take their eyes off of him and younger people began to copy his style. As well as the outfits and catchy music, his whole stage persona was electric, he just knew how to work the audience and play to the camera. 

More hits followed and he achieved his first number one with the ground stomping anthem I'm The Leader of The Gang which did well in both the UK and the USA music charts. 

As his fame rocketed and the money poured in, Paul's ego started to overtake everything. Suddenly he thought he was invincible and that he was this fictional character he had created. Everything had to be his way or the high way and his backing band soon grew tired of it. He insisted in staying in the best hotels when on tour and didn't seem to care what happened to the band, he also insisted that everyone was to refer to him as Gary Glitter and nothing else. 

For a while, Paul rode the high wave of fame and cemented his place in Glam Rock history, it seemed that everyone knew who Gary Glitter was, It was remarkable what he was able to achieve at that point in his career. He was always very vain and narcissistic and believed in his own hype. 

Glam Rock was starting to fade and so was Paul's popularity. People grew tired of The Leader of The Gang and wanted something new so out went the glitter platforms and in came the safety pins and ripped T-shirts. As Paul had been living the high life, it had hit his bank balance pretty hard and he ended up bankrupt. He tried to play it off as nothing when the press got wind of it. He was always a very proud person and always about keeping up appearances. 

By the time the end of the 70s rolled around, Gary Glitter was considered a thing of the past and it was a low point in Paul's career until he released his greatest hits record and that saw a little bit of public interest in the early 80s which led to him doing a few collaborations. Then towards the late 80s he had a huge comeback which surprised everyone. He did a collaboration with The Timelords which sampled Rock And Roll for a Doctor Who Tribute it brought back everyone's love for the Gary Glitter version of the song and soon he was back on Top of The Pops performing alongside the younger acts of the day. He released more music and had a huge hit with the Christmas song Another Rock and Roll Christmas

Going into the 1990s. Gary Glitter was classed as an Icon, a national treasure. People looked upon him fondly and still enjoyed his music. Despite musical tastes changing, Paul was still enjoying the success he had worked hard for since he was a young teen and still performed at various venues. He even made a cameo appearance in the comedy movie Spiceworld but this was later cut from the film for obvious reasons. 

(Gary Glitter. Picture credit: BBC News)

As members of the UK public turned on their television screens back in 1997, they were met with a shock, a shock that nobody saw coming and were absolutely horrified. It was announced on the news that 'national treasure' Gary Glitter, real name Paul Gadd had been found with indecent images of children on his computer. Apparently Paul had taken his faulty computer to a repair shop and it was there that the technician found the disturbing images and contacted the police. 

Nobody could get their heads around it, how this rich, successful well respected and celebrated man who had millions of fans, could think to do such a thing. It made everyone sick and horrified. 

So the word was out, the superstar and Icon, Gary Glitter was a paedophile and overnight he went from being loved to being hated. People threw his records in the trash, nobody wanted to know him, fellow celebrities cut him off and he thought he could get away with it if he put on a sad face and issued a pathetic apology to the public. Nobody cared about him at that point, they were disgusted. 

As if the horrible images on his computer was not enough, more details began to emerge of the real man behind the glitter suits and platform heels. Paul had sexually abused his daughter's friend and had attempted to rape others. He had been close friends with notorious paedophile Jimmy Savile and was reported to have hung out in Jimmy's dressing room with various underage girls making inappropriate comments and touching people. 

He spent a few months in prison due to the charges of having the indecent images on his computer and soon fled the UK. He seemed to spend years after this practically on the run and staying in countries where  underage sex was legal. He reportedly stayed in poorer countries so that he could abuse children and then pay the parents (who were desperate for money) cash to keep them quiet. Undercover reporters often pictured him sat by a swimming pool with lots of young girls around him who looked to be under the age of 10. 

Things would go quiet for a while and then stories would emerge in the newspapers or there would be a news report that would feature Paul going from one country to another or being arrested. He would shout at the cameras ''I am innocent''. 

Because of his money, Paul was able to move about from country to country and pay people to stay quiet. 

He did spend time abroad in prison for having been found guilty of indecent behaviour with children and was deported back to the UK. He was arrested again and soon found himself walking through the prison gates in 2015 where he was to spend the next 16 years for crimes he had committed in the past which he thought he had managed to get away with but nobody was interested in his money in the UK, they wanted him locked up and away from children. 

(Jimmy Savile and Gary Glitter. Picture credit: Standard)

So right now, the man who was once called The King of Glam Rock and The Leader of The Gang, is now sitting in a prison cell aged 77 and a national disgrace. When the time comes for Paul to leave this earth, he won't be remembered or celebrated for his contribution to British musical history, he'll be remembered with utter disgust. 

I wrote about Ian Watkins recently, another vocalist who (although not at the level of fame of Paul) seemed to have it all but then threw it all away and was this sick, disgusting pervert. People close to both Ian and Paul would say that these guys were always surrounded by women so it never crossed their minds for a second that something deep down, sick and twisted was going on. 

Both of these men were narcissists, incredibly vain, in love with their fame, believed their own hype and thought they were invincible. Both of them were incredibly talented. Both of them are the scum of the earth who have not only destroyed peoples lives but destroyed their own talent. 

Was it just too much? Having everything they ever wanted and not appreciating any of it and deciding to harm innocent children? They could have gotten help, a proper psychiatrist, they could afford it. 

In my opinion it looks like they harboured these sick thoughts for years before they even were famous. We all have our fantasies and things that turn us on and that's normal but to have an appetite for children is completely disgusting, wrong and it gets me angry on so many levels. I remember mentioning in my post about Ian Watkins that I wanted to run out and keep children safe and I always feel that when I come across sick individuals like these two. 

(Paul Gadd mug shot. Picture credit:Manchester Evening News)

So that's the Gary Glitter story, a lot of you have heard the name and bits and pieces but here you have the full story so you know who he is now and what he's done and what became of him. 

UPDATE - 2023: Sky News reported that Paul Gadd (Gary Glitter) had been released from prison after serving only half of his sentence. In another twist it was shortly revealed that after this release he had been returned to prison after violating his conditions. 

UPDATE: February 2024: Paul Gadd (Gary Glitter) is denied parole and told that he must continue on with his sentence. 

Further Reading & Sources:

Gary Glitter | Wikipedia

Gary Glitter: News Article | BBC News

Gary Glitter: Convicted | Various Footage

Gary Glitter Mockumentary | Execution Of Gary Glitter

Gary Glitter | Short Documentary

Gary Glitter: News Report | 5 News

Gary Glitter: News Report

Gary Glitter: Article | Manchester Evening News

Jimmy Savile | Wikipedia

Ian Watkins: Article | True Crime With Caledonian Kitty

I think about his victims and his fans who thought the world of him back in the day before the horrible truth came out. It must be heartbreaking for the victims having those horrible memories but also his former fans who thought he was everything.

I planned to write this post for a while so I'm glad I have got around to covering it. I hope you found this post informative and I hope to see you in my next post or my socials x

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