Rock and Roll (Gary Glitter song)

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"Rock and Roll"
GaryGlitter Rock and Roll.jpg
Original 7-inch single
Single by Gary Glitter
from the album Glitter
A-side"Rock and Roll Part 1"
B-side"Rock and Roll Part 2"
Released3 March 1972
GenreGlam rock[1][2]
Length3:04 (Part 1)
3:00 (Part 2)
Producer(s)Mike Leander
Gary Glitter singles chronology
"Rock and Roll"
"I Didn't Know I Loved You (Till I Saw You Rock and Roll)"

"Rock and Roll" is the debut single by English glam rock singer Gary Glitter that was released in 1972, from his debut album Glitter. Co-written by Glitter and Mike Leander, the song is in two parts: Part 1 is a vocal track reflecting on the history of the genre, and Part 2 is a mostly instrumental piece. Both parts were popular in Britain, and the single went to No. 2 on the British charts. In concert, Glitter merged both into one performance.

"Rock and Roll" is Glitter's only top 10 hit in the U.S. It was also in North America that the "Part 2" became popularly associated with sports, as a number of professional teams began to play the song during games to invigorate the audience. Since Glitter's convictions for child sex offences, the song's continued use has been controversial.

In the UK, "Rock and Roll" was one of over 25 hit singles for Glitter. In the US, the instrumental version (Part 2) attracted most of the attention; it hit No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100.[3] The running time of the US mono 45, which is mixed different from the LP, is 3:10 whilst it is 2:58 on the US LP. In France, "Part 1" was the successful side, peaking at number one.

History and usage[edit]


In North America, "Part 2" became popularly associated with sports, as a number of professional teams adopted the song for use during games, primarily to signify scores and victories, or to otherwise invigorate the crowd. It is often referred to as "The 'Hey' Song," as the only intelligible word in Part 2 is the exclamation of "Hey," punctuating the end of several instrumental phrases and repeated three times at the song's chorus. It was played first in a sport setting in 1974 at games for the Kalamazoo Wings of the high-minor International Hockey League by Kevin O'Brien, the team's public relations and marketing director.[4] When he went to work for the NHL's Colorado Rockies in 1976, he brought the song with him. After the Rockies moved to New Jersey as the New Jersey Devils in 1982, the Denver Nuggets and Denver Broncos picked up the tradition and were the first NBA and NFL teams to play the song during games.[4] At sporting events, fans often insert their own "Hey," or sometimes other chanted syllables.[5]

In 1999, Glitter was convicted of downloading child pornography in England, and in 2006 of child sexual abuse charges in Vietnam. After the second conviction was upheld in court, the NFL asked teams to stop playing the song. [6] The NFL allowed a cover version of the song by the Tube Tops 2000 to be played, but in 2012, the NFL instructed teams to "avoid" the song following negative reaction from British media to the New England Patriots' use of the song. In 2014, Billboard reported that the song was slowly falling out of favour due to both the controversies, and teams electing to replace it with newer songs.[7][8][9]

Films and television[edit]

"Rock and Roll Part 2" was used for Sudden Death, both in a trailer and the actual film. In the latter, the song can be heard from the Civic Arena's audio system whenever the Pittsburgh Penguins score a goal, much like what happened in real games at the time.

In The Simpsons episode 'A Fish Called Selma', first broadcast in 1996, Homer sings the chorus to the song in his head.[10]

In episode 5 of season 3 of the American version of the Office the character Michael Scott (Steve Carell) listens and dances to the song on his office while having a sugar high after consuming too many Pretzels.

In 2019, "Rock and Roll Part 2" appeared in Todd Phillips' film Joker as Arthur Fleck dances down a staircase, generating public controversy. Some sources indicated that Glitter, as co-writer of the song, would receive a lump sum and royalties for its use.[11] According to the Los Angeles Times, Glitter does not receive payment when the song is used as he has sold the rights, and the US rights to the song are now owned by Universal Music Publishing Group.[12]


"Rock and Roll Part 2" was used in a commercial for Donkey Kong Land 2 in 1996 with some chimpanzees dancing to the song in the jungle.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1972) Peak
Australia (Go-Set Top 40)[13] 2
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[14] 4
Canadian RPM Top Singles[15] 3
France (SNEP)[16] 9
Irish Singles Chart[17] 4
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[18] 7
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[19] 6
New Zealand (Listener)[20] 8
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[21] 4
UK (Official Charts Company)[22] 2
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[3] 7
West Germany (Official German Charts)[23] 4

Cover versions[edit]

The song was covered by The Human League as the first half of a track ("Rock and Roll/Nightclubbing") on the EP Holiday '80 issued in April 1980, and later included as a bonus track on CD releases of Travelogue, including the 2003 remasters. The song was also released as a 7" single (without "Nightclubbing") and was performed by the band on Top of the Pops in May 1980, even though the single failed to chart.

Tube Tops 2000 released a version for a glam rock tribute compilation Blockbuster: A 70's Glitter Glam Rock Experience, released in January 2001.

American punk band D.I. covered the song for Team Goon, the 1987 expanded re-release of their 1983 self-titled debut EP.

Part 2 was sampled in the Timelords' hit "Doctorin' the Tardis".


  1. ^ Dave Thompson. "Rock & Roll, Pt. 2 review on Allmusic". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 18 July 2013. "It was Mike Leander, Glitter's producer and co-writer, who conceived the song, basing it around an earlier, failed, recording called "Shag Rag, That's My Bag." (...) Trimmed to 15 minutes, they called it "Rock & Roll." Edited down to an even more manageable length, they renamed it "Rock & Roll (Pts. 1 and 2)," and launched Gary Glitter as one of the brightest stars on the entire glam rock firmament."
  2. ^ Stuart Rosenberg (2009). iUniverse (ed.). Rock and Roll and the American Landscape: The Birth of an Industry and the Expansion of the Popular Culture, 1955-1969. p. 181. ISBN 978-1440164583. "Glam rock would bring considerable success to a number of British artists, such as Gary Glitter (nee Paul Gadd), who hit number 7 in 1972 with "Rock and Roll Part 2.""
  3. ^ a b "Gary Glitter awards on Allmusic". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  4. ^ a b Lisa Twyman Bessone. "Sports fans know that the strains of 'Rock and Roll Part II' can turn chumps to champs". Sports Illustrated. Time Inc. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  5. ^ "NJ Devils fans boo new Bon Jovi goal song, yearn for Gary Glitter". Puck Daddy. Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  6. ^ Bradley, Lloyd, Glitter, Gary (1992) Leader: The Autobiography of Gary Glitter. Time Warner Paperbacks p. 129 ISBN 0751500097
  7. ^ "Column: Why did NFL muzzle Gary Glitter?". Yahoo! Music. 15 September 2006. Retrieved 20 August 2008.
  8. ^ "Why Convicted Child-Sex Offender Gary Glitter's 'Hey Song' Is Still Getting Played". Billboard. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  9. ^ "NFL bosses ban Gary Glitter's 'Rock And Roll Part II' from the Super Bowl". NME. 2 February 2012. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  10. ^ Oakley, Bill (2006). Commentary for "A Fish Called Selma", in The Simpsons: The Complete Seventh Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  11. ^ Meredith, Sam (7 October 2019). "Convicted pedophile Gary Glitter set to earn big royalties from 'Joker' movie". CNBC. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  12. ^ Appleford, Steve (11 October 2019). "Will a convicted pedophile make a fortune from a 'Joker' song?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  13. ^ "Rock and roll in Australian Chart". Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  14. ^ " – Gary Glitter – Rock And Roll Part 2!" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  15. ^ "Rock and roll part 2 in Canadian Top Singles Chart". Library and Archives Canada. Archived from the original on 7 January 2014. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  16. ^ "Rock and roll in French Chart" (in French). Dominic DURAND / InfoDisc. 18 July 2013. Archived from the original on 3 July 2013. Retrieved 18 July 2013. You have to use the index at the top of the page and search "Gary Glitter"
  17. ^ "Rock and roll part 2 in Irish Chart". IRMA. Retrieved 18 July 2013. Only one result when searching "Rock and roll part 2"
  18. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Gary Glitter - Rock And Roll" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  19. ^ " – Gary Glitter – Rock And Roll Part 2!" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  20. ^ "flavour of new zealand - search listener".
  21. ^ " – Gary Glitter – Rock And Roll Part 2!". Swiss Singles Chart.
  22. ^ "1972 Top 40 Official UK Singles Archive - 8th July 1972". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  23. ^ " – Gary Glitter – Rock And Roll Part 2!". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 28 February 2019. To see peak chart position, click "TITEL VON Gary Glitter"