Marc Bolan started it. David Bowie perfected it. And Ke$ha has brought it back. “It,” of course, refers to glitter, those shiny little bits of paper, plastic and goop that little kids spread across construction paper and adults spread across their faces.
Glitter first hit the music world when Marc Bolan and his band T. Rex helped invent glam rock in the early 1970s. And it’s recently experienced a resurgence. Ke$ha showers in it, Pink sings about it and Adam Lambert is pretty much made of it. But where was glitter between then and now? And where is it going next? Funny you should ask, because below is a time line of glitter in rock and roll.
New Jersey machinist Henry Ruschmann grinds up plastic into small pieces and, behold, glitter is invented.
Marc Bolan, lead singer for glam rock band T. Rex, dabs a little glitter on each cheek in what is widely considered the first mashup between the shiny stuff and rock and roll.
David Bowie morphs into Ziggy Stardust with a red, black and blue lightning bolt across his face.
The New York Dolls release their eponymous debut album. Their big hair and glittery faces earn them the joint award of “Best New Band of the Year” and “Worst New Band of the Year” from Creem magazine.
Previously non-glittery acts like Elton John, The Rolling Stones and Rod Stewart come around to the glory of glitter.
Kiss, a fledgling rock band from New York City, plays “The Paul Lynde Halloween Special” and millions of American teenagers are introduced to the band’s fascination with blood and glitz.
Hair bands like Mötley Crüe and Poison start mixing glitter with their hair product to get that extra shine. The ladies love it. Men don’t.
Mariah Carey’s movie “Glitter” hits theaters. Critics hate it (7% on Rotten Tomatoes) and moviegoers hate it more (it opens at $2.4 million).
A group of Berklee College of Music graduates form a “filthy glamour” rock band called Semi-Precious Weapons and their mix of glitter and gutter soon makes Lady Gaga a fan.
Tyson Ritter of the All-American Rejects replaces his chest hair with glitter for a performance at the 2009 Video Music Awards.
Adam Lambert may have come in second in the eighth season of “American Idol,” but he took first prize in wearing glitter. It didn’t take the caterwauling “Glambert” long to put out a solo album, take Tokyo by storm, sing into a sequined mic and make wearing eye-to-ear glitter a thing that people do.
Lady Gaga reveals that when she needs to unwind she does something called the “Titty Glitter Dance,” in which she “dances around with the guys with no shirt on and throws glitter.” Unfortunately, she hasn’t yet done it on video.
Roscoe and his glittery Mohawk debut with his first single “All the Way Turnt Up.”
Ke$ha’s glitter-soaked album Animal is released and soon she becomes synonymous with the little shiny specks. Some people even think she eats it.