Listen to this track by British glam-rock vehicle Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel. It’s Harley’s biggest hit “Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)”, a UK chart smash in February 1975, and equally well received in Europe and in Australia. It appears on the LP The Best Years of Our Lives, their best selling record.
For many, this song is a sonic time machine, taking the listener straight back to the last days of the British glam-rock heyday, and a hair’s breadth from the dawn of punk rock. Thanks to being so tied into the consciousness of a generation of listeners, it would be re-released a number of times over the years, enjoying resurgence after resurgence, in part thanks to its inclusion in movie soundtracks (The Full Monty, Velvet Goldmine, and others) and in British TV commercials, too.
Ironically, Harley’s most popular song came out of circumstances that were less about his enduring success as a songwriter, and more about his career coming to an end as he knew it.