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Thread: Marc Bolan and T.Rex

  1. #1
    Fifth Beatle gryphon's Avatar
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    Oct 2009
    South Netherlands

    Default Marc Bolan and T.Rex

    Born Mark Feld;30 September 1947 in Hackney North London, Marc always prophesied that he was going to be famous one day and behaved appropriately. He was given his first guitar when he was but nine.............He is reputed to have played guitar in a band called Susie and the Hoops which contained at the time one Helen Shapiro who would go on to be a teenage star in the early sixties.
    Keen to press ahead with stardom, Marc briefly joined a model agency and modelled menswear .....He appeared in fashion magazines as a early example of a “Mod” .

    Soon after this he changed his name to Toby Tyler and started to dabble in recording( 1964/5):

    A copy of his idle Bob Dylan and totally unsuccessful but one of his earliest recordings ...............and there is the rasping Dylan like voice that he would work on and perfect in the seventies.

    She was Born To Be May Unicorn

    Another change of name and Marc tries again to Mark Bowland and finally to Marc Bolan. 1967 sees Marc team up with Simon Napier Bell and he releases his first single under his new name

    The Wizard

    A complete change of style and the beginning of a long lasting romance with Tolkien like imagery and poetry..............still no success.
    Napier Bell puts Bolan’s talents into a group he is associated with John’s Children.
    Mark become lead guitarist, backing vocalist and writer for the band.
    The band quickly become notorious due to the lyrics of their next release: Desdamona
    ( In 1967 ............Life up your skirts and fly ...........was all too much for the BBC who band it!)

    Desdamona John’s Children

    John’s Children go on to provide more controversy with their legendary Orgasm album.........( Worth checking out if you can find a copy !).
    With the collapse of John’s Children Marc teamed up with Steve Perigrine Took to for a duo with an amazingly long name: Tyrannosaurus Rex.................A psychedelic folk rock band which was to be his vehicle for several years to come.In the early days of Tyrannosaurus Rex, the approach was one of acoustic guitar and light percussion
    Tyrannosaurus Rex then came to the attention of one John Peel , who championed their cause and got them much air play.

    However as thing progressed Marc when electric and showed his allegiance to two guitar heroes
    Eddie Cochran and Jimmy Hendrix:

    Elemental Child

    Several attempts at the charts followed but they were only moderately successful:
    Also a change in line up came, Steve Perigrine Took wanted to e an equal within the band , Marc was not having any of this and following Steve’s drug problems, Marc quickly replaced him with Micky Finn.
    In this transition from acoustic guitar to electric Marc began to move closer to the sound that would give him great success.....IN addition to shorting the group’s name and record label , Marc took the electric guitar to heart

    Starting point : Album T.Rex by T.Rex.

    Complemented by Tony Visconti’s strong production and egged on by friends such as Bowie , Marc began to find his commercial feet.

    Ride A White Swan

    This propelled Marc to the Top Of the UK charts in 1970.

    To follow up Marc penned Hot Love! ( With fade out longer than hey Jude!!!!!)

    Hot Love

    Hot love was massive summer hit in the UK topping the charts for six weeks and cementing Marc’s new image as he Bopping elf and leader of the Glam Rock Scene.........
    On to the golden era:

    Get It On ( Retitled Bang a Gong for he US market)
    ( Turn this up and listen my opinion on of he greatest tracks from the seventies)

    Jeepster ( Sadly it is hard to find the UK single on youtube so a live version is substituted here!)

    Yet another great track! Beloved track of UK’ punk eras bands , often covered and sighted as a major influences!

    Starting Point ............Album Electric Warrior

    Marc formed his own record company at this point and via EMI they handled the rest of his waxings.
    Also at this point , Marc and T,Rex , were befriended by Ringo Starr............who was busy perusing a career in films..................
    Concerts were also a big area of success for T.Rex and the media was beginning to coin anew phrase.
    T.Rextacy......................indication were made that T,Rex were outselling The Beatles at the best times as well. As the next, clip shows T.Rex were scoring well in Europe too especially in Germany

    Telegram Sam

    Marc’s lyrics were always quite obscure but note in “Telegram Sam” references to other stars

    Bobby...................Bob Dylan
    Mainman .............David Bowie
    Sam ......................Himself

    Marc remained a singles man and after this time had many excellent chart hits:

    Metal Guru
    Children Of The Revolution
    Solid Gold Easy Action
    The Groover
    Teenage Dream

    About this time Ringo was working with Apple films and came up with the idea of exploting Marc’s fame and popularity with a film.......................Ringo and Marc together with Elton John would join forces to make the film..................

    Film : Born To Boogie

    This is an odd period piece but well worth watching for the live footage and the seans with Marc , Ringo and Elton.

    Time went on ad Marc began anew relationship with one Gloria Jones .....................Gloria was noted for her influence in the growing soul boom of the late seventies and it was in this direction that Marc’s music started to move....................With this came a decline in his record sales and along with an extravagant lifestyle a dependence on Cocaine.
    Marc still had chart success but the level was lower and the style differed:

    UK Chart position

    Light Of Love/Explosive Mouth. (22).
    . Zip Gun Boogie/Space Boogie. (41).
    New York City/Chrome Sitar. (15).
    . Dreamy Lady/Do You Wanna Dance/Dock Of The Bay. (30).
    London Boys/Solid Baby. (40).
    . I Love To Boogie/Baby Boomerang. (13).
    . Laser Love/Life's An Elevator. (41).
    The Soul Of My Suit/All Alone. (42).
    .Dandy In The Underworld/Groove A Little/Tame My Tiger.
    Celebrate Summer/Ride My Wheels.

    Slowly Marc began to regain the lost ground , he cleaned his act up and started working for ITV on a series called Marc………………The punk era had taken hold and Marc was clearly influencing them heavily when disaster struck

    Bolan died on 16 September 1977, two weeks before his 30th birthday. He was a passenger in a purple Mini 1275GT (registration FOX 661L) driven by Gloria Jones as they headed home from Morton’s drinking club and restaurant in Berkeley Square. Jones lost control of the car and it struck a sycamore tree after failing to negotiate a small humpback bridge near Gipsy Lane on Queens Ride, Barnes, southwest London. Bolan died instantly, while Jones suffered a broken arm and broken jaw and spent time in hospital; she did not learn of Bolan's death until the day of his funeral.

    What is not well understood outside the UK is Marc’s Legacy ( Copied from the Wiki )
    In 1979, Siouxsie and the Banshees released a cover of "20th Century Boy" as the b-side to the single "The Staircase (Mystery)".
    In December 1980, "Telegram Sam" was the fourth single released by British gothic rock band Bauhaus. The A side is a cover of T. Rex's song of the same name. It was released in 7-and 12-inch format, the latter featuring "Rosegarden Funeral of Sores" as an extra track. The Bongos were the first American group to cover a T. Rex tune, "Mambo Sun" and enter the Billboard charts. Since then, Bongos frontman Richard Barone has recorded several other Bolan compositions, is working with producer Tony Visconti for his forthcoming solo album and has himself produced tracks for Bolan's son Rolan Bolan.
    In 1981, Department S released a cover of "Solid Gold Easy Action" as the b-side to the single "Is Vic There?".
    In 1984, The Replacements released a cover of "20th Century Boy" as a B-side to the single "I Will Dare"; it is also included on the reissue version of their album Let It Be.[5] In 1993, Adam Ant (born, Stuart Leslie Goddard) covered the track live on the Limed Edition live disc of his Antmusic: The Very Best of Adam Ant collection.
    In 1985, Duran Duran splinter band Power Station, with Robert Palmer as vocalist, took a version of "Get It On" into the UK Top 40, the first cover of a Bolan song to enter the charts since his death. They also performed the tune (with Michael Des Barres replacing Palmer) at the U.S. Live Aid concert.
    In 1986, the Violent Femmes performed "Children of the Revolution" on their third album The Blind Leading the Naked, for which they also recorded a music video.
    In 1990, Baby Ford did a cover of "Children of the Revolution" that appeared on the album Oooh, The World of Baby Ford.
    In 1994, Billy Idol wore a t-shirt reproducing The Slider album cover in his popular video supporting the song "Speed". That was a clear homage to Marc Bolan, who helped Generation X to rise at the very beginning of their career.
    In 2006 Def Leppard released their album Yeah which contains covers of their favourite bands while growing up, the first song on this album is "20th Century Boy". Joe Elliott wanted to sing "Metal Guru" while Vivian Campbell wanted "Telegram Sam" but end up agreeing to "20th Century Boy". It's not the first time that Def Leppard has sung a T.Rex song; there is a live version of Get It On.
    "Children of the Revolution" was similarly performed by Elton John and Pete Doherty at Live 8, 20 years later. Bono and Gavin Friday cover "Children of the Revolution" on the Moulin Rouge! soundtrack.
    In 2000, Naoki Urasawa created a manga entitled "20th Century Boys" that was inspired by Marc Bolan's song, "20th Century Boy". The book is a multiple award-winner, and has just been released in the United States through VIZ media.
    "20th Century Boy" introduced a new generation of devotees to Bolan's work in 1991 when it was featured on a Levi's jeans TV commercial featuring Brad Pitt, and was re-released, reaching the UK Top 20. The song was performed by the fictional band The Flaming Creatures (performed by Placebo, reprised by Placebo and David Bowie at the 1999 BRIT Awards) in the 1998 film Velvet Goldmine. In every decade since his death, a Bolan greatest hits compilation has placed in the top 20 UK albums and periodic boosts in sales have come via cover versions from artists inspired by Bolan, including Morrissey and Siouxsie and the Banshees. Similarly, "I Love to Boogie" was briefly used on an advert for Robinson's soft drink in 2001, bringing Bolan's music to a new generation. Mitsubishi also featured "20th Century Boy" in a 2002 car commercial, prompting Hip-O Records to release a best-of collection CD titled 20th Century Boy: The Ultimate Collection.
    His music is still widely used in films, recent notable cases being Breakfast on Pluto, Death Proof, Lords of Dogtown, Billy Elliot, Jarhead, Moulin Rouge!, Herbie: Fully Loaded, Breaking-Up, Hot Fuzz, Click & School of Rock. Bolan is still cited by many guitar-centric bands as a huge influence (Joy Division/New Order's Bernard Sumner has said that the first single he owned was "Ride a White Swan".) However, he always maintained he was a poet who put lyrics to music. The tunes were never as important as the words.

    Further Listening

    The Slider
    Zinc Alloy
    Born To Boogie ( Soundtrack)
    The Best Of T.Rex
    Bolan Boogie
    Futuristic Dragon

    Tyrannosaurus Rex

    My People Were Fair........................
    Prophets Sears and Sages.................
    A Beard Of Stars


    Marc Bolan: Born to Boogie by Chris Welch, and Simon Napier-Bell
    Warlock Of Love ...............Marc Bolan ( Bolan’s poems)
    Bolan: The Rise and Fall of a 20th Century Superstar by Mark Paytress, and Chris Charlesworth

    Last edited by gryphon; 19-07-2010 at 17:03.
    Nice to be able to go back to trust and friendship!!!!!!!!!

    It's a mixed up sensation this being alive
    Oh! it wears a man down into the ground
    It's the strangest elation
    I can't describe it
    Oh it leaves a man weary
    It makes a man frown.
    .............................Chris Simpson ( "Mixed Up Sensations" 1975 Martin's Cafe )

  2. #2
    Serial Under Achiever Tiggi's Avatar
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    Jan 2008
    United Kingdom


    Honorary mention for probably my fave T Rex album, Tanx

    Not exactly full of singles, but a very good record...

  3. #3
    Band Manager Thraak's Avatar
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    May 2010
    Stirling, Scotland


    Jeez, eveytime I come across this band I remember how I am still yet to properly listen to them (i.e. hear a full album). I still virtually only know the songs 'Get It On' & '20th Century Boy'! I'll probably do the usual and start with the debut.

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