"What can I do? Ooo Ooo... Standing next to you, you, you, you..."
The Prettiest Stars sing together for the last time on the Marc show.
Friends say it's fine, Friends say it's good...
As I'm sure most of you realise, twenty five years ago today was the day that Marc Bolan lost his life in a tragic car crash in South London. On the night of September 16th, 1977, shortly after 4am, the purple Mini that Marc and Gloria Jones were travelling in at the southern edge of Barnes Common, left the road as it crossed a hump backed bridge, crashing into a sycamore tree and killing Marc instantly. Gloria, the mother of Marc's two-year-old son Rolan, survived.
In memory of Marc, Universal have today released a 24-track best of Marc Bolan and T. Rex entitled 'The Essential Collection'. There is a limited edition version available that contains a DVD with six tracks from the popular television show Marc, but unfortunately nothing of David's appearance on the show. (02/27/01 NEWS: BOWIE AND THE BOPPIN' ELF ON TV TOMORROW)
'The Essential Collection' is a great starting point for those not too familiar with Marc's work, but for those who want to delve a little deeper 'Marc Bolan & T. Rex: 20th Century Superstar', (also released through Universal Music) is a different beast altogether. This beautiful 4-disc set, released last week for some strange reason, (surely it would have made more sense to release it today?) was compiled by Mark Paytress and Martin Barden.
Mr. Paytress was also responsible for the excellent sleeve notes, and Martin supplied tons of interesting memorabilia scattered throughout the booklet, including a page from Marc's diary in February 1977, that includes this line:
"While I dress I play Bowie's new album, (Blammo note... must be Low) he's such a scalewag (sic) - & also sly."
Here's an excerpt from the press release written by Mark Paytress:
"The eagerly-awaited 4-CD "Marc Bolan & T. Rex: 20th Century Superstar" box set that reveals the glorious truth behind Bolan's long rise to fame via long lost, pre-psychedelic 45s, primitive garage rock with John's Children and many newly discovered recordings from his time as underground cult hero with Tyrannosaurus Rex. All the hits and choice album tracks from his years as Glam Rock's first 'Superstar' during 1970-1973 are here, too.
Every Marc Bolan A-side, many B-sides, tracks from every LP, demos, BBC and live recordings, little-known productions and pseudonymous 45s are all here - plus the priceless studio moment when Bolan and producer Tony Visconti discovered that 'T. Rex sound'. A priceless historical document."
The front cover of the '20th Century Superstar' box set.
An outtake from 'The Slider' cover session graces the front of '20th Century Superstar'. A session originally credited to Richard 'Ringo' Starkey, but in fact the session was the work of Marc's producer, one Tony Visconti, a small detail Tony himself is at pains to point out in his introduction to '20th Century Superstar'. And who can blame him? Next to 'Electric Warrior', 'The Slider' is my favourite T.Rex sleeve, so it really is time Tony got the credit he deserves.
Among the gems on this 110 track collection is a song on which Marc guested as lead guitarist, 'The Prettiest Star' by David Bowie. I'm sure you're all perfectly aware of this charming version recorded on David's birthday back in 1970, though some of you are probably more familiar with the re-recording on 'Aladdin Sane'...sexified by The Spiders. I think it's fair to say though, that Ronno's solo pretty well stayed true to the original.
Even 25 years later, Marc's following shows no sign of waning, and the coverage here in the UK this week proves just how much he is still missed, but I'm sure nobody misses Marc like David, and without second-guessing what might have been, I can say that '20th Century Superstar' is a fine tribute to the legacy of Marc Bolan...
(Foot Note: Bolan's death is surrounded by lots of very spooky coincidences, not least of all the first track on CD1 entitled: 'The Road I'm On (Gloria)' !!! - I'm a bit nervous to add the next chapter to this list of tenuous links, by mentioning that 'Everyone Says 'Hi'', a song that apparently concerns itself with the death of an unspecified person, is released today on the anniversary of Bolan's death!)