In 1972 The Glitter Band found themselves without a bassist after Ray Motsley was sacked (reputedly for pissing in Gary's beer during a gig). One of those who responded to the subsequent Melody Maker advert was John Springate, who'd previously worked with Clem Curtis & The Foundations. He 'phoned up and was advised to watch Gary performing 'I Didn't Know I Loved You' on Top of the Pops that night. It was the first time he'd seen Gary and, being into 'grandad t-shirts and flared jeans and all,' he wasn't immediately impressed: 'I said to my mum, "I can't join that; what about my image?" And she said, "What image? You haven't got one."'
You can't argue with logic like that, so Springate auditioned and was recruited. John Rossall, then the leader of the band, says that the decisive factor was Springate's height - the Glitter Band had an impressively short front-line. But Springate brought more with him than lack of stature; he also emerged as a fantastic vocalist, one of the most underrated singers of the decade.
The early Glitter Band records were dominated by Rossall, but with his departure at the end of 1974, the leadership of the group devolved onto Gerry Shephard and Springate; it's the latter singing on 'Goodbye My Love', 'The Tears I Cried' and 'People Like You, People Like Me'. They're all great records, but even better are some of the things on the albums. In particular, there's 'Where Have You Been', the opening track on the third album Listen To The Band, which is all Springate's work and which outclasses anything recorded by any other glam pop act in the 70s.
Maybe that was part of the problem - no one much heard that album and those that did were mostly confused by the variety and depth that it displayed. Who the hell expected The Glitter Band of all people to produce a Revolver for the 70s? I mean, it's not a perfect album, but at least it doesn't have 'Yellow Submarine' on it.
The other problem was that the decade was catching up with the stars of glam. Even though The Glitter Band were now a thousand miles from their origins, they were still tainted by the past and they still got swept away by the punk revolution. Springate and Shephard went to see the Sex Pistols at the Notre Dame Hall in 1976 and realized even then that their time was up.
When the group split up, Springate became a producer. Even more influential in his career development was the moment in the early 80s when he came out and started going to gay clubs. It was the golden age of Hi-NRG and Springate was suitably inspired to move into dance production. This is where he continues to make his living, scoring his biggest hit with Nikki French's version of 'Total Eclipse of the Heart.' He's also written theme tunes for many of Mike Mansfield's TV programmes and a disappointing Eurovision entry. Leaving that aside, he's a very cool man.
1974 Angel Face (#4)
1974 Just For You (#10)
1974 Let's Get Together Again (#8)
1975 Goodbye My Love (#2)
1975 The Tears I Cried (#8)
1975 Love in the Sun (#15)
1976 People Like You, People Like Me (#5)