Gary Glitter’s number 1 UK single “I’m the Leader of the Gang” was on the GCSE music syllabus. However, it has been removed subsequent to complaints about its inclusion after it was spotted by a deputy head teacher. This action has provoked some thought.
From a personal perspective, I have never heard Glitter’s hit song. Although I was familiar with one of his works, because they play it at every ball game in the US, I had never heard of the guy. My husband had to inform me about this character.
I have never been one to condone immoral behavior. In fact, I am totally against promoting all these pop culture celebrities who are always breaking the law and getting away with it, as well as those who are always in trouble due to drugs and alcohol. They are supposed to be role models, and poor role models they are. It sickens me that the media seem to promote and ultimately profit from their popularity.
On the reverse side, I have learned to accept that talent cannot be discounted just because of bad behavior due to poor mental processes. Just look at all the 60s and 70s icons who were hailed as geniuses as they were filling their minds and bodies with drugs. As much as I might like to censor some people’s works, censorship does not work. It only seems to increase people’s curiosity. I have seen that with my own children.
I wonder if by cutting out Glitter they may unintentionally give him some publicity. These are teenagers who will be affected. They are old enough to have an intelligent discussion of a controversial figure like Glitter. Also, if he was really influential, should his work not be considered? Should what happened later in his life invalidate what he contributed to music previously?