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1973 UNZIPPING THE ABSTRACT



1973 




 Cilla Black & Marc Bolan
 Radio Times listing for Cilla Black TV show with Marc Bolan & T.Rex - January 27th 1973


The year began with great excitement for T.Rex fans, for on January 27th Marc and the band appeared on the Cilla Black Show, miming to a then unknown song, Mad Donna, a track from the forthcoming Tanx album, followed by a live vocal duet with Cilla on Life's a Gas, with Marc on acoustic guitar and Steve Currie on bass


Marc Bolan & Cilla Black


We did the show, nobody expected us to do it. I knew Cilla and her husband from quite a way back. I took some persuading to do it, but I think she's a good singer and I think it might break some barriers


We came back and watched it on the video machine, and I've played it through a lot of times and enjoy it. The only thing that I didn't like was that I did so much wriggling about that I was out of breath when I did the second song





The year had also started with T.Rex's film, Born To Boogie having its run extended at four Greater London cinemas - Croydon, Romford, Waltham Cross and Wimbledon, and at Ocsar 1 where the had film premiered, the film doubled its take over the New Year week


 T.Rex / EMI represents 3.2% of singles sold in 1972 - Music Week 10.2.1973  

Music Week, the trade publication for the Music Industry published it's 1972 Market Survey which demonstrated that T.Rex / EMI had accounted for 3.2% of all singles sales for that year


 

 

Music Week's  Market Survey for 1972 also listed T.Rex as the No.1 group of the year, Metal Guru as the 8th best selling single, Marc Bolan as the 2nd best selling writer, Tony Visconti as the 4th best single's producer and the No. 1 album producer (this would include Bolan Boogie and The Slider, and albums by Tom Paxton, Ralph McTell and The Strawbs). T.Rex were listed as the 3rd best album group

   





T.Rex began a European Tour, starting in Berlin on February 13th and continuing through Germany, interrupting the tour to play on the bill at the two day Voorburg Festival in Holland, with T.Rex performing on March 9th. Other acts included Roxy Music, The Faces, The Kinks, Rory Gallagher and Stevie Wonder. The event was recorded by Dutch Television and highlights were transmitted on the 16th. The band started the second-leg of the tour on March 12th at the Paris Olympia before moving on to Stockholm, Sweden (15th), Aarhaus, Denmark (17th), Oslo, Norway (19th), back to Sweden and Gothenburg (20th), and to Denmark's Copenhagen (21st) and Odense (22nd), ending at Brussels in Belgium on the 24th

 

 Marc Bolan & T.Rex '20th Century Boy' 7" advertisment


While the band were away, on March 2nd, a new single was released - TWENTIETH CENTURY BOY / FREE ANGEL [MARC 4]. The A-side had been recorded by the band in Tokyo during Novembers' Far East tour, later, back in England, Howie Casey added saxophone and Sue and Sunny, Vicki Brown and Barry St John supplied backing vocals. The acoustic B-side had been recorded in France during the sessions for the new album

I regard 20th Century Boy as our best single. The song has the most basic rock format since Ride A White Swan

Basically the new single is erection rock, and like a track on the Tanx album, Shock Rock, it's purely an energy record, and if you listen to the words some of it quotes Muhammed Ali, and I took quotes from a lot of people, and I think that every man in the 20th century is a superstud and the record's meant for him

Marc Bolan's changing, it's just that people aren't really listening. The kids are, they know and are still buying the records. We're three years on, man, twenty-four million records!

 

It was well received by the majority of the music press, and even Marc's old friend John Peel, who since Get It On, had ceased to play his music on his radio shows, had positive things to write, this time in the role of the weeks reviewer for Disc. As honest as ever he stated that

`I must confess that I’ve found most of Marc’s recent work shallow and ultimately dull, but I reckon this is the best thing he's done since King of the Rumbling Spires. ...Marc remains firmly grounded in the traditions of early Rock-n-Roll. An aspect of this whole rock situation that always amuses me, is that the records that fools such as I praise for their undying value as cultural contributions become dated very quickly and disappear very quickly without a trace. On the other hand, the stuff that wedges itself several feet up my nose... these are the records that will be treasured and sought after by collectors in 10/15 years time. No one ever thought in 1955/56 that Eddie Cochran records would be timeless gems, they were almost by definition disposable, transitory things. Yet Marc remembers Eddie Cochran, remembers that a good choogle with a hint of a tune is worth all the rock operas and rock concertos ever written and gets out there and does it. This time he's aided by Sue and Sunny, who work superbly well and contribute a great deal to the value of the record. Bits of the whole sound familiar but that's a skill in itself - it should sound familiar. There's even a quote, perhaps unconciously, probably not, from Mohammed Ali... something about stinging like a bee. There's some handsome tenor over which Marc declaims and pouts in Jagger / Midnight Rambler Gothic. A well assembled record'

 20th Century Boy by T.Rex - Music Week 10.3.1973


But despite the favourable reviews, advance orders of over 100,000 and it's entrance into the charts at No.3, it went no higher, being held back by Donny Osmond’s The 12th of Never and Slade's first No.1, Cum On Feel The Noise. It remained at No.3 for three weeks






 T.Rex 'Tanx'

On March 16th the new album TANX [BLN 5002] appeared, it had been recorded in Japan, Denmark and France over the previous five months. The bands recordings were augmented by Howie Casey on saxophone with Madeline Bell, Leslie Duncan, Vicky Brown, Barry St John and Sue (of Sunny and Sue) all taking part in supplying backing vocals. The album included a photo poster of the cover image


When you come off a six-week tour your energy level is ridiculous - I mean it doesn't last long but while it's there... Well, we got 19 tracks down in three days so it would get the feel of a live set. I like the Chateau, it's very conducive to recording some things I wrote in the studio, three tracks I did like that, some I wrote on the road in America

I'm playing a lot of slide guitar and some of it's a bit like the Stones. When you're in America hearing so much, meeting so many people, you can't help picking up on it all

It appears to be very much a rock 'n roll album - a cosmic rockabilly and slender toe-tapper. The album is phenomenal. It's done as a concept album with total energy. We've used people like Leslie Duncan and a few other people, Tony Visconti plays melotron and there's a player from Roy Young's band, who is very good. I used a lot of black chicks on it. I featured a pianist very heavily and a Frenchman called Bernard on the title track, oh, and we also used a 50-piece orchestra on a couple of tracks

Marc was originally going to call the album Left Hand Luke, which was the title of the album's main track, finally deciding on Tanx, which is Brooklynese for ‘Thanks’ early in February


The title track is a seven minute song, very soulful and very blue - it's a blues... in D sharp. A very sad song, one I wrote in America. But the title doesn't have a metallic ring, it wasn't horny enough, as we say in the film business



 Marc Bolan and Mickey Finn


The track, Left Hand Luke is, according to Marc, about a man he met in America who has no legs and plays guitar  -





Call yourself friend, and look me in the eye
I'll unstrap my knees an apologise
'Cos I'm, Left Hand Luke and the beggar boys
O yes we are 

Ain't no neighbours, upon our hill
'Crept slight thigh Be-bop and old gumbo jill
But I'm, Left Hand Luke and the beggar boys
O yes we are 

Ain't nobody's someone
And it hurts deep inside
Just call us taxi mama and we'll take you for a ride
'Cos we're, Left Hand Luke and the beggar boys
O yes we are

Myxomatosis is an animal's disease,
But I got so shook up mama that it ate away my knees, And I'm Left Hand Luke and the beggar boys,
O yes we are

Ain't had no money lord, but it's plain to see,
If you had some silver mister how much would you pay for me?
'Cos I'm, Left Hand Luke and the beggar boys,
O yes we are

No one's gonna fool me baby

There's some mellow things on the album, but basically it's up tempo choogloos - with a positive backbeat. It's a bold album actually. Some of the lyrics are a bit saucy. I think it'll upset a few mothers, but then mothers are made to be upset. There's a lot of Ooooooeeeeee on it

I think it's incredibly different from the last LP, the feel is different. What happened is that I did Electric Warrior and then The Slider came in between. It was a pretty laid back LP but it didn't come together as an album. With this album, as with Electric Warrior, it was made as an LP. I considered it, I really thought about the way it was going to feel. Musically you will find it is certainly a progression... there's been a lot of growth since Slider

We've gone through a radical change, I played some tracks to Bob Harris the other day and they did his head in. Odd, he was going to talk to me about how it was time for a drastic change and when he heard what we'd done he couldn't believe we'd made the change already

The States always does that to me, and I spent a lot of time with Leon Russell, people like that, but it's been coming for a time. It's just a natural thing. I'm into soul music actually but any change is just what I believe in at the time

The Japanese studios are really incredible, but then once you've got your art together, when you've got your music together it's the same anywhere. They have 16-track and Dolby's and everything. I really like to record on the road anyway because you can get more action going and you feel much hotter

It was about four in the morning when I finished Tenement Lady. It is in fact two songs. The first one was a sort of come-together which I was going to write more to. Now I wish I had. It had quite a nice melody. And the second part of the song was an old song I wrote about four years ago. I just linked them together. I had about four verses of the first tune and I wanted to make it sort of Desolation Row thing, like a twelve minute song...

Shock Rock: It was originally called Cock Rock except that the record company wouldn't let me use that name. It's really based on the chorus - If you know how to rock, you don't have to shock. I used it against so-called glam-rock, which I appear to be buttoned-up with... and which I don't necessarily believe in at all. I mean, I believe in the clothes I wear, but if you can rock it doesn't matter if you wear pink satin trousers and a feather boa. Glam rock is sham rock

Rapids: It's a story about a guy being rejected by the daughters parents, but then it turns out that although the mother does not want the daughter to go out with the guy, she wouldn't mind going with the guy herself! It's a situation I find very real. Sometimes when we have kids over to the house, very young kids, we get letters from the mums that say, 'come to tea', or 'meanwhile if you want to come when the kids are at school...' it's quite raunchy really, but it's an interesting theory. But it's about change of attitude. What's good for the kids is good for the parents... if you happen to be pretty -

Your mama said,
"my bab's not free son, but I'm loose about midnight"
Your father said,
"Your sister's a groove boy, what I said it just ain't right"
But then I stood like the rapids
and I was like a new born child




The ‘change’ Marc spoke of was recognised by its reviewers –

James Johnson of the New Musical Express stated that –


`One can only approach a new T.Rex album with mild trepidation. There's no doubt the T.Rex sound has got broader, with strings, chick singers and quite often prominent use of sax... For me it's the calmer more relaxed tracks that are the more palatable, with Bolan sometimes even sounding like he's back in the days when T.Rex was Tyrannosaurus Rex. Electric Slim and the Factory Hen is an example of this, with its easy flowing melody line backed by strings... the album ends on a rather odd-note with Left Hand Luke, one of those long, slowly-building efforts with chick singers screaming themselves hoarse and with everything included that you can think of. Maybe this is the direction Bolan intends to take in the future'

Gavin Petrie titled his Disc review ‘Bolan – last of the guitar Kings’ and said that –

‘...Bolan has a relentless drive you feel from his music... he will not let go of a simple sound. I have heard tell that Bolan will cut a basic choogling track with T.Rex then work on it like a posessed inventor, putting more and more overdubs on it until the latter day T.Rex sound is achieved.

He seems to allow more echoes of the acoustic warbling days of Tyrannosaurus Rex to creep into this album but mostly it is that all- engulfing big boogie sound with lots of tempo changes.

He has been most successful in incorporating strings on most of the tracks without watering them down, and adding another dimension. That guitar must have been grafted to his hip by now and he must be the last of the guitar kings – that electric sound may be heaved back in the overall, but it is never unplaced.
 
...I’m glad to report that another hero of the 70’s revolution has provided a solid, rocking, value-for-money album.'

I’ve got a lot more freedom now. I could do a solo album of poetry, or an album of electronic music. I’ve even got my own label to do it on, without harming the validity of T.Rex. All this doesn’t mean I’ll put out 55 LPs of me farting in the moonlight, but it will free me from instant comparison

When the Stones started they were exactly like T.Rex. They were a screamers’ band, and it was exactly the same situation. And The Who started they were exactly like Slade. All that’s happened is that five or six years have passed and the people have grown. We will grow, just like The Stones; we area a cross between The Stones and The Beatles

 

On the 24th T.Rex played at the Forest National Hall in Vorst, Belgium, with heavy psych blues band Doctor Downtrip as support, returning to the UK for a recording session at Air Studios on the 27th.

The following week, on April 3rd, Marc and the band were back the studio working in the rooms next to ELO, and, as he had previously done, Marc joined them for a few drinks and a jam, resulting in him sharing lead guitar responsibilities with Jeff Lynne on Ma-Ma-Ma Belle, playing on Dreaming Of 4000 and Everyone's Born To Die. While Marc was at the session, Jeff Lynne borrowed Bolan's 1953 Gibson Firebird for the guitar solo on Showdown -

Jeff Lynne: "The Firebird is really great. Marc's been playing on a few sessions for us and he's come on stage for a blow. The Firebird is a funny looking thing and it makes a weird hard sound. It lacks sustain but it doesn't sound like any other guitar I've played"

The 'on stage' Lynne was referring to ocurred on April 10th when Marc joined the Electric Light Orchestra at Watford Town Hall for their encore of Roll Over Beethoven

 Marc and Jeff Lynne of ELO

Jeff Lynne: "Marc Bolan's a friend of mine from a few years back. He was in Air - dubbing something, and we had a good booze up, a bit of a re-union. It was the first time I'd seem Marc for about two years, and he asked if we were doing any local gigs. Then he came along to Watford and joined us on Roll Over Beethoven, which was the last number. Right from the beginning the girls at the front spotted him at the side of the stage and they were screaming all through the set.

"It was an experience for us just to see it really happenning, but he must get choked off by the fact that he can't hear himself play because he really is a good guitar player you know."


Bev Bevan, ELO's drummer recalled that Marc had said he would join them at their next concert: "We thought Marc was kidding when he said he would come along to our Watford gig. But true to his word, there he was with guitar at the ready! In fact, we felt a bit sorry for him when he first came on stage. Our audiences are quite 'heavy' and with Marc's pop image he came in for a bit of stick from some of the folk there, but he soon won them over and we all enjoyed ourselves. It was good fun!"

 

While in collaborative mood, Marc visited A&M studios in Los Angeles to overdub some guitar for Ringo Starr's Have You Seen My Baby, written by Randy Newman, one of the tracks planned for his third album 




Marc and June returned to the States to start negotiations for the release of
Born To Boogie, accompanied by his valet, Alphy O'Leary. They had also planned to take short break, however…

I’d left the rest of the group in Britain ‘cos I hadn’t any gigs lined-up, you now… Anything I’d be doing out there, I’d be doing solo… or that’s what I though! But then they said, how about this T.V. Special? And they meant T.Rex. Well, it was a real biggie, so I thought, ‘why not?’ and I got it all fixed up before we did anything about getting Mickey, Bill and Steve out here. Alf went back to get everything organised and fetch the boys over…

The Special was ABC TV's ‘In Concert’ which took place on May 1st at the Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica, California. The band performed the forthcoming single The Groover and Jeepster. The band were augmented by Gloria Jones and Stephanie Spruill on backing vocals, Stephanie had supplied backing vocals to a number of tracks on Gloria's forthcoming album. The show was broadcast in June


Shortly after the TV recording Marc joined in on an
Ike & Tina Turner session at the Bolic Sound Studios in California and recorded guitar for Nutbush City Limits which was released in the U.S. in June. Marc, a fan of Ike Turner's, was introduced to the pair by Gloria who had recorded with them -











…I’ve had a bit of experience working as a session man myself lately. I’ve done a few tracks with Ringo and some with Harry Nilsson

…I’m putting out a record I wrote in Barbados when I was there with Ringo. It’s a piece of reggae called Blackjack with a group called Big Carrot, consisting of some girl singers from L.A.





 


On the 17th June the band all met up in Munich to do some recording for the next album - Bolan had taken, according to the press, 'a “cosmic ensemble” of girl singers…', referring to Gloria Jones and Pat Hall, another friend of Gloria who had also been a session singer for Joe Cocker. The session concluded on the 25th

During an interview with Rosalind Russell titled 'Exile of a Street Punk’ she was told of about fourty songs Marc had already written for the next album…

I haven’t finished them yet because I…eh..want to find the innermost caverns of my mind. That’s a Bonzo Dog title…

...I’m gonna do a solo album too… it’s going to be a Marc Bolan album. I’ll use the guys and probably the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

It’s a story, not an album of hit singles. It’ll be an audio-experience. I said that four years ago and nobody printed it then either. I’ve got two things I can do; that or ‘Children Of Rarn’, which I’ve been threatening to do for a while

But that’s a big project and to be honest I’m frightened of doing it. No conceit involved. It’s just very important to me. It would be the perfect thing for me to do under my own banner

It wouldn’t be music structured to make the body move; it’s brain music. I wouldn’t want to misguide any kids who just wanted to make their breasts boogie

 

 

 

 Marc Bolan: Glam Rock Is Dead!

On June 16th Marc captured the front cover of Melody Maker with the declaration ‘GLAM ROCK IS DEAD!’

My next thing won’t be glam rock, I’m telling you babe. I don’t want to be involved in any of that



Just prior to this exclamation, on June 5th came the new single – THE GROOVER / MIDNIGHT [MARC 5]

 Marc Bolan & T.Rex 'The Groover' 7" advertisment

The Groover’ had 100,000 advance orders – we did it in Amsterdam and it was one of seven tracks from the end of the last European Tour. It was the only one I wanted out as a single

It was so much a product of its time, and a great many people have been influenced by that sound –If you listen to the lyrics... you'll hear that it's really a send up. 'Some call me Jeepster - some call me lame'

It’s always nice to be an innovator but... well I was watching a TV programme the other night, the only other one than ‘Whistle Test’ that caters for music, and for one terrible moment I thought I’d created a monster that had got out of hand. I’m not being detrimental to anyone but I’m only too pleased that I’m not involved in it right now

I’m mean, whatever else you can say you must admit that I did what I did with subtlety. The amount of records I’ve heard like ‘Get It On’ in the last six months is unbelievable and there was one that was such a rip-off of ‘Solid Gold Easy Action’ it blew my mind

I mean, I ‘borrow’, I never ‘rip-off’.. and when I borrow it never ends up sounding the same as it did, be it my individual brain or my lack of musicianship, the choice is yours

I did it, you know, and at the time I think we did it really well, we were the only people doing it. But I still see people with stars under their eyes, all that kind of stuff… it seems a trifle desperate. And they’ll rebel against that, saying ‘what’s Bolan talking about?’, but I believe it’s true. And in a year’s time you’ll know it’s true

I doubt if I will be any more records out with the same sound. In a way, the newsingle is a kind of send-up, if you listen to the lyrics. In the future there will be a Marc Bolan solo single and a solo album coming

The reviews were generally favourable but less enthusiastic than before, one music paper reported that –

'Marc and the lads get into a particularly hairy riff on this latest outpouring from the studio. His energy seems to be unabated, and if the formula of hairy guitars and soulful backing voices behind Marc’s pain-filled vocals is much the same as before, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be another hit for him’

Beverley Legge’s Disc review was titled ‘Bolan soon gets boring’ and he explained that he ‘got hooked on ‘Jeepster’, raved about ‘Telegram Sam’, thrilled to ‘Solid Gold Easy Action’ and was knocked out by the opening bars of ‘20th Century Boy’. But this one is disappointing. There are some moments of Bolanesque excitement in it, but they fail to sustain my interest for very long… Overall, the song lacks any special spark of inspiration to set it apart from his other releases. Only his most dedicated fans will be happy with this one.’



The single entered the charts at No.6, rose to No.4 and in its third week dropped to No.5 before slipping slowly down the charts to leave the Top 50 in its ninth week, again held back by a Slade single, this time Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me which reached the No.1 spot

The Groover by T.Rex - Music Week 23.6.1973



Midnight was the British B-side, whereas in America it was Born To Boogie, included to support the film yet to be released there. It was the first single to be released in the States since Telegram Sam and reached No.73. Midnight received as much attention as The Groover in the reviews, Charles Shar Murrey of the NME considered it –

‘an infinitely superior track… which features some very presentable guitar, and is, probably the best track Marc has come up with since ‘Get It On’'

and another noted that –

'The B-side is ‘Midnight’ which almost harks back to Cream, with thundering bass and tom-toms and howling guitar. The main hook tends to be repetitive but the echo on Marc’s voice is pure pop and is the sort of thing that will be changing hands among collectors for a fiver a throw in ten years time. Bolan rocks on – and the world trembles.’ In four months time, a ‘Great Hits’ album would be released from which the following by xxxx came – ‘I direct your attention towards ‘Midnight’, a hallucinogenic forest caper with some chilling vocal lines and genuinely excellent guitar’

Bolan’s lead guitar abilities had always been a subject of debate between Marc and the media, who, during an interview with The Sweet asked the bands guitarist, Andy Scott, for his opinion

“Flash runt really… I mean I’ve got to say it – although I suppose we all are. I mean I’d had a few drinks and I said to him, ‘Listen man, you can’t really play’ – but he says he can, you know. Like he said.. ‘Well fuck off man. I’ve played with Ringo Star and The Beatles and I’m doing a film.’ Flash runt. I mean I never saw Bolan live but on his records his guitar is always cleverly disguised. You could never get any idea of his ability”

Marc, however, had no doubts about his playing. -

Some of the best guitarists in the world that I’ve played with think I’m a great guitar player… so when Eric Clapton or Steve Cropper says you’re great, that’s enough for me

OK, so I’m arrogant. But I’m like that for a reason. You challenge me on anything rock and roll, and I’ll do it better than you can. That’s ‘cos I know you can’t do it. But the people I know that can do it better than me, well, I’d never say anything like that to them

They feel the same as I do, they just don’t come out and say it. That’s all. Hendrix was the only cat I knew who’d come out and say it, he’d tell you ‘Man, I’m the greatest guitarist in the world. Give me someone better'. Because he wanted someone better

I’m not flash. When I play with Eric I play rhythm guitar. I don’t want to play lead guitar with him. Recently I have been playing lead ‘cos I’ve been getting better. But like, I’m only arrogant about rock and roll. I could never play jazz guitar, wouldn’t know how to

I loved it when I first found I could bend a string on a guitar and whee – you’re Jimi Hendrix!

 

Jack Green's (left) 1972 LP

To give himself room to play more lead guitar live, in July Marc brought in 22 year old guitarist, Jack Green. Jack was from Giffnock, Glasgow and in 1970 had played the part of Neil "Woof" Donovan in one of the UK tours of the musical Hair and in 1972 his band Sunshine released an album on Warner Brothers, the band also backed Country Joe McDonald on some of his UK recordings at that time

 Marc Bolan & Jack Green


Despite the fact that The Groover had only reached number 4, Marc could take comfort from the fact that T.Rex had sold over 39 million records over the past four years, achieved four number 1's, three number 2's and two number 3's





On July 20th T.Rex began their fourth American Tour which would take them through until September 1st, during which they would cover just under 30,000 miles, making it one of the most extensive tours buy a British band at the time. T.Rex were augmented with back-up singers, Jones and Hall and Marc gave Jack a blank cheque to buy a spare guitar for the tour - he chose a Gibson Melody Maker



 Marc Bolan & Pat Hall.
Marc and Pat Hall arriving at a Holiday Inn, USA 1973. Photo by Finn

The began the tour as support to Three Dog Night at the Milwaukee Arena, Wisconsin, continuing to Chicago and Detroit, where Marc threw a party for the band and Stevie Wonder who was in the same hotel, after which they all went out to watch The Stylistics at ‘The Twenty Grand’. Onto Florida and a cancelled date due to the equipment trucks breaking down on route. T.Rex continued onto Atlanta for some recording and then to Kansas City where it looked as if another concert would have to be cancelled for the same reasons, but Leslie West of Mountain with whom they were sharing the bill lent the band his equipment. At Davenport, Iowa, they played the Mississippi State Fair, an open air concert where due to strong winds the lighting tower at the side of the stage started to buckle and fall towards Marc, it was stopped by wires strung across the stage. Marc carried on performing Chariot Choogle oblivious to the situation



 T.Rex USA 1973
?,Jack Green, Bill Legend, Steve Currie, Holiday Inn, USA 1973. Photo by Finn

The Holiday Inns are fantastic. It's plastic decadence. The first time I was in America was in 1968, with Tyrannosaurus Rex. We were here for three months, playing a lot of colleges for 75 bucks. We went home owing $30,000




Jack Green & Bill Legend of T.Rex 
Jack Green & Bill Legend, USA 1973. Photo by Finn

In New Haven, Chas Chandler (originally one of the Animals, he later ‘discovered’ Jimi Hendrix and at this time was managing Slade) attended the concert where police barriers were broken down and the stage stormed by fans. The band then continued on to New York for more recording and Marc spent some time with Alice Cooper who later saw the band at Toronto Expo, playing to an audience of 160,000. They finished the tour in Winnipeg, Canada and later that night flew to NBC's TV Studio in Burbank, California to record a Midnight Special TV show for broadcast in September. The band, with Jones and Hall on backing vocals performed Hot Love, Get It On and a recently recorded track, Squint Eye Mangle. Judith Sims for 'Rolling Stone' noted that 'at least half the audience of the almost sold-out 3000 capacity performance was blind with sequinned ecstasy, while the rest looked on bewildered…'

Although at times there were moments of mania, from all accounts it was not a successful tour, the majority of the American media and concert-goers were not impressed. As the opening act to probably the country’s biggest rock band of the time, Three Dog Night, they were unsuited and Tanx had only managed to reach number 103 in the US charts

Asked about the tour a little while later, Marc commented –

Don’t mention it! I still haven’t recovered. What a nightmare! Well, maybe ‘nightmare’ is too strong a word for it. But it took so much out of me, out of all of us, that I’d just as soon forget about it for the moment. We went the last three days without sleep, waiting for a flight back!

You see, before we’ve just played the big cities… maybe ‘just’ isn’t the right word. There’s quite a few of them over there! But anyway, this time we really did a tour

We played all kind of places we’d missed last time. It’s one thing to play New York and Los Angeles, and quite another to do gigs in places like Dallas or Seattle. In some places we would have completely full house, while in others, people would hardly have heard of us, before we got there!

We're big in certain areas - LA, Chicago and Detroit. But we're by no mean national stars... at the end of the show, we got a very big reaction and when I hear that in Milwaukee that's really something


On the last tour we played to two million people in 10 weeks. There were no bum shows and everything worked out just as we’d planned it. How can people say I failed to break the States?

In the States I’m not looked upon as a teenybop idol. It’s totally different thing for me over there

However, for Marc's US label, Warner Brothers, breaking T.Rex was proving to be very difficult for them. Stan Cornyn, Head of Creative Services for the label -

"Our biggest frustration is that we can't make Marc Bolan what he is in Britain. We have run the gamut - from TV advertising to displays… the whole works. It Is because the artist doesn't reach the public, or because we haven't found the right way to market him? I don't know. I'm not going to go around and say the artist doesn't reach the public. I've got to make the assumption that we're not handling him correctly - even though I know, as an intelligent man, that it cannot always be my fault that an artist doesn't make it. Professionally I have to take the view that Marc Bolan does have a future here in the U.S. And when I say future, let's remember that his last album sold 300, 000 copies - that is in no way a failure. But I know what the Bolan phenomenon is in Britain and we have not yet equalled it here"

 




At the moment I'm a rock and roll star. Hopefully I can live through the next ten years, about which there might be some doubt... I still think it's an achievement to wake up still alive every morning, noe more than I ever did before. I don't think I'll live to a ripe old age at all. I just believe that when the almighty hand hits you, he wnts you and he takes you. I don't care - it's preordained. My body isn't important. My spirit is fine, that's what matters.

I've got to like him, that silly stupid street punk Marc Bolan

I feel grateful for my fans though - in all sincerity. They allow me artistic freedom to do what I want to do. I love them for buying my records... I don't really feel special. I don't think that I've got anything special. The thing is, I'm making music for them




 Bolan's Big Carrot 'Blackjack' 7" advertisment

 


On August 10th, Marc and the band relocated to Munich for ten days of recording, in England, Marc released a single on the EMI label under the name of BIG CARROT – BLACKJACK / SQUINT EYE MANGLE [EMI 2047]. This was the first release to carry the 'produced by Bolan' logo. Vocals on both tracks were handled by Gloria Jones and Pat Hall, with instrumentation supplied by T.Rex

The press were very dubious about this release, Steve Clarke of the NME sarcastically exclaimed –

‘this epic looks certain to change the entire face of Western pop-dom. Two chick singers wail over a kind of T.Rex – meets – reggae rhythm about only the Good Lord knows what. A strange brew this and one to approach with caution’

Another followed in the same vein - 
 

‘You’ll thrill to that gasping T.Rex guitar sounds, snap blood-vessels straining to hear The Master singing in the middle distance and weep at the sheer power and rightness somehow of the lyrics. If I were a harsher man I’d say ‘egocentric drivel’ and leave it at that. The B-side is a work called, for Christ’s sake, ‘Squint Eye Mangle’’







Throughout the year Born To Boogie was continuing to play across the country and at this point of the year was showing at 18 cinemas, in some cases for week-long runs -

…It’s only just been released here and it’s the third biggest grossing film in England. It’s making a fortune. To me it’s just a piece of history now. I’ll do more films. I’m shortly going to play a character part of an elderly gentleman. It’s a person older than myself. I don’t want to play Marc Bolan, I’ve been doing that for nine years now 

Born To Boogie has been dynamite. There’s a lot wrong with it but it was made as a lightweight piece of T.Rex propaganda. Every time the school holidays are on we put it out. What’s that great American phrase? ‘A film for the youth market'


Elton John: "I thought Marc's film 'Born To Boogie' was very inoffensive; I enjoyed it, but I'd of preferred it if it had been on the telly. I'd hardly sat down and it was finished. It was made aiming at Marc Bolan fans and I think it took too long to come out in a way. I thought I looked like a gorilla!"









It was around this time that Marc's wife June left him following the development of his relationship with Gloria Jones, who, on arriving back in the UK set-up home with Bolan in London. Marc also had his famous corkscrew hair cut short

 

 Marc Bolan - 1973's haircut

I had to have it cut because it was getting so raggedy. You see, I never comb my hair, it has been like that for seven years, the back was one big tangle

I don’t want to be involved with the image of Marc Bolan. I look different. I don’t wear those clothes anymore. I’ve got more macabre, so now I’d rather wear a black suit with a pink shirt than a pick suit with a black shirt. I don’t want to be involved with glam rock or glitter rock or anything, because I really believe it’s a thing of the past. I find it embarrassing to be quite honest

Of course, showmanship and glamour will never be dead, but the impact of what that change meant is over. As far as I’m concerned, it has no use anymore

Look man, when the whole thing happened the whole scene was a bit dead. I just brought back the weirds. I wasn’t trying to do anything, all that happened was that I had become bored with the way rock was being presented

Let’s be honest about things – you can’t out-glam Judy Garland, Gloria Swanson, Mae West and Marilyn Monroe. So why bother trying? It’s certainly immaterial to what you actually are. When I’m recording, I certainly don’t ponce myself up in the same way as I do when I’m on stage. I’m performing right now and I’m Marc Bolan when I’m at the office – but, to be truthful, I can’t take Marc Bolan-The-Star all that seriously. When I’m at home I’m just Mark Feld


I actually feel more involved with what’s happening on the streets, I’m a street punk, I don’t want to get too far away. I’m not a star. I’m an anti-star and always was. You couldn’t get me to the London Palladium if you paid me a hundred thousand pounds

I’m not anti-establishment, but for me the whole thing got too cheeky. I wore gold suits and that sort of shit for a while but it was a flash. Billy Fury wore them for four years before; it wasn’t an innovation. I don’t put down anyone who is involved in it but once the vision takes over from the music, they’re in bad shape




I don’t want to go on the road for being involved with the dying embers of Glam Rock… I’m into denim. I’m going back to Woodstock

 


 

 Gloria Jones 'Share My Love' LP

At the start of September, Gloria Jones’s second solo album, Share My Love, was released on Motown, by this time she had left the label and become a member of T.Rex





On Battersea Bridge June Feld lost control of her Ferrari, crashing sideways into three oncoming cars before piling head-on to another, causing over two hours of major traffic jams on both sides of the Thames. June was breathalised by Police before being taken to Chelsea Police Station where she was kept for 90 minutes. An eye-witness said "I saw this woman driving this Ferrari across the bridge. Then there was a tremendous bang. It seemed as if the were smashed cars everywhere. The woman seemed dazed and muttering"

 


In mid-September Marc began a short Australian radio promotional tour to promote his forthcoming performances there 




 Marc Bolan & T.Rex 'Great Hits' LP Advertisment

 

On October 19th, T.Rex released GREAT HITS [BLN 5003], titled and compiled by Marc and featuring all the singles, both A and B-sides from Telegram Sam onwards, excluding the singles two-track B-side and Free Angel. In their place were The Slider, which Marc had originally considered as a single and Shock Rock from the Tanx album, possibly included as a statement by Marc to back-up what he had been saying to the media since earlier in the year. It included a poster of Marc in concert

Disc's reviewer commented that this release was '..only just in time - if we are to believe from Boley that the wind of change is here... It's yer actual party album that is going to pound for the requisite number of minutes in the inimitable Bolan sound and played at full volume should have the neighbours complaining by track four - Metal Guru.'

The album only managed to enter the charts at number 32




At this time the Ike & Tina Turner single, Nutbush City Limits was released in the UK and reached No.4







It was back on the road again for a tour of Japan and Australia with the band leaving Britain on October 22nd and starting at Budokan Hall, Tokyo where Toshiba Records presented T.Rex with gold records for their sales in Japan. They continued to Osala, Nagoyo, Hiroshima and ended the first stage of the tour at Fukuoka where they broke capacity records with an audience of 8,000.


Onwards to Australia for the bands first concerts in the country, starting with two nights, November 4th and 5th at the prestigious Sydney Cricket Ground, playing before an audience of 20,000. They continued on to Adelaide (6th), Melbourne (7th) and concluded their visit in Brisbane (10th), before flying out to Los Angeles (via Fiji and Honolulu) to meet with Warner Brothers and to do some recording


 Gren, Bolan, Currie and almost out of the picture, Legend - Festival Hall, Melbourne,Austria, November 7th


At the end of the tour Bill Legend left T.Rex and returned home in order to pursue a musical career that would give him more time at home with his family



 Davey Lutton

Bill was replaced by DAVEY LUTTON from Belfast (born 13.1.45), Davey had drummed with Northern Ireland's Eire Apparent who, in 1968, had supported the Jimi Hendrix Experience in North America before recording in the U.S. with Hendrix both performing and producing






 Marc Bolan & T.Rex 'Truck On (Tyke)' 7" Advertisment

On November 16th T.Rex issued TRUCK ON (TYKE) / SITTING HERE [MARC 6]. Truck On (Tyke) had originally been demoed featuring Visconti’s wife, Mary Hopkin on backing vocal, but she was replaced by Gloria Jones and Pat Hall



This time there were no good reviews, one summed-up the general opinion –

'Marc could and should do better than this. After his absence around the world and avowed new image, it is disappointing to find him with much the same formula as before. The production is clean and powerful, with a distinctive descending guitar riff and solid drums. But with the familiar background voices, and a heavy emphasis on a rather worn-out hook phrase, repeated once too often, it all becomes an empty exercise. ‘Sitting Here’, on the B-side, a gentle ballad, is much better and shows more imagination’

But criticism was something Marc was used to –

Years ago it really used to upset me, but nowadays? It just doesn’t bother me at all. You see, I’ve realised that getting perturbed isn’t a viable proposition

Sure I read the critics, only because I find them to be quite interesting and I might learn something from them. But I don’t get hurt anymore

Sometime I get the distinct feeling that the journalist who writes a really vitriolic review has done so for the express purpose of making a name for himself. I had one guy to do an interview with me and because I was wearing ‘shades’ he had me written up as a drug fiend. I’m not putting down the press, because people have been very good to me, especially in the early days, but…

The harder they hit me the stronger I become. I’ve stood against the people who’ve slagged me and come up on top. I think most people in the music industry can’t understand me, because I don’t fit in any category. I’m a serious musician, but I make pop records. I write poetry and combine it with rock’n’roll

It was them who created Bolan the cosmic kid or the elfin. Not me

I feel much more famous now I’ve returned, like one of the untouchables. My impact is going to be so much more. I can tell, the girls pass out a lot quicker than they used to

Truck On (Tyke) marked the end of the chart-topping run for T.Rex with it entering the charts at No.20 before working its way over four weeks to its highest position of No.12, the first T.Rex single not to enter the Top. 10

A lot of people said ‘Truck On’ was my worst single…. I would certainly agree it wasn’t my best single, but that was a planned thing. I wanted something not so good to happen to compare it (future material) against

…Things have to slow up. To be honest when I wasn’t getting number ones, I felt relieved. Ringo said he felt the same when the first Beatles single, ‘Strawberry Fields’, only got to number two

I’m still the highest paid artist in Britain and still the biggest draw… I think that most people in the business can’t understand me because I don’t fit into any category. I’m a serious musician but I make pop records. I write poetry and combine it with rock ‘n’ roll

You know, I hate talking about me, but I have to insist that people understand that I enjoy being considered banal because one of these days I’m gonna show all them eggheads. I’ll blow their minds



I'm going to stick my head in a bowl of flour, stick peacock feathers in my hair, and call myself Sibelius Sequin. It can't fail. I think the glitter business is dying on its feet, and a big change is coming in pop - possibly a move towards jazz, which I am working on

But nobody knows for sure. I am going to keep the flour and the peacock feathers handy. Just in case




I started out on an intellectual trip and moved into the pin-up thing. Now I’m slowly getting back to where I was. I didn’t plan it that way – the teenybob thing came to me. I didn’t go out and deliberately find it

The last four years have been crazy and nobody could keep up with the pace I was living. So a year ago we had a meeting and decided to cool things. I wasn’t trying to change my image. So when people criticise me it doesn’t bother me. I’m rich now, so I don’t need to worry about pleasing people. They have to like what I do, or forget me

I don’t want to be a plastic idol, I want to be respected as a musician. I’ve spent four crazy years and now I’ve got the bread to disappear into the sunset anytime I like

We’ve played all the places in the world we’ve never been to before. We were on the road for six months solid… so we’ve been pretty active

Now it’s time for Britain with the ‘Truck Off’ Tour. It has been two years since we played the provinces, but because the ‘Born To Boogie’ film was doing so well, there didn’t seem much point in doing any gigs in the middle of ’73. ‘Boogie’ was a sort of live thing and I wanted to get it out of the way. Now we are showing people how much we’ve changed since those Wembley shows.

I felt it was very important for me to get out of the lime-light. Towards the end of ’72 there was a period of very definite over-exposure. I wanted to keep away from that for a while. I wanted to get away from that kind of pressure because it was doing me in. I think it does everybody in. I was becoming such an obvious crucifixion figure and I wasn’t ready to be crucified at the time. It might be quite interesting now. Rubber nails…

 

 

The day after Truck On (Tyke)'s release, Marc entered MRI Studios in Hollywood with Gloria's brother, Richard, to begin work on a prospective Richard Jones album


On November 23rd, Ringo Starr's third album, Ringo, was released and included the track for which Marc had added some guitar in April


In December, ELO released their album, On The Third Day, which included the tracks Ma-Ma-Ma Belle and Dreaming of 4000 on which Marc had contributed guitar, also recorded back in April

 


 Marc Bolan's Top 10 November 1973




 


 

 

 

 






 

 


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