Unfortunately, a handful of pop stars of that era were actual nonces.
You can type the search query “70s pop paedos” into Google and you’ll see the likes of Gary Glitter, Jonathan King, and Rolf Harris. But this article isn’t about sex offenders (sing Hosannas) it’s about looking like one. Now you might be wondering how anyone can look like a nonce, well, with my in-depth, detailed analysis, all will be revealed.
It’s plain to see.
Looking like that creepy uncle your family doesn’t mention or the neighbour your mum told you to steer clear of was the universal aesthetic for the 1970s British male pop singer.
(There were exceptions: David Essex, Mark Bolan, and Bowie… swoon.)
Alvin Stardust was popular:
He looks like an S&M child catcher.
His singing style is just as creepy, especially when you hear the line, “C’mon let’s go to my flat, lay down and groove on the mat.” It’s terrifying. Take a look:
(And what’s with the weird way he holds the mic?)
There’s something about having the word “flat” in a lyric that makes it sound grubby to me. I have a very clear image of what his flat looks like—and it isn’t a Manhattan loft apartment, no, it’s filled with dead flies and junk. Would he tempt you to his flat? I’m guessing you’d run as fast as your legs could carry you.
(I actually like My Coo Ca Choo, despite it sounding like a Spirit in the Sky rip-off.)
I’m being a little mean. And there’s a small part of me that enjoys his sinister vibe. He certainly was different but I’m so confused about the audience he was appealing to.
And we can’t let this next act slide, the glorious—Mud.
(Mudslide? glorious mud? No? Fair enough.)
Imagine that music exec meeting:
“What we need is a man band. Proper blokes. They should look past their best, you know, jaded, like you would after a life spent drinking pints of Double Diamond.”
And they MUST look old.
70s male band members should, on average, look about 50. It’s also imperative they possess the sex appeal of a week-old Wetherspoon’s breakfast. Bands like Slade and Wizard, all decent fellas I’m sure, just looked like they’d had the hardest of paper rounds.
Please, don’t get me wrong, I dig an older man but I don’t want him to look dug up, nor look like he’s trying to lure children into a car on the promise of seeing kittens.
The 70s were fucked up.
The idea that these blokes were a young girl’s fantasy is a bit mad. Especially by today’s standards. And some girls did, in reality, like them. They had posters of these popsters on their bedroom walls. But when pickings are slim, what’s a teenager to do?
The Americans had the right idea.
They knew what those girls wanted: David Soul, David Cassidy, and the lovely Donny Osmond. (Ha! The three Ds!) Personally, David Soul gets my heart racing—not now, now he looks like a dead body that’s spent a month in water.
They were different times.
Men getting with teenage girls was very 1970s and although it wasn’t exclusive to that decade, there was something about 70s popular culture that made it seem acceptable.
The inappropriate sexual attitudes towards girls were pervasive.
Girls were viewed as ‘fair game’.
Particularly those ‘fast girls’ who were actively courting inappropriate behaviour. What these men were doing was the responsibility of those ‘promiscuous girls’, right?
A girl was suddenly granted autonomy when she sought to ‘lead a man astray’. An imbalance of power doesn’t factor into it. Nor the idea that some men should know how to behave with children. They should, at the very least, try not to fuck them.
These piss-poor attitudes only helped the real sex offenders to carry on getting away with their crimes.
All this despite some within certain establishments knowing what they were doing—the same establishments who were often the so-called purveyors of decency (yes BBC, I’m looking at you).
Creepy men will always exist.
At 14 (in 1994) I experienced what now would be described as grooming by a man in his thirties. So there’s no getting away from this depressing fact: horrible people will forever walk this earth.
We know these types of men shouldn’t have any sexual interest in teenage girls, regardless of them being ‘nearly legal’. But back in the 70s, it wasn’t a concern.
You only have to listen to the song lyrics of that era, indeed prior to that era, women and girls were the same thing. There’s no difference between them and we still readily describe grown-ass women as girls.
Side note: girls are vulnerable. They haven’t developed a clear sense of self. They lack confidence, and they’re easily manipulated. Girls have little or no autonomy and that’s catnip to predatory men. Describing women as girls seeks to remove their agency and infantilise them.
Thankfully, our current British pop stars look much better.
(With the exception of Ed Sheeran.)
They look more like the sort of chaps, young gals should fantasise about. And we can also rest easy (well, easier) that our attitudes are not (entirely) stuck in the 70s.
REMINDER: none of the examples I have used in the post are convicted sex offenders.