“Boy or a Girl” – Imperial Drag

One of the best tributes to early 1970s British glam rock ever recorded. As much as I love the soundtrack to Todd Haynes’s 1998 film “Velvet Goldmine,” Imperial Drag’s “Boy or a Girl” blows every song on that album out of the water. I remember hearing this for the first time on an Alabama radio station in the summer of 1996 and immediately was taken with how much this song was a perfect approximation of the English glam rock genre. Which is probably also why it was never a hit (even on “alternative” radio) and why I didn’t hear it again for another 10 years. Yes, English glam rock inspired a lot of American bands back in the day (R.E.M., many early American punk bands), with the exception of a few singles here and there (T. Rex’s “Bang a Gong,” Gary Glitter’s “Rock n’ Roll Part 2,” three Top 5 Sweet singles), glam rock didn’t have the same commercial impact as it did in the British Isles. In any case, the song has a wonderfully sleazy edge and I’m glad Imperial Drag recorded this with an absolute faith and love of a genre that never quite caught on in the United States.

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