Gillan – The Glory Years DVD (Review)

Gillan’s The Glory Years is, I believe, the only officially released DVD from the early 80s incarnation of the band. The main attraction here is the live set from Oxford Polytechnic in 1981. This was originally filmed for a UK TV show called Rock Goes to College and it’s a blistering set. This band was a powerful live unit and, for me, this is Ian Gillan’s peak as a performer and vocalist.

The band comes across as an exceptionally talented bunch of bizarre misfits. The frontline of Bernie Tormé with his Sci-Fi Pirate look, John McCoy with his demented half-hairdo and the urbane Colin Towns are balanced out by Ian, in straightforward, archetypal Rocker mode with his mane, denim and red jeans. This live show is essential stuff for Gillan fans. The bonus footage is mainly mimed performances from Top of the Pops and other similar shows. Ian seems to have a bit of a hoot doing these but I doubt I’d return to them much.

The two volumes of live recordings that formed RPM’s The BBC Tapes (Volume 1: Dead of Night and Volume 2: Unchain Your Brain) are some of my absolute favourite live recordings, and while this doesn’t quite reach those giddy heights it’s great to actually see the band in action. I’ve picked On the Rocks here as it seems to move the most air! It also has some hilariously intense McCoy headbanging and sums up the whole vibe of the concert nicely. Enjoy!

HMO Rating: 3.5 out of 5

13 thoughts on “Gillan – The Glory Years DVD (Review)”

  1. What. The hell. Is this? And why do I not own it?

    I do not own the BBC Tapes. My Gillan collection is quite sparse: They are very expensive imports here. Back in 1998, when I first moved in with T-Rev, he told me a store downtown had a whack of Gillan and Ian Gillan Band discs, used. They wanted $17 a pop. I bought all three that they had, but since then I’ve had to buy new, and they are very pricey this side of the pond.


    1. Check Amazon for this Mike, it was out on Eagle so I thought it might have been available everywhere… It’s only £5 over here.
      I think the editions of BBC Tapes I have are pretty hard to find now… they have been repackaged a few times thought I’m sure but I just love the RPM editions. Great recordings and cool fold out inlay with great liner-notes. There’s been loads of Gillan reissues over here on the Edsel label. They’re great and really cheap.


      1. At this point dude, I need to start saving my pennies for Christmas. However perhaps I shall point Mrs. LeBrain in that direction eh?

        Incidentally I bought myself a neat early christmas gift — Martin Popoff’s book on rock album covers. Can’t wait to review.


      2. Must be. There’s tons of Heap but I haven’t even come close to absorbing it all. Lots of Heap, Sabbath, BOC, etc. Not a lot of Maiden surprisingly, since pretty much every cover up to No Prayer should be in there. And very few Priest. Let’s face it, most of their covers were shite. Ram It Down?


    1. I feel that two items “Mike Did Not Know Existed” is a pretty good effort. But I lost track of the amount of stuff he’s got that I didn’t know about a long time ago! But still, pretty pleased with two… 😉


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