Glamour Boys

Album: Vivid (1988)
Charted: 83 31

Songfacts®:

  • Written by Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid, this song takes on the privileged rich kids that can often be seen at New York City hotspots, dropping names and wearing very expensive clothes. Reid witnessed much of this entitlement culture when he played throughout the city before forming the band in 1984.
  • The English-style spelling of "Glamour" is consistent with the group's spelling of "Colour" in their moniker. Vernon Reid named the group after the introduction NBC used to announce their color programming: "The following program is brought to you in living color" (Reid sometimes attributed this to the Wonderful World of Disney open). Why the alternate spelling? "I thought the word colour was more interesting to look at when spelled with a U," he said.
  • After seeing Living Colour perform at the New York club CBGB's in 1986, Mick Jagger produced this song for the band along with "Which Way to America?" These two songs were used as demos for the band and helped Jagger convince Epic Records to sign the group. Jagger continued to support their efforts, and after Vivid broke out, he had the group open shows on the Rolling Stones 1989 Steel Wheels tour.
  • In the UK, this was the second single released from the album, following "Middle Man." In America, it was the third single, following "Cult of Personality" and "Open Letter (To A Landlord)." "Glamour Boys" was on the charts in September and October 1989 while the band was opening for The Rolling Stones.
  • The music video was directed by Graham Elliott and John England, both of whom graduated from the Royal College of Art in London. They designed the album art for Vivid after Vernon Reid saw a postcard they did and asked for them. When Elliott and England started work on the art, the album didn't yet have a name and band didn't have a logo, so they sketched a placeholder logo and inserted a temporary positioner where the album title would go with the name of the design house they were working under: Vivid.

    When the final version of the album was printed, not only was the temporary logo used, but the album was titled "Vivid," with the same letterhead from the design house used as the wordmark - the placeholders were used as the final copy!

    Elliott and England had never directed a video before but were keen to do so and got the gig doing "Glamour Boys." They came up with a concept based on the vapid nature or New York nightlife, with guys putting on fake heads (like Ken dolls) to hit the clubs. Luckily, they had two days to shoot and were working with an experienced crew; the first day was a mess, but on the second day they asked the crew for help and got it.

    The video did very well on MTV and the network was so impressed that they hired the team to make a series of promotional shorts.

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