should have always known that he would forge a career in music. His parents tell
him that even as an infant in Irvington, New Jersey, before he could talk (when
he was Learning To Crawl), that he had a very emotional reaction to
music. Born Glenn Burtnick, April 8, 1955, the youngest of three brothers, he
was "forced" at an early age by his brothers into singing harmonies
with them. Glen says his brothers would terrorize him if he didn't sing his part
correctly. When Glen was in the second grade, his family decided to move to the
New Brunswick area of New Jersey, and by the time he was twelve, Glen already
had ideas about his future. He was undecided as to whether to pursue art, music,
or film as a career, but he knew that he needed to be 'creating.' He was leaning
towards film at the time, but sometime in junior high, he realized that he had
been writing songs in his head, and music became topmost in his heart. In late
1967 or early 1968, he attended a "Be-In" in Johnson's Park, where he
played his guitar and sang his one song to anyone who would listen. This was his
first gig ever. He later played at the New Jersey Teen Arts Festival at the N.J.
State Museum Auditorium. At 15, "I was certain I was the next Bob
Dylan," says Glen. After high school, Glen wrote and performed a rock opera
called "The Walls Of Walden" with his band, Albatross.
He then answered a classified ad in the Village
Voice seeking Beatle sound-alikes and look-alikes for the show Beatlemania. He
became a part of the west coast cast of the show, playing Paul McCartney. During
his tenure in Beatlemania, he forged a lasting friendship with Marshall
Crenshaw, who played John Lennon. Glen and Marshall recorded a single, "I
HATE DISCO MUSIC," as The Sides. This friendship has endured
through the years, with the two still working together whenever time allows.
Glen sometimes appears with Marshall during his live shows, and Marshall
regularly appears in Glen's Christmas Extravaganza.
While still appearing in Beatlemania, Glen
answered another ad in the Village Voice and was hired by Jan Hammer to be the
singer for his band, Hammer. They recorded an album, and toured in support of
it. Through his involvement with Jan Hammer, Glen also formed a friendship with
Neal Schon, later of Santana and Journey. The song, "NO MORE LIES,"
was a collaboration written by Burtnick, Schon, and Hammer.
One of the other Beatlemania cast members
then was given a record deal by Elektra Records for his band, Helmet Boy, and
asked Glen to join the band. He did so, and the album, Helmet Boy, was released.
After the album was basically ignored by the music industry, Glen returned to
New Brunswick and married his high school sweetheart, RoseMary Giglio. Glen then
began playing with local bands in the Asbury Park music scene. One of the bands,
Cats On A Smooth Surface, was the house band for the famed Stone Pony
club. Almost every Sunday night, Bruce Springsteen would come to the Pony and
perform with the band. This band had a lot of talent even without the
appearances of The Boss. The band consisted of Glen, Fran Smith (The Hooters),
Bobby Bandiera (The Asbury Jukes), and Ray Anderson (Blue Van Gogh), so it is
interesting to speculate what this lineup could've accomplished with a bit more
During this time, Glen also became acquainted
with another New Jersey musician named Jon Bongiovi (later to become Jon Bon
Jovi). When Jon decided to form a band, he asked Glen to join. Glen declined,
but the two have remained good friends throughout the years, and have appeared
together from time to time. It was about this time that he decided to drop his
first letter, shortening Glenn to Glen.
In 1984, a demo that Glen had recorded, "HERE
COMES SALLY" came to the attention of an executive at A&M Records,
and he was offered a recording contract with that record company. He recorded
two albums for A&M, 1986's "Talking In Code" and 1987's "Heroes
and Zeros," which featured the charted single "FOLLOW
YOU." About this time, the philosophy at A&M began to change, and
Glen found himself unable to submit any music that the A&R people wanted him
After a couple of frustrating
years dealing with A&M Records to no avail, Glen was surprised to get a
message from Dennis DeYoung one day on his answering machine, asking him if he
would like to audition for the band Styx. Since Tommy Shaw was out touring with
Damn Yankees, they needed a second guitarist and an additional songwriter. It
seemed that this role was tailor-made for Glen, and he flew to Chicago to
audition. Once there, he met with Dennis, James Young, and the Panozzo brothers,
and the five played and sang some of the Styx standards. The auditions were then
closed, as far as the band was concerned.
Styx fans were excited to hear that
'their' band was regrouping, but were perplexed as to who the fifth member would
be. It was known that Tommy Shaw was not available, so there had to be a new
member, and for a long while, no one knew his identity. On an interesting side
note, after the identity of the mysterious "Number Five" had been
learned, the ladies who published the Styx newsletter at that time, 976-STYX,
made a couple of trips to New Jersey to see Glen perform. On the second trip
that they made, when they arrived at the Stone Pony, the marquee simply read
"Glen." No additional information was neccessary to his New Jersey
Styx, with Glen, did go on to record
"Edge Of The Century", which was released in 1990, and a tour
followed in 1991. There were five Burtnik-penned tunes on the album, "LOVE
IS THE RITUAL," "WORLD TONITE," "LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT,"
"ALL IN A DAY'S WORK," and the title track, "EDGE OF THE
CENTURY." The album was certified Gold, but Styx realized that A&M
just wasn't interested in promoting them any longer, and the band went on hiatus
for a period of time.
While working on the recording of "Edge
Of The Century," a slightly homesick Glen found himself writing songs
about New Brunswick. After the completion of the 1991 tour, he and sixty of his
closest friends recorded the album "Slaves Of New Brunswick," a
collection of songs about the New Jersey city. Although this album was only
marketed in the New York/New Jersey area, the general buzz about it was
extremely favorable, and copies have managed to make their way all across the
Glen continued with his
songwriting, and in 1992, a song that he and Patty Smyth had co-written, "SOMETIMES
LOVE JUST AIN'T ENOUGH," recorded by Patty and Don Henley, reached
number one on the pop charts. Glen made several promotional appearances with
Patty, which prompted some Styx fans to question whether or not there was still
a Styx. Glen answered these questions by direct responses to the 976-STYX
During this time, Glen continued to
write for other artists, but he chiefly confined his own performing to
appearances with the Slaves Of New Brunswick, or with good friends like Marshall
Crenshaw or John Waite. In 1994, tracks were recorded for the "Live
Christmas Extravaganza" CD at Glen's annual Christmas show, which
benefits the New York and New Jersey food banks. This Christmas tradition has a
cast of characters which changes from year to year, but has included such
luminaries as Patty Smyth, Phoebe Snow, Marshall Crenshaw, Patti Smith, as well
as many of Glen's fellow "Slaves." This show has its roots in the late
80s J.A.M. (Jersey Artists for Mankind) recordings. It has grown from one show
on one night to four shows over two nights, and all shows have been sold out for
the past five years running.
Finally, in 1996, Glen released
another album of solo work, "Palookaville," on Deko Records. A
brilliant collection of tunes, it is the artist's favorite of his works thus
far. The cover features the Burtnik's youngest daughter, Sally, who was born
during the tour for "Edge Of The Century." Although this is
another work that has not been marketed nationwide, it has garnered critical
acclaim from all across the globe, as well as right here in the United States.
The same year, MTM Records, a German record company, convinced Glen to release
some of his older work (including those that had been rejected by A&M) on
the album "Retrospectacle." Another gem, this work includes his
original version of "LOVE IS THE RITUAL," and all Styx fans can
certainly listen to this song and see that VERY little was changed from the Styx
album version. "Retrospecacle" also includes some very Beatle-esque
work, and some songs that were written for other artists. All in all, another
In 1998, Glen had his second
chart-topper when Randy Travis took his song "SPIRIT OF A BOY, WISDOM OF
A MAN" to number one on the Country Singles chart. It was actually the
third release of the song, having been previously recorded by Mark Collie, and
by Glen himself on his "Palookaville" album.
In 1999, with Glen at work on
a new solo album, he received yet another cryptic phone call from a Styx member,
James Young this time. Setting aside his personal work in order to do a favor
for an old friend, Glen accepted the offer to tour with Styx. Together, along
with James Young, Tommy Shaw, Todd Sucherman, and Lawrence Gowan, have now
completed hundreds of dates in their never-ending quest to bring live Styx music
to every corner of the globe. They have released a live double CD (along with
REO Speedwagon) called "Arch Allies," and in 2003 released
the studio album "Cyclorama", which featured Glen on
lead vocals, backing vocals, bass, and 12-string acoustic guitar.
2004 saw the release of Glen's newest solo album, "Welcome To Hollywood."
In 2007, Glen produced a live concert performance of "Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band", carefully replicating a note for note recreation of The Beatles' album in celebration of its 40th anniversary release, complete with orchestra, indian instrumentalists, bells and whistles.
In 2008, Glen took on The Beatles' 'white album' in recognition of the 40th anniversary, along with a theatrical video presentation and 40 member band/orchestra.
Glen's annual Xmas Xtravaganza charity event not only saw it's 18th year in 2008, but was joined by his 1st annual Halloween Xtravaganza charity concert.
Glen has appeared annually at The Fest For Beatles Fans conventions in NY, Chicago and Las Vegas, as well as occasional appearances with The Fab Faux and a number of other Beatles acts.’