Picks and Pans Review: Music on Video

updated 06/19/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/19/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

>GLAM ROCK

Ah, those were en-chanted times, friends. The early '70s. Late hippie. Pre-disco. Rock was drifting into strange, uncharted waters that came to be known as glitter or glam rock, as though somebody had sprinkled pixie dust and mascara all over our musical rebels. It was Liberace theater with a killer back-beat, featuring long-haired young men staggering around onstage on stacked heels that would make a Cuban gigolo dizzy. This historical video compilation really stretches the concept by including such prole rock groups as Slade, but then it isn't a comprehensive documentary—such glam rockers as David Bowie and the New York Dolls aren't even included—so much as an assemblage of whatever vaguely relevant footage Virgin had moldering in its vaults. That's not to say it isn't fun. Gary Glitter and his band, for instance, look like one of Benny Hill's better cross-dressing sketches. The Sweet could pass for something out of This Is Spinal Tap. On the other hand, T. Rex with Marc Bolan and Roy Wood's Wizzard hold up pretty well both musically and in terms of pop spectacle. The visuals throughout appear ragged and unimaginative to our MTV-jaded eyes. But the music, after all this time, sounds surprisingly light and innocent, and, for all its silliness, surprisingly catchy. (Virgin)

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