Marc Bolan remains as iconic today as when his life was cut so tragically short on 16 September 1977, just two weeks before his thirtieth birthday. Revered by all who discover him Bolan is the quintessential embodiment of the 1970s music scene, whose influence is felt as strongly today as when he first swept onto the British music scene in 1970. Now as the thirtieth anniversary of his death approaches, we have the CD release of MARC BOLAN:T.REX GREATEST HITS. Featuring 40 fantastic T.Rex and Bolan tracks, all brought together for the first time in a collection that mixes hits, rarities and classics, the album is testament to the brilliance of Bolan. September will also see the broadcast of two Marc Bolan television documentaries.
Added to this, Universal Music is turning back the clock and re-releasing something extra special for the collectors amongst us – three classic T.Rex singles, complete with picture bags, original b-sides and label designs, as limited edition, numbered 7” vinyls. Each single will also be available to download. Ride A White Swan with b-sides Is It Love and Summertime Blues will be released on 27 August 2007. The first single released by Marc Bolan after the shortening of the group’s name from Tyrannosaurus Rex to T.Rex charted for 20 weeks, peaking at number 2 in January 1971. Hot Love with b-sides King of the Mountain Cometh and Woodland Rock will be released on 3 September 2007. Hot Love was Number One for six weeks through March and April 1971. Get It On with b-side There Was A Time and Raw Ramp was released in July 1971 and spent a month at number 1 – Get It On also went Top 10 in the USA and throughout much of the world.
Marc Bolan holds a unique position in the history of rock ‘n’ roll – London-born, self-educated and embracing many different styles. Recognised as one of the most iconic performers of the twentieth century, Bolan’s influence is as strong today as ever it was. His timeless hits are cornerstones in popular music: Ride A White Swan, Hot Love, Telegram Sam, Children of the Revolution,Ttwentieth Century Boy, and I Love To Boogie to name a few! In addition to being cited as a major influence by the likes of Johnny Marr and Mika, Bolan’s music has recently been covered by The Fratellis and Goldfrapp; featured in three major movies – Moulin Rouge, Jarhead and Billy Elliot and the smash hit television series Life on Mars as well as being featured in numerous high profile advertising campaigns.
His commercial success with T.Rex was huge: ten Top 10 hits in three years, three number one UK LPs in 12 months, a best-selling poetry book, the box office smash hit film Born To Boogie (the film of the T.Rex phenomenon directed by Ringo Starr in 1972, which when released on DVD in 2005 and topped the UK music DVD charts), his own TV series… Perhaps less known is the breadth of his artistry and how he chopped and changed styles throughout his career, creating a style uniquely his own.
By the mid-70s Bolan was in full disco mode, delivering Light of Love and Dreamy Lady with full glitter ball credentials. London Boys chronicles Bolan’s early years in the capital and celebrates his return to his roots in 1976. The final T.Rex single, Celebrate Summer, was heavily featured on Marc Bolan’s classic 1977 Granada TV series, and is included on Disc One alongside the autobiographical 1974 epic (Whatever Happened to the) Teenage Dream, in which Bolan takes a long, rhapsodic look at his own life and times, shortly before departing for tax exile.
Disc two includes Marc Bolan’s debut single from 1965, The Wizard, alongside classic, rare Tyrannosaurus Rex 45s and two abandoned A-sides which remained unreleased during Bolan’s lifetime: Sailors of the Highway and Christmas Bop, (original copies of The Wizard now change hands for over £350. Sailors of the Highway was recorded for a BBC Radio 1 session and was pencilled in as an A-side for release in 1971, but was shelved. Christmas Bop was to be the T.Rex seasonal single for the end of 1975 but was cancelled at the eleventh hour.) This bonus disc also explores Bolan’s lesser-known journeys into the Freak-out scene with John’s Children, via their rare 1967 single Desdemona, banned by the BBC for Bolan’s lyric ‘Lift Up Your Skirt and Fly”. Pivotal album tracks rub shoulders with lost B-sides that reveal Marc Bolan’s lesser-known recordings and quieter acoustic side: Cosmic Dancer, a haunting acoustic number from the number 1 LP Electric Warrior, features a Tony Visconti-penned string section behind Bolan’s tender vocal about his own reincarnation; Till Dawn, Bolan’s beautiful love song for Gloria, sees T.Rex in full soul music style, a mad mash-up of screaming backing vocals, overdubbed strings, guitar heroics and a cognac-soaked lead vocal.
DISC ONE: 20th Century Boy, Get It On, Metal Guru, Ride A White Swan, Hot Love, Jeepster, Telegram Sam, I Love To Boogie, Children of the Revolution, Solid Gold Easy Action, New York City, The Groover, Truck On (Tyke), Debora, One Inch Rock, Light Of Love, Dreamy Lady, London Boys, Celebrate Summer, Teenage Dream
DISC TWO: The Wizard, Desdemona, Pewtor Suitor, King of the Rumbling Spires, By The Light of the Magical Moon, Is It Love?, King of the Mountain Cometh, Cosmic Dancer, There Was Time/Raw Ramp, Life’s A Gas, Sailors of The Highway, Thunderwing, Born To Boogie, Till Dawn, Zip Gun Boogie, Christmas Bop, Laser Love, Life’s An Elevator, Soul of my Suit, Dandy in the Underworld.