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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 November 2005, 12:57 GMT
Fall of Glitter the pop superstar
Gary Glitter's detention in Vietnam over claims that he had sex with under-age girls marks a further chapter in former glam rock star's problems.

Glitter (centre) and singers
Paul Gadd worked hard to achieve stardom and become Gary Glitter

Glitter, whose real name is Paul Francis Gadd, was arrested at Ho Chi Minh City on suspicion of committing "lewd acts" with two girls at his home in the seaside resort of Vung Tau.

He denies the claims and has not been charged, but police in Vietnam have applied to extend his detention so they can investigate the allegations further.

Glitter had been living at Vung Tau for the last six months.

He was deported from Cambodia at the end of 2002 following a spell in jail over suspected sex offences.


Glitter's public humiliation began in 1997 when he was arrested in the UK accused of downloading child pornography from the internet.

His conviction two years later tarnished forever the image of the legendary million-selling pop performer of the 1970s.

Gary Glitter in Vietnam
Gary Glitter is being held at a prison outside Vung Tau in Vietnam

Previously, the most controversial things about him had probably been his outrageous stage persona and high-living rock lifestyle.

It was Glitter, along with his fellow glam rockers of the early 1970s, who helped raise pop music to a new pitch of extravagance.

Decked out in lamé, his cheeks sucked in and his etched-on eyebrows permanently raised, Glitter cut a formidable figure.

Unlike many of his glam contemporaries he showed a staying power that won him new appreciation in the 1980s and 90s.

He became a rock institution, taking his own unique brand of pantomime on the road for Christmas after Christmas.

Born Paul Gadd in Banbury, Oxfordshire, in 1944, Glitter was an illegitimate child who never met his father.

Brought up by his grandmother and his young mother, who often struggled to cope, he led a wayward childhood. At the age of 10 he and his brother were taken into care.

In later years he might have looked a born showman, but fame did not come easily to Glitter.

He cut a record for Decca at 14 and set off on his quest for stardom.

Media wait outside HMP Bristol
The media waited outside prison for Gary Glitter's release in 2000

Gadd performed under a variety of names, such as Paul Russell, Paul Raven and Rubber Bucket, releasing records that mostly never charted.

In 1961 he took a job as a warm-up man for the pop show Ready Steady Go.

"I knew I could do better than a whole lot of the performers going on the show, yet there I was just entertaining the studio audience," he said later of the experience.

'Stanley Sparkle'

Fame and fortune finally came at the age of 28, when Glitter hitched his act to the emerging glam rock scene of the early 1970s.

He picked the name Gary Glitter from a choice of Terry Tinsel, Stanley Sparkle and Vicky Vomit.

His breakthrough single, Rock 'n' Roll (Parts 1 and 2), was a 15-minute drum-heavy chant with minimal vocals and a simple guitar hook.

The song reached number two in the UK in 1972 and topped the US charts.

The following year was his most successful.

Glitter scored a string of chart hits written by himself and his producer Mike Leander, including I Didn't Know I Loved You (Till I Saw You Rock and Roll), I Love You Love and Do You Wanna Touch Me.

Gary Glitter
Glitter spoke to journalists after he was released from jail in 2000

It was also the year of I'm the Leader of the Gang - the song that became his anthem and that of his growing fan base.

By 1975 Glitter had sold 18 million records.

But as the glam fashion made way for punk he struggled to keep his place in the public eye.

He divorced his wife of nine years, Ann, with whom he had two children, and spent a short time living in Australia.

He went bankrupt owing £170,000, but during the 1980s he bounced back, scoring a 1984 hit with his single Dance Me Up.

Back on the road

The singer turned to Buddhism, became a vegetarian and took his show back on the road.

But in 1986 he was admitted to hospital after taking an accidental overdose of sleeping pills.

His third drink-driving conviction brought a 10-year ban and he narrowly escaped jail.

Gary Glitter (singing centre) and the Glitter Band
In his 1970s hey day Glitter was a world-beating artist

In the early 1990s he found new favour among students who ironically embraced his high-camp image.

His face appeared in advertising posters for Heinz soup and British Rail.

When Oasis paid tribute to him on their second album, stealing lines from Hello, Hello, I'm Back Again, he bought a yacht with the royalties.

But the Glitter story hit the rocks when he was arrested in a computer store after dozens of images of child pornography were found on his computer's hard disk.

In November 1999 he was sentenced to four months in a British prison.

On being freed in January 2000 after two months, he spoke of his "deep regret" during a hastily-arranged photocall in central London.

Arriving in a red Mercedes with blacked out windows, he removed dark glasses to pose briefly for photographers before making a short statement.

He then left immediately without answering questions - leading to accusations that he had stage-managed the event.

His last words to journalists were: "I have served my time. I want to put it all behind me and live my life."

He travelled to Cuba with his Cuban girlfriend before moving on to Cambodia.

In the UK, the former chart-topping hero to millions is now a registered sex offender.

Glitter in 'four month detention'
24 Nov 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Glitter quits Cambodia
31 May 02 |  Asia-Pacific
Glitter cleared of sex charges
12 Nov 99 |  UK News
Glitter jailed over child porn
12 Nov 99 |  UK News
Glitter smuggled out of prison
11 Jan 00 |  UK News

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