During a prominent scene in the Joker movie, Arthur Fleck struts down the steps we have previously seen him struggling to walk up, to the backing track of the song Rock And Roll Part 2, performed and co-written by Gary Glitter. It’s a song that, in the UK, is not played anymore. Gary Glitter, one of the leading names in glam rock in the seventies and a TV entertainer in the eighties, is now known as a repeated convicted paedophile.
Real name Paul Gadd, he is currently serving time in the Verne prison in Dorset. Initially arrested in 1997 after a technician discovered pornographic images of children on the hard drive of a laptop that he had taken for repair, his appearance in the Spice Girls’ film Spice World was cut as a result and in 1999, he was sentenced to four months in prison and placed on the sex offender register after admitting downloading more than 4,000 items of child pornography. Afterwards, he left the UK for Spain and changed his name, then moved to Cuba after he was exposed by local media, then Cambodia, then Thailand, then Vietnam as his reputation dogged him. In 2005, after eyewitnesses reporting seeing him take two young girls into his home, a 15-year-old girl was found living in his flat and questioned by authorities, but Gadd had fled. He was arrested while trying to board a flight to Bangkok. A number of girls aged as young as eleven, claimed that Gadd had had sex with them. In 2006, Glitter was tried on charges of committing obscene acts with two girls, aged 10 and 11 and was sentenced to three years in prison, and after serving a reduced term was deported back to the UK. In 2012, Glitter was arrested and questioned by police, later charged with eight counts of sexual offences committed against two girls aged 12–14 between 1977 and 1980. He was convicted of attempted rape, four counts of indecent assault, and one of having sex with a girl under the age of 13 and sentenced to 16 years in prison.
As a result of the arrests and convictions, his music is blacklisted on UK radio stations, but airplay and sales in US see him earn around £250,000 a year. He also made money from royalties from a sample used in the Oasis track Hello, the KLF track Doctorin’ The TARDIS and also made £300,000 after his music featured in the Oscar-nominated trailer for Silver Linings Playbook.
In the US, while his work is familiar. as a performer he is pretty much unknown. Rock And Roll Part 2 is popular during sport games where it seems to be known as ‘The Hey Song’ Reportedly it plays to much acclaim from all but the British audience members to turn to each other asking ‘what they hell are they playing this paedo’s music for?’
What’s the solution? Here’s a thought. Rerecord the song and release it widely in the US. A full media airplay campaign. Now, Gary Glitter will get revenue from this, true, but he is already making significant figures a year in royalties anyway.
Just rewrite the lyrics. Instead of ‘Rock and roll… hey. Rock and roll, Rock and roll… hey. Rock and roll. Rock and roll…’ you use the following lyrics that scan perfectly. ‘Paedophile… hey, paedophile, paedophile… hey paedophile, paedophile…’
Record that. Release it, make it ubiquitous. At which point no stadium music producer will dare play the original. And even edgy directors like Todd Phillips will think twice.
The only danger is for the new version suddenly becoming the new theme tune to Family Guy.