Gary Glitter is a legendary pop star from the United Kingdom whose iconic song was used in the new Joker movie. That’s causing controversy because Glitter has a lengthy and infamous background of child sex offenses.
Glitter’s real name is Paul Gadd, and he’s responsible for some of the best-known glam rock songs of the 1970s, especially Rock and Roll (Part II), which is often played at American sporting events and was featured in a Joker dance scene. He’s sold at least 18 million records. However, his fame spiraled into darkness when he was repeatedly accused of sexually abusing children.
Does Glitter still receive royalties? He makes over $250,000 a year in royalties because U.S. stations still play his songs, which are blacklisted in the UK, according to The Sun. He’s likely to earn royalties from The Joker’s use of his music, the site reports. However, it’s not the first Hollywood movie to feature Glitter’s music.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Glitter Received a 16-Year Jail Sentence for Sexually Abusing Three Girls
It’s true that Glitter was arrested for sex offenses, and he received a hefty prison term in 2015. According to BBC, Glitter’s 16-year jail term was handed down for “sexually abusing three young girls between 1975 and 1980.”
The charges involved having sex with a girl under 13 as well as “attempted rape, four counts of indecent assault,” BBC reported. Furthermore, the judge stated that he didn’t find evidence that Gadd had “atoned for his crimes,” BBC reported. Furthermore, the judge indicated that the victims “were all profoundly affected” by Gadd’s actions.
“You did all of them real and lasting damage and you did so for no other reason than to obtain sexual gratification for yourself of a wholly improper kind,” the judge said at sentencing, according to BBC.
CNN reported that Glitter also was jailed in 1999 for possessing child pornography (discovered when he took a computer in to be repaired) and was jailed for three years for sex offenses against young girls in Vietnam after that. According to Lastfm, the 2015 case involved accusations from the 1970s.
He was named a sex offender in the UK in 1999. The Vietnamese case involved girls ages 10 and 11, according to Lastfm. Some of the accusations are caught up in the scandals swirling around Sir Jimmy Savile, a BBC host and DJ; Glitter was accused of raping a 13-year-old girl in a dressing room while Savile was allegedly groping a teenage girl, Telegraph reports.
Glitter was already 71 when he received the 16-year sentence. His appeal was rejected.
2. Gary Glitter, Who Was Born Paul Francis Gadd, Was Discovered Playing Coffee Bars In His Mid-Teens
Gary Glitter was born Paul Francis Gadd on May 8, 1944 in Banbury, Oxfordshire. By the 1970s, he’d found celebrity and a storied musical career, the Great Rock Bible reports.
According to AllMusic, Gary Glitter was in his mid-teens when he performed at a London Coffee Bar in Soho, eventually drawing the attention of a producer named Robert Hartford Davis who paid for a recording session and got Glitter a record deal with Decca. He was called Paul Raven then.
AllMusic reports that Glitter’s hits included such songs as “Rock and Roll,” “I’m the Leader of the Gang,” “Do You Wanna Touch Me,” and “I Love You Love Me Love.” His career fell apart after the child molestation charges. The Guardian reported in 2015 that Glitter’s music was still attracting a following despite all, however.
3. The Joker Movie Is Under Fire for Playing a Gary Glitter Song Known as the ‘Hey Song’
The Joker movie was already causing controversy because of its violence. It’s also under fire for using a Glitter song, Rock and Roll Part 2. The song plays, according to CNN, for two minutes while the Joker (Joaquin Phoenix) “dances down a flight of stairs.”
CNN reported that Gadd AKA Glitter is probably making money off the song, but it’s not clear how much. That’s causing the controversy because of his sex offenses.
According to CNN, the song is also known as the “Hey Song,” and it was commonly played at football games until the NFL banned it at the Super Bowl after Glitter’s conviction. According to Telegraph, Glitter’s music has been used in other movie sound tracks, most notably the Full Monty and Meet the Fockers.
4. Glitter, Who Actually Wore Glitter Suits, Had a String of Top Ten Hits
The 1970s were Glitter’s heyday. According to Telegraph, he scored “twelve consecutive top ten singles.” He raked in royalties, too, especially from the Rock and Roll anthem, at one point bringing in more than $100,000 from the NFL alone. He sold parts of his catalog for millions of dollars, the site reported, and brings in royalty checks from all his songs.
According to AllMusic, Glitter lived up to his moniker. He once owned “30 glitter suits and 50 pairs of monstrous silver platform boots,” the site reports. He bought a mansion and Rolls Royce, but when his career crumbled, he faced foreclosure.
He tried opening a restaurant and record label, but his popularity sank until bands revived his music through cover songs, according to Telegraph. Glitter’s net worth is believed to be between $1 and $7 million.
5. Glitter Was Once Married, Has Children & Claimed He Was Abused
According to Telegraph, Glitter alleged that he, too, was abused as a child. He married Ann Murton and they had a son and daughter together called Paul and Sarah. He ended up divorced and battling alcohol addiction, Mirror reports.
Mirror reports that Glitter has a Cuban son named Gary Pantoja Sosa. The site reported that the son had never met his dad, and that his mother was from “a relationship with former farm girl Yudania Sosa Martine.”
Glitter is now housed in what The Sun called a “cushy prison for sex offenders” that is decked out with “20-inch flatscreen TVs and tea making facilities.”
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