Something was missing when the Nashville Predators of the National Hockey League played their first home game of the 2014-15 season on September 25: Gary Glitter. Previously, whenever the team scored a goal, the Bridgestone Arena would play a clip from Glitter’s “Rock and Roll Part 2” – aka “The Hey Song”, with its rolling beat and song “Hey!” which has become a staple of sport in the United States
But like many teams, the Predators may not have realized until recently that their use of the song was earning royalties for a man convicted of two child sex offenses and charged with several more.
Glitter, 70 (real name: Paul Francois Gadd), was briefly a superstar in his native England during the glam-rock era of the early 1970s, with 10 UK Top 10 hits between 1972 and 1975, including three No. 1 “Rock and Roll Part 2″ was his biggest hit in the United States, peaking at No.7 in 1972. But more recently, he served nearly three years in prison in Vietnam after being convicted in 2006 of sex offenses involving 10-year-old girls. and 11 years old; in 1997 he spent four months in Britain after child pornography was discovered on his computer. He was charged with other child sex offenses, most recently in Britain in June, when he was charged with eight counts of sex offenses against girls aged 12 to 14 related to the investigation into longtime BBC host. Jimmy savilethe history of rampant sexual abuse, mainly against young people.
Nonetheless, “Rock and Roll Part 2” – which Glitter co-wrote with the producer Mike Leander – still generates around $ 250,000 in annual performance royalties, a source told Billboard. Glitter’s low profile in the US, as well as the song’s largely instrumental nature – it’s little more than a beat, a riff, and a “Hey!” – lead few Americans to relate it to anything or anyone except sporting events and athletes.
Glitter’s version of the song was banned by the National Football League after his conviction in 2006, but one cover was widely broadcast and even adopted as the New England Patriots’ touchdown anthem. The league asked teams to avoid the song in 2012, after an uproar in the UK press when the Patriots reached the Super Bowl and Glitter faced a substantial salary. (Representatives of the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball say that individual Billboard teams are empowered to make decisions about all aspects of entertainment in the arena.)
Still, fan complaints were a factor in the Predators’ decision to stop playing the song, according to Predators svp of communications. Gerry Aide, who says the team regularly assesses the impact of music, scoreboard, food, and merchandise on the fan experience. âWe looked for the next song, the next thing that would give us a new look,â he says. Over the summer, the Predators traded Glitter for The black keys‘”Gold on the ceiling.”
On that note, “Rock and Roll Part 2” is fading from the arenas anyway. Fred traub, founder of Pro Sports Marketing, says Glitter’s play has declined significantly since the NFL ban, but added that more recent songs like The White Stripes‘Seven Nation Army’ sidelines many decades-old favorites. âThe music is advancing and people are trying to catch the most of the times,â he says.
Additional reporting by Ed Christman.
This article first appeared in the October 11 issue of Billboard.