Monday, April 16, 2007

Is Marc Bolan's Star Finally Dimming?

Marc Bolan, the late musical genius behind both T.Rex and the earlier Tyrannosaurus Rex, who died in a 1977 automobile accident has been a popular cult fan figure for years since his death. Millions worshipped Bolan in an unheard of devotion for years since his death, with tons of posthumous record and Cd releases of unreleased songs of which Bolan seemed to have saved by the tons on tapes, both professional and more homemade. In 2005, Bolan last hit #1 on worldwide DVD music charts with the expanded DVD version his great BORN TO BOOGIE film of which Ringo Starr was heavily involved. But recently there are signs that the Bolan star is once again dimming.

With the release of an 8 Cd series a few years back of mainly homemade tapes entitled, UNCHAINED, many fans found few real gems among this series, and many weak performances that were probably far better left unreleased. This might have turned some fans off who felt like the Bolan magic was missing and he looked all too mortal and not the rock and rooll god that they believed in. But some far superior later releases of rough mixes and alternate versions on many more Cds were far more magic and fulfilling to Bolan's many fans, especially some from Japan.

But recently it seems like less new Bolan items have hit the market, and whether less good unreleased material or simply some measure of fan fatgue is at hand is not entirely clear, but perhaps a mix of both is what's happening . And even on Ebay, a pretty good barometer of the popularity of Bolan, both the number of listings for his Cds and the final selling price seem to be rapidly declining. It was not uncommon to find many Bolan products selling for close to $20 or more dollars only a couple years ago, but today some Cds went unsold at just 99cents each, which was once absolutely unheard of. Bolan stuff used to never hardly ever be very cheap on Ebay until very recently.

An attempt to revive the Bolan magic ended badly when former Tyrannosaurus Rex and early T.Rex bongo player and drummer, Mickey Finn, attempted to revive the band back in 1997 as Mickey Finn's T.Rex with a Marc Bolan sound-alike singer, Rob Benson, but Mickey Finn eventually fell ill with cancer and died. The band still plays gigs today, but has never really charted like the original Marc Bolan lead bands once did. The band's Cd, RENAISSANCE was puntuated with very good percussion and drum work provided by both Mickey Finn on congas and former 1970's T.Rex session drummer, Paul Fenton. And the vocal work was great as well, with Rob Benson a particularlly good Marc Bolanlike replacement singer. But the guitar work and the musical interpretations of many of the 13 Bolan classics seem to really lack the proper guitar stylings or musical punches that made the Bolan songs the real classics they were. With Bolan's unique guitar signature missing, as well as his songs often unBolanlike in their execution by this new band, this band is good, but just not as fulfilling as it could be to true Bolan fans.

It was not only the unique vocals of Marc Bolan that made him a fan favorite and classic. It was also his unique guitar style as well as his ability to quickly pen great, but often largely disposable songs, that often had huge chart appeal such as GET IT ON, JEEPSTER, TELEGRAM SAM, THE GROOVER, CHILDREN OF THE REVOLUTION and 20th CENTURY BOY. Bolan could range from a pop king with a popular rock sound, to a being sort of like a British Jimi Hendrix, and a true guitar superman. Bolan was the perfect front man for a band, a great rock and roll image, and a musical genuis in every regard of the word.

Can the Bolan star start to shine again. Probably. It only needs another great product to repackage his talents and begin to resale himself to public once again, reminding old fans to return and new ones to start to listen for the first time. But for now, it looks like the Bolan star is starting to dim somewhat, with declining interest in this 1960's and 1970's British musical superstar.


At 3:34 PM, Blogger Automatic Shoes said...

I respectfully disagree with your article, for Marc Bolan's star is only about to shine brighter. And this time, it will happen in America.

Check out the article "T.Rextasy in America" at

At 5:51 AM, Blogger Paul Hooson said...

Very warm greetings to you Automatic Shoes. I bookmarked your Bolan website amomg my favorites and promise to check in often. You might refernce my feature and invite other fans to offer an opinion on it, or else write a critical response to it on your site for the sake of discussion of whether or not the Bolan fan base may be recently dwindling or not.

I would greatly prefer that you are right and film will provide both Bolan as well as other 70's glam rock acts such as The Sweet, Mud, Gary Glitter, Alvin Stardust and others a fresh revival to their musical contributions (despite whatever downsides to their personal lives in case of Gary Glitter at least).

Peace and boogie on!


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