Something was missing when the National Hockey League’s Nashville Predators played their first home game of the 2014-2015 season on Sept. 25: Gary Glitter. Previously, each time the team scored a goal, the Bridgestone Arena played a snippet of Glitter’s “Rock and Roll Part 2” — aka the ubiquitous “Hey Song” with the rolling beat and chant-along “Hey!” chorus. But the Predators may not have realized until recently that the song earns royalties for a man convicted of two child-sex offenses and accused of several more.
Glitter, 70 (real name Paul Gadd), was a superstar in his native England during the glam-rock era of the early 1970s, with 10 top 10 singles, including three No. 1s. “Rock and Roll Part 2,” his biggest U.S. hit, peaked at No. 7 in 1972. But in 2006, he was convicted of sex offenses with girls aged 10 and 11 in Vietnam and served nearly three years in prison. In 1997, he served four months in Britain after child pornography was discovered on his computer. He has been accused of other child-sex offenses, most recently in Britain in June, when he was charged with sexual offenses against girls between the ages of 12 and 14.
Nevertheless, the song — which Glitter co-wrote with producer Mike Leander — generates about $250,000 in annual performance royalties globally, a source tells Billboard.
Glitter’s version was banned by the National Football League after his conviction in 2006, but a cover was widely aired and even adopted as the New England Patriots’ touchdown song. The NFL asked teams to avoid it in 2012, when the Patriots reached the Super Bowl and Glitter faced a big payday.
Still, fan complaints were one factor in the Predators’ decision, according to senior vp Gerry Helper. During the summer, the team swapped Glitter for The Black Keys‘ “Gold on the Ceiling.”
Fred Traube, founder of Pro Sports Marketing, says Glitter’s play has dropped noticeably since the NFL ban, but says that newer songs like The White Stripes‘ “Seven Nation Army” are pushing aside many decades-old classics: “Music moves on and people try to capture the zeitgeist.”
Additional reporting by Ed Christman.