Cosmic Dancer - The Life and Music of Marc Bolan
by Paul Roland
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Cosmic Dancer - The Life and Music of Marc Bolan
by Paul Roland
Marc Bolan, the biggest pop star in post-Beatles Britain, was haunted by the fear that he would die before his 30th birthday. He repeatedly told friends, family and colleagues that he had foreseen his own death in a car crash and that the car would be a mini. He had alluded to the tragedy in several songs and a poem in which he named the tree that would become a shrine to his grieving fans. It is said that he had also known the date of his death, gleaned from a painting, titled 'The Sixteenth of September' by the Belgian surrealist Rene Magritte which foreshadowed an iconic image on the cover of his 'The Slider' album. Whatever the truth, it is a fact that on that very date in 1977, two weeks short of his 30th birthday, Bolan's morbid prophecy was fulfilled
In this new biography Paul Roland chronicles the life and music of the vibrato-voiced glam rock idol and 20th century boy who created some of the most instantly appealing and enduring songs of the 70s - 'Ride A White Swan', ''Hot Love', 'Get It On', 'Telegram Sam', 'Children of the Revolution' and 'Solid Gold Easy Action'
At the peak of his popularity in 1972 the Beatles acknowledged Bolan and his group T.Rex as their natural successor and Ringo Starr directed the film that brought the fan hysteria known as T.Rextasy to a stagnant British pop scene and which was to top the DVD charts 30 years after it original release
That year the former working class Hackney mod launched his own label and continued a run of number one hits that accounted for 3.5% of the total singles sales in the UK, outselling the combined singles sales of Jimi Hendrix and The Who
This is the incredible story of Marc Bolan's rollercoaster rise to fame and his resurrection as the selfstyled 'Godfather of Punk' that promised to put him back on top until the fatal accident which cut short his life and hopes of a comeback
Author Paul Roland, who was himself managed as a recording artist by Marc's widow June Bolan, has been one of the acknowledged experts on Marc Bolan since 1978 when he published the first British fanzine, 'Cosmic Dancer' and the first full-length biography, 'Electric Warrior'. But now having interviewed several members of Bolan's family and friends (some for the first time), as well as band members, roadcrew and other associates, Roland is able to present a fascinating account of one of the most colourful and contradictory characters in rock augmented with excerpts from archive interviews with Bolan himself
'Cosmic Dancer' features a cover by the renowned artist George Underwood and is illustrated with many rare and previously unpublished photographs
Paul Roland is the author of more than 30 books and has been a regular contributor to many national music and movie magazines since 1982 including 'The Mail On Sunday', 'Kerrang', 'Sounds', 'Record Mirror', 'Total Film' and 'Uncut'
From Paul Roland's Blog:
'IF I had to name one musician who has influenced and inspired me throughout my career it would have to be Marc Bolan, one of the most underrated artists in the history of rock
And because he has not been given the credit he was due I have never lost my desire to make the case for a serious reassesment of his work and to share my enthusiasm for someone I consider to be unique
I had written a slim biography of Marc, (‘Electric Warrior’ Omnibus Press 1982) when I was a teenager and several substantial articles for ’Sounds’, ‘Record Mirror’ and ‘Uncut’ over the years, but it was only after having written the 30 books I have had published on other subjects in the last ten years or so that I felt that I could finally do justice to a subject that has haunted me since his untimely death
I also had the good fortune to interview a close friend of June and of course, I was granted some fascinating insights into Marc’s songs by June herself who was my manager in the early 80s. Other interviewees include producer Joe Boyd, John’s children members Andy Ellison and the late Chris Townson, artist and friend George Underwood (who created the cover of the book), Mickey Finn, Bill Legend, Paul Fenton, Herbie Flowers, Captain Sensible, Rolan Bolan and many more. These interviews were conducted over the course of 30 years and are interpersed with comments from Marc himself from the vast archive of interviews I collected from 73 onward. Plus I have included excerpts from record and concert reviews which show how Marc and the band were viewed at the time
The book is illustrated with many rare and unpublished photographs as well as memorabillia including foriegn record covers, music press ads, tour programmes
I hope long term fans will find much they didn’t know before and potential new fans will discover an artist that wil bring them as much pleasure as he has to me'
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Paul Roland - Meadows Of The Sea by marcjarscott
PAUL ROLAND is a prolific recording artist and author widely recognised as the man responsible for bringing Goth Rock to the UK. His arrival into the world on September 6, 1959 in Kent, England, was anything but ordinary, when his mother gave birth to him backstage during a production of Hamlet. She was playing Ophelia at the time. Born to an actress mother and a writer father, Paul’s love of the arts blossomed early and set the scene for an extraordinary musical career which has seen him connect with some of the music industry’s most influential figures. Since the release of his first album ‘The Werewolf of London’ in 1980, Paul has written and recorded 15 albums which he is now in the process of ‘retouching’ ready for re-release to a loyal cult following in the UK, Europe and the US. Formerly managed by June Bolan, the widow of T. Rex frontman, Marc Bolan, Paul has spent his musical career spinning tales against a backdrop of gothic rock, psych-pop, folk, and occasionally, baroque strings earning him the sobriquet, ‘The Edgar Allen Poe’ of psychpop. His varied music creations include 19th Century murderers, a retired executioner, a Regency magistrate, an opium addict and an entire court of medieval grotesques, to name but a few. An only child, Paul’s childhood was filled with adventure and rebellion. A self-confessed ‘non academic’, he loved to stage melodramatic plays based on old horror movies where his friends were cast as the hapless victims and he as the mad doctor/monster. Early musical influences were Marc Bolan, King Crimson and The Velvet Underground but when Paul bought his first guitar aged 14 and learned his first three chords, he developed his own style and started writing his uniquely narrative songs, many set in Edwardian and Victorian England. At 19 he recorded his first single and just a few months later his very first album, The Werewolf of London (1980) which was picked up by Armageddon Records in the UK and is now a highly collectible item. Album success led to Paul’s first European tours and label deals in France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the USA and Japan. He also received offers to work with film composer Michael Nyman and members of the Velvet Underground. In 1997 the musician took a seven year break from music to raise his two young sons and write a series of books on mysticism and true crime. He now has more than 30 titles to his credit which have been translated into more than 15 languages. In 2002 Paul returned to the music scene with an appearance at a Berlin Goth festival. Then, after a series of re-issues on a small German label, he released his first new album (‘Pavane’) on his own Gaslight label and recorded a second (‘Re-animator’), featuring several songs based on stories by H.P Lovecraft, with members of Caravan. In 2006 Paul left England to live in Germany where he carved out a successful career, writing and performing. Referred to in many German circles as “the Godfather of Neo Folk”, 2011 sees the release of Paul’s new album, Grimm, inspired by Grimm’s Fairytales. He’s also working on yet another album which will be more 60s influenced pysch pop (featuring songs written for an aborted project with the surviving members of the Velvet Underground and 60s psych pop group John’s Children) and with the usual dash of macabre humour which has become one of his many trademarks over the years. As he told German website Evolver earlier this year: “I have so many projects that I want to do that I have to discipline myself to deal with one at a time to make sure they all see the light of day. There is nothing worse than an artist who promises the people who like his work a lot of intriguing projects then fails to deliver. I always deliver but its hard to keep the lid on the ideas bubbling out of my head sometimes. Self-discipline and the ability to focus and see things through is as important as talent, I believe.