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Marc Bolan/Early T-Rex Biography

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Marc Bolan was, along with David Bowie and Elton John, the most gifted figure of the glam rock era. Yes, some of his lyrics were a bit strange, and his wailing vocal style even stranger, but Bolan had charisma and talent in spades.

Real name Mark Feld, Bolan was born on July 30th, 1947, in London. The young Marc Bolan went through the trends of the '60s music - from mod to psychedelia, and his first single was as early as 1966. Entitled 'The Wizard' it gave a clue as to Marc's future direction. He joined John's Children, and 'Desdemona' was a notable early example of Bolan's unusual vocal style (albeit not on lead vocal).

Later in the 1960s, Bolan formed Tyrannosaurus Rex with Steve Took, and the acoustic 'Debora' was a sure sign of Bolan's songwriting talents. Though he sometimes got lost in pretentiousness, with the longest album title of any great artist ever, viz. the 1968 album, 'My People Were Fair And Had Sky In Their Hair... But Now They're Content To Wear Stars On Their Brows'. Bolan was also struggling financially for a time, and had to be content with his £12 acoustic guitar, but 'My People Were Fair...' reached as high as 15 in the UK albums chart in 1968. While 'Debora' and 'One Inch Rock' made the top 40 UK singles chart, so Bolan was now semi-famous by the end of the year.

Tyrannosaurus Rex were underground darlings, and British DJ cum music icon John Peel became a big fan of the group, whose basic elements were Marc Bolan on guitar and vocals, and Steve Took on bongos. Peel, in fact, acted as the group's driver sometimes and read out some of Marc's stories on albums.

Bolan's considerable ego began to surface, when Took wanted some of his own songs included on Tyrannosaurus Rex albums. Took was also 'into' the hardcore alternative/underground/anarchistic scene of the late '60s, whereas Bolan was more for the quiet life. When Steve Took gave two of Marc's songs for Twink's 'Think Pink' album, a parting of the ways was inevitable. A tour of America proved to be a last, sad, final fling for the duo, moreso as they were billed alongside hard rock acts.

Mickey Finn replaced Took on bongos (it's too be remembered that bongos were considered quite a 'cool' instrument with the hippie crowd of this era), and was more malleable than Took. The final Tyrannosaurus Rex album, 'A Beard Of Stars', just failed to make the UK top 20 albums chart, unlike previous albums 'Unicorn' and 'My People Were Fair...'. The 1969 single, 'King Of The Rumbling Spires', which included Took, had been a minor hit for Tyrannosaurus Rex, and had seen Bolan use an electrified rock sound. The time seemed right for a change of tack. Consequently, Bolan changed from acoustic to electric guitar - something he had always wanted to do anyway, but had been hampered by lack of money for both instruments and amps. Bolan's book of poetry, 'The Warlock Of Love', made him a best-selling poet around this time, but music would soon really take all his attention. Legendary American producer Tony Visconti became the band's producer, and, allegedly, shortened the group's name to T-Rex. The song and album titles became shorter, so Bolan was, with Visconti's help, reinventing himself. 1970 saw hippie poet folkie Marc Bolan become a fully fledged glam rock superstar.

T-Rex released 'Ride A White Swan', an uplifting, wistful pop song, which included Bolan's trademark whimsical lyrics (that, at least, was a facet of Marc's songs which remained in place). It reached number two late in 1970, and from then on T-Rex and Bolan had an astonishing run of five successive UK number one singles - 'Hot Love', 'Get It On', 'Jeepster', 'Telegram Sam', and 'Metal Guru' (all produced by Visconti). Bolan also became a teen icon, adorning young girls magazines, and Britain hadn't seen the like since Beatlemania.

- Paul Rance/booksmusicfilmstv.com.

T-REX CDs available from Amazon.co.uk

T-Rex - The Slider

The Slider
T-Rex

Tyrannosaurus Rex - My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair

My People Were Fair and Had Sky in T...
Tyrannosaurus Rex
The Essential Collection
T.Rex & Marc Bolan

T-Rex Discography

Tyrannosaurus Rex Singles (and complete list of B-sides and UK chart positions)
1968 Debora/Child Star #34
1968 One Inch Rock/Salamanda Palaganda #28
1969 Pewter Suitor/Warlord of the Royal Crocodiles
1969 King of the Rumbling Spires/Do You Remember? #44
1970 By the Light of a Magical Moon/Find a Little Wood

T-Rex Singles (and complete list of B-sides and UK chart positions)
1970 Ride a White Swan/Is It Love/Summertime Blues #2
1971 Hot Love/Woodland Rock/King of the Mountain Cometh #1
1971 Get It On/There Was a Time/Raw Ramp #1
1971 Jeepster/Life's a Gas #1
1972 Telegram Sam/Cadilac/Baby Strange #1
1972 Metal Guru/Thunderwing/Lady #1
1972 Children of the Revolution/Jitterbug Love/Sunken Rags #2
1972 Solid Gold Easy Action/Born to Boogie #2
1972 T-Rex Christmas Record (flexidisc free to Fan Club members)
1973 20th Century Boy/Free Angel #3
1973 The Groover/Midnight #4
1973 Truck On (Tyke)/Sitting Here #12
1974 Teenage Dream/Satisfaction Pony #13
1974 Light of Love/Explosive Mouth #22
1974 Zip Gun Boogie/Space Boss #41
1975 New York City/Chrome Sitar #15
1975 Dreamy Lady/Do You Wanna Dance/Dock of the Bay #30
1976 London Boys/Solid Baby #40
1976 I Love to Boogie/Baby Boomerang #13
1976 Laser Love/Life's an Elevator #41
1977 The Soul of My Suit/All Alone #42
1977 Dandy in the Underworld/Groove a Little/Tame My Tiger
1977 Celebrate Summer/Ride My Wheels

Tyrannosaurus Rex Albums (and complete list of UK chart positions)
1968 – My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair... But Now They're Content to Wear Stars on Their Brows #15
1968 – Prophets, Seers & Sages – The Angels of the Ages
1969 – Unicorn #12
1970 – A Beard of Stars #21

T-Rex Albums (and complete list of UK chart positions)
1970 – T. Rex #13
1971 – The Best Of T. Rex #21 – compilation of Tyrannosaurus Rex material only
1971 – Electric Warrior #1
1972 – Bolan Boogie #1 – compilation
1972 – The Slider #4
1973 – Tanx #4
1973 – Great Hits #32
1974 – Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow #12
1974 – Light of Love – released in North America only
1975 – Bolan's Zip Gun
1976 – Futuristic Dragon #50
1977 – Dandy in the Underworld #26

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