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JOHN ROSSALL

If you read Gary Glitter's autobiography Leader- fondly known as Me Me Me in some circles - you might see an odd mention of John Rossall. It doesn't do him anything like justice, but at least it's better than the entry on The Glitter Band in The Guinness Who's Who of 70s Music where his name doesn't turn up at all.

So let's get Rossall's position in pop history straight. He started off as a trombone-player, later doubling up on sax, playing in Irish showbands, before taking up a job in the Mike Leander Show Band on a tour of Britain; the singer was one Paul Raven. When Rossall subsequently formed his own band and got offered a residency in Hamburg, he invited Raven to join him. The German gigs lasted for six years and did for Raven what the same experience had done for The Beatles: 'Paul was a very very good live entertainer in them days,' remembers Rossall. 'In fact he was far better then than what he ever was as Gary Glitter.'

The creation of Gary Glitter in 1972 gave Rossall a new opportunity. Invited by Gary and Mike Leander to form a backing band for the new star, he agreed on condition that in due course he would be allowed to pursue his own songwriting. For two years he acted as Gary's Musical Director, before picking up his option. The first Glitter Band single, 'Angel Face', was co-written by Rossall and Gerry Shephard and was quite rightly a massive hit. In fact it did better than 'Remember Me This Way' - Gary Glitter's single of the time - which didn't do much for Gary's ego.

Two more Glitter Band singles were released during Rossall's time with the band - 'Just For You' and 'Let's Get Together Again' - but by the end of 1974 he felt it was time to branch off into a solo career. Sadly that career never really took off, which was a shame because he made some good records, particularly 'You'll Never Know' which he co-wrote with Eddie Seago. The closest he got to a hit was 'It's No Use You Telling Me No,' which was well-placed to break into the charts when the record company, 20th Century Fox, closed its British office.

Meanwhile The Glitter Band had got even bigger since his departure, and the seeds for future conflict were sown. Rossall and the continuing members of the group ended up in a legal dispute which seems to have been settled with a return to court in 1997. He's not the best known guy from the Glitter Band, but it's worth remembering that without Rossall the whole thing would be a whole lot different.


TOP FORTY SINGLES: The Glitter Band (in John Rossall's time)
UK
1974 Angel Face (#4)
1974 Just For You (#10)
1974 Let's Get Together Again (#8)

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Eddie Amoo
Ken Andrew
Dave Bartram
Mike Batt
Wayne Bickerton
Biddu
David Blaylock
Trevor Bolder
Jacko Boogie
Tony Burrows
Sally Carr
Tina Charles
David Courtney
Danielz
Rob Davis
Richard Dodd
Patrick Doonan
Ray Dorset
Herbie Flowers
Ken Gold
Graham Gouldman
Dave Hill
Harvey Hinsley
John Hughes
Jim Irvin
Jimmy James
Steve Jones
Lorraine Kelly
Paul Layton
Les McKeown
Russell Mael
Johnny Moore
Mike Moran
Chris Norman
Bill Oddie
David Paton
Lyn Paul
Phil Pickett
Suzi Quatro
Chris Rae
Chris Redburn
Norman Rogerson
Ron Roker
John Rossall
Andy Scott
Eddie Seago
Mat Snow
Chris Spedding
John Springate
Ray Stiles
Sunny
Alwyn W Turner
David Van Day
Phil Wainman
Johnny Wakelin
Jeff Wayne
Alan Williams
Pip Williams