Paul Francis Gadd (born 8 May 1944), known by the stage name Gary Glitter, is an English former glam rock singer who achieved popular success in the 1970s and 80s. He was known for his extreme glam image of glitter suits, make-up and platform boots, and his energetic live performances. He sold over 20 million records, spent 168 weeks on the UK Singles Chart and had 21 hit singles placing him in the Top 100 UK most successful chart acts. From 1997, he returned to public notice for committing sex offences, being imprisoned for downloading child pornography in 1999, and child sexual abuse and attempted rape in 2006 and 2015.
After performing under the name Paul Raven in the 1960s, he came to prominence as Gary Glitter in the glam rock era of the early 1970s, with a sustained solo UK chart run of hits including “Rock and Roll, Parts 1 and 2”, “Do You Wanna Touch Me”, “I Love You Love Me Love”, “I’m the Leader of the Gang (I Am)”, and “Hello, Hello, I’m Back Again”. Having become one of the most prominent figures in British popular culture, a slight decline in the late 1970s was followed by a successful comeback as a solo artist again from the 1980s. Between 1972 and 1995, Glitter had 26 hit singles, which spent a total of 180 weeks in the UK Singles Chart; twelve of those reached the Top 10, with three charting at number-one. He continued to record in the 1980s and 1990s, with his 1984 song “Another Rock and Roll Christmas” becoming one of the most played Christmas hits of all time. He released seven studio albums, and at least fifteen compilation or live albums. In 1998, his recording of “Rock and Roll” was listed as one of the top 1,001 songs in music history. The mostly instrumental “Rock and Roll, Part 2” has been played as a popular cheering song at American sporting events for several decades.
The BBC described Glitter’s fall from grace as “dramatic” and “spectacular”. The late 1990s saw his image become irreparably tarnished, following his 1997 arrest and 1999 conviction in the United Kingdom for downloading thousands of items of child pornography. He was also charged, but acquitted, of sexual activity with an underage girl in the 1970s. Later, Glitter faced criminal charges and deportation from several countries including Vietnam and Cambodia connected with actual and suspected child sexual abuse, after a Vietnamese court found him guilty of obscene acts with minors in 2006. He had been living in Vietnam since deportation from Cambodia on suspected child sexual abuse charges in 2002. Glitter was deported from Vietnam back to Britain at the end of his sentence, where he was placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life. In October 2012, Glitter was arrested again as part of Operation Yewtree. He was bailed but was eventually charged, in June 2014, with historical child sex offences. On 5 February 2015, he was found guilty of attempted rape, four counts of indecent assault, and one of having sex with a girl under the age of 13 between 1975 and 1980. On 27 February 2015, he was sentenced to a total of 16 years in prison.