With everyone all is-he-or-isn’t-he-ing over American Idol finalist Adam Lambert‘s sexuality, we here at the MTV Buzzworthy Blog are firmly entrenched in Team Glambert and could care less if he’s gay or not as long as he keeps keeping his glam gun set to stun.
But friends, Adam Lambert wasn’t the first man in music to get glittery and glossy, wield an eyeliner pencil, nor keep his skin positively pristine.
And so, to celebrate Adam Lambert, the most glam man (or woman!) on TV, let’s take a look at some of the glammest guys in music history!
From Prince to Perez, from the Backstreet Boys to the most glam Jonas Brother of them all, see who else made the list!
Boy George: The godfather of early ’80s glam, Boy George and the Culture Club — their 1982 single, “Do You Really Wanna Hurt Me?,” off the album Kissing To Be Clever, went to #1 in a dozen countries — were never afraid to play with musical genres, gender, or with makeup, obviously. Unfortunately, Boy George tumbled for drugs and false imprisonment of a male escort and is currently in prison. Whoops! Video: Culture Club | “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?”
Marilyn: One of Boy George’s contemporaries, British pop star Marilyn, born Peter Robinson, also saw brief gender-bending fame in the ’80s. Marilyn was featured on the 1984 all-star Band Aid jammy-jam “Do They Know It’s Christmas?,” had a massive falling out with Boy George, and claims that he had an intense affair with Gavin Rossdale back in the day. Gavin denies his involvement with Marilyn, but one thing that’s undeniable was that Marilyn was the master of the perfectly arched brow — the killer app in any glam guy’s tool kit.
Backstreet Boys: The liberal use of lip gloss, eyeliner and, hair products that the Backstreet Boys featured in their 2005 video, “Just Want You to Know,” was strictly due to the fact that they were portraying fictitious ’80s hair band, Sphynkter… or was it? And I defy you to find something NOT glam about zebra car seat covers. Video: Backstreet Boys | “I Just Want You To Know”
Freddie Mercury: No one pushed the glam envelope (glamvelope?) harder or farther than the late, great Freddie Mercury. Known as one of the most commanding, theatrical, and flamboyant performers of all time, even David Bowie considers him one of the edgiest performers ever. Equally at home in a tight t-shirt and jeans or a skin-tight court jester’s catsuit and a crushed velvet cape, Freddie Mercury popularized the cop ‘stache and ambiguous sexuality while unintentionally paving the way for Lady Gaga to appropriate her namesake from Queen’s 1984 hit, “Radio Gaga.” Video: Queen | “Radio Gaga”
Bill Kaulitz: Please. As IF we would leave Bill Kaulitz off a list of glam guys. The trademark hair and makeup alone are award-worthy, as is the fact that his life is one big series of angular, intense, and amazing poses. Also, Bill deserved his own giant tongue just for the makeup he wore to the MTV Tr3s Los 2008 Premios Awards. Video: Tokio Hotel | “Monsoon” Live on TRL
Perez Hilton: Though he’s worn a most un-glam tenty Sherlock Holmes cape… thing… and a Hello Kitty shower cap… and shorts that looked a lot like lederhosen, the self-proclaimed Queen of All Media earned back tons of glam points when he wore an ARETHA HAT, designed by Mr. Song Millinery, to his South By Southwest party in March 2009.
Kanye West: Aside from hanging out with a guy who wears an Aretha Hat and spending an inordinate amount of time fantasizing about models, when he’s not ruining awards shows or claiming he’s not gay, Kanye West spends an inordinate amount of time discussing fashion, attending fashion shows, and basically giving himself over to fashion. And being very very fashionable. He also changed his name to Martin Louis The King, Jr. and was recently named hip-hop’s best-dressed man.
George Michael: Shown here catching a nebulous orb of glam, George Michael‘s been and stayed glam throughout the years. Whether prancing about in nut-huggers and a pro-life t-shirt and doing the jitterbug (see: the entire “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” video) during his Wham! days, or being all James Dean-y as Faith-era George Michael, George wrote the prescription for the perfect rugged-glum look: well man-icured facial hair, sculpted brows, sunglasses, and earrings. And speaking of prescriptions, George Michael’s affinity for drugs and public toilets led to some majorly un-glam photo opps. Whoops! But, hiring Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, and Naomi Campbell for his 1990 video, “Freedom ’90,” was one of the glammest moments in guy-glam history. Video: George Michael | “Freedom ’90”
++ CHECK OUT MORE GLAM GUYS AND SEE WHICH JONAS BROTHER IS THE GLAMMEST AFTER THE JUMP!
Twisted Sister: Of course, sometimes glam goes awry, and Dee Snider of Twisted Sister is a prime example of the dark twists and turns that glam can take. Tight pants, big hair, red lipsticks and matching boots do not a good glam guy make. Back in the ’80s though, glam rockers Dee Snider and Twisted Sister got about as much MTV airtime as some other famous blonds do today — Spencer and Heidi! Video: Twisted Sister | “We’re Not Gonna Take It”
Kajagoogoo: British new-wave band Kajagoogoo, best known for their 1983 hit “Too Shy,” is another blatant example of the lowest depths to which misdirected, misguided, unfettered and unchecked glam could sink. Just LOOK at lead singer Limahl‘s hair! It’s like cotton candy on top of fusilli. Glam gone bad. Very very bad.
The Blonds: Speaking of famous blonds, New York fashion design duo Phillipe and David Blond are the decadent design team behind some of your favorite glam girls’ gear. If it’s heavy, metallic, and you can’t buy it, chances are Phillipe and David made it. Some of their recent pieces include the fruity costume Katy Perry wore to the Grammys, the chain mail corset Rihanna wore to the 2008 American Music Awards, and Britney in the stars corset dress she wore for her Circus promo art. Phillipe apparently has an outrageous collection of Christian Louboutins, and he’s even had Louboutins made just for him, which is pretty much how you know you’re the queen of glam.
Diddy: Didn’t Diddy wear fur coats and hang out on yachts for like 10 years straight once? Glam!
Liberace: The grandfather of glam. The sultan of sequins. The founding father of feather boas. Liberace was once the highest-paid entertainer in the world and made it possible for one single individual to make the Las Vegas strip look tame by comparison. Known for being flamboyant enough to shame a peacock — or Paul Lynde — Liberace, also went to great legal lengths to convince everyone that he wasn’t gay. He just really really really liked feather boas.
Lady GaGa: We know that Lady GaGa’s all girl and ALL art-glam, but when the LA Times asked Christina Aguilera about the rumors that Christina stole GaGa’s look, Christina Aguilera responded with, “I’m not quite sure who this person is, to be honest. I don’t know if it is a man or a woman.” Christina, if you’re reading this, for the LAST TIME! LADY GAGA IS A GIRL! SHE’S GOT “LADY” RIGHT THERE IN THE NAME!
Jim Verraros: Remember Jim Verraros from season 1 of American Idol? He was the adorkable kid in the top 10 who spoke sign language and wore an unfortunate denim vest. Turns out Jimmy Boy was gay AND hiding a WHOLE HEAP of glam inside, but Fox execs were apparently like “No gay, please! Gayness musn’t exist on American Idol! There are no gays in the music industry, after all.” Well, that’s not EXACTLY a direct quote, but apparently being out on the show was basically a no-no. After he got kicked off Idol, Jim Verraros came out publicly in 2003, underwent a super-glam makeover, and became a total hottie with a body. Team Jim!
Prince: Know why Pete Wentz isn’t in this glam-guys roundup? Because Prince probably went through enough eyeliner to color the streets of Chicago 10 times over before Pete Wentz was even born. From rhinestoned bodysuits, mesh arm-warmers, rainbow pailettes, whateverTF this is around his neck, the polka dots he wore on the cover of Rolling Stone in 2004, an entire movement devoted to ruffled scarves and crushed velvet (that’d be Purple Rain), not to mention a symbiotic relationship with paisleys and the color purple, glam barely existed before Prince. At barely five feet tall — he makes up for it with signature heels — Prince proves you don’t have to be tall to be a glam guy, and he also managed to make Minneapolis glam, which is a triumph in and of itself.
Stallionaires: What woman wouldn’t want a real chance at love with guys named… Chance and Real? Besides VH1’s New York, of course. She gave Chance and Real — known on the “streets” as “Stallionaires” — the boot on I Love New York. But Ahmad and Kamal Givens proved that you can’t keep a glam guy down when they popped up on their own VH1 reality show, Real Chance at Love, giving 17 lucky(-ish) ladies a chance at love… or at least a chance to borrow Real’s flat iron. Giddyup, ladies!
Rick James: Like Prince, Rick James walked the glam gangplank and arrived at the crossroads where funk meets glam meets superfreak. If chilling on satin sheets in a brass bed and wearing a weave full of glitter (see his “Superfreak” video) doesn’t make you glam, then you seriously need to reassess your definition of the word.
DeBarge: And here we have another classic example of good glam gone bad. I know it’s hard to believe, because he looks like the creepster ice cream man in this photo, but the men of of ’80s R&B/ dance-pop group DeBarge used to rock majorly glam rolled-sleeve blazers (think Jonas Brothers at the Camp Rock premiere) and even a very Jonas head of hair. DeBarge also had one of the most insane hits of 1986 with “Who’s Johnny,” featured in the movie Short Circuit, but after that DeBarge’s career pretty much unraveled when El Debarge busted for crack. And everybody knows crack = NOT glam. Video: El DeBarge | “Who’s Johnny?”
Nick Jonas: Now, all three Jonas Brothers have perfected the art of glam thanks to their stylist, Michelle Tomaszewski, who dresses them in Dior Homme, YSL, Opening Ceremony, Givenchy, Paul Smith, Phillip Lim, and Martin Margiela. But Nick Jonas (shown here at the MTV Jonas Brothers Experience in February 2009) completes the head-to-toe glam-guy picture with absolutely flawess skin that most girls, forget guys, would kill for. Seriously Nick? Are you KIDDING me with that skin? And will you please bottle and sell that perfection? Or at least share your secret? If you do, then I’ll buy Lines, Vines And Trying Times if you tell us! Okay… I’ll buy Lines, Vines And Trying Times anyway. Obviously. Video: Jonas Brothers | “Lovebug”