"That song, released in 1979, became one of the most influential songs in gothic rock music, even though they saw themselves as a "dark glam" band and have always distanced themselves"
Love and Rockets, offshoot of Bauhaus, also continued the glam thing with this T-Rexy-sexy song, which was actually a very large hit in America, would you believe?
D.Ash and P. Murphy belong to this English pop archetype - the darkly pretty boy (although often they're not actually that pretty, it's all eyeliner and hair products).
In pop, it begins with probably with Barrett and Bolan (although almost certainly having precursors in other earlier art forms and cultural milieux), and then carries through with Murphy and other Goths sexgods (Ian Astbury, although he's not willowy enough really - too strapping and virile) ... and then into the Nineties with Placebo... and then the lineage resurfaces in a completely different field of comedy (albeit close-linked to music) with Russell Brand and Noel Fielding.
A memoiristic out-take from an early draft of the T.Rex chapter in Shock and Awe:
The party was going to be legendary. It was being thrown by a friend whose parents ran a boarding school near Ipswich and were away on their summer vacation. The idea of this place of education being so deserted and divested of authority was powerful enough to pull us a considerable distance across England. Excitement mounted on the coach journey and the long walk through fields from the bus stop to the school.
I knew “Get It On,” of course, but it felt like years since I’d heard it. T. Rex had been so massive for three years in the early Seventies that, like the Beatles and The Stones, they’d never faded from pop consciousness altogether. But in the early Eighties, Marc Bolan wasn’t really present as a reference point or resource for current musicians, unlike David Bowie and Bryan Ferry, pervasive influences throughout New Pop and New Romanticism, from their vocal style and hair to their strategies and sensibility. Just about the only glimpse of Bolan-reverence in those days was when Bauhaus, the band fronted by Peter Murphy, covered “Telegram Sam”. But that was just a prequel to their more famous cover of “Ziggy Stardust”, which got them on Top of the Pops. In 1983, singles by T. Rex and other glam groups were deejay favorites at The Batcave, the hub of the germinal Goth scene. But really, that was about it until later in the decade, when The Smiths put out some blatantly T.Rexy-sounding singles, while house producer Baby Ford attempted to refurbish “Children of the Revolution” as a rave anthem....
A bit on Bauhaus from Shock and Awe:
A bit on Bauhaus from Rip It Up and Start Again
Their 1979 single “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”--generally identified as the ground zero of Goth proper--appeared in Bowie’s vampire flick The Hunger; Bauhaus performed the song in a nightclub scene, Murphy writhing in a cage. The Bowie-clone tag, based largely on Murphy’s mannered vocals, proved impossible to shake off, and in the end Bauhaus tried to exorcise it through the sardonic gesture of covering “Ziggy Stardust” with exacting fidelity. When they appeared on Top of the Pops to mime “Ziggy” in 1982, Murphy and guitarist Daniel Ash even replicated the
saucy homoerotic interplay between Bowie and Mick Ronson.
Murphy’s striking looks--teeteringly tall, gaunt, with a bruised pout and perfect cheekbones--made him a Goth pin-up, the ultimate erotic enigma. But what came out of those luscious lips was portentous and preposterous, an overblown farrago of sex and death, religion and blasphemy. Raised Catholic, Murphy kicked back against his upbringing with sacrilegious ditties like “Stigmata Martyr”, which featured him reciting “in the name of the father and the son and the holy spirit” in Latin, and was accompanied live by simulated crucifixion postures.
With their shock-rock gestures and guignol grotesquerie, Bauhaus were actually far closer to Alice Cooper than David Bowie: exciting, but difficult to take seriously. They had a superb grasp of rock-as-theatre, using stark white lighting to cast dramatic shadows. “It's important to go to the theatre and escape from the street, use the space, find another element,” Murphy told Melody Maker.
Like Cooper, they made flashy, thrilling singles--the dark, twisted artfunk of “A Kick In the Eye”, the swirling vaporous mystery of “Spirit”. Ash’s guitar bore comparison with Gang of Four or Joy Division at their most harsh and hacking, especially on Bauhaus’s early postpunk-aligned efforts like “Terror Couple Kill Colonel” and “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” with its fret-scraping guitarscree and metallic dub effects. But the albums sagged under the weight of ponderous pretensions.