Life and Music of Marc Bolan
by Paul Roland
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“Roland knows more about Bolan than any other living being,”
(Tom Hibbert, New Music News)
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 definitive 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’ – in what appears to have been a fevered rush to cheat Fate.
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.
But just when Bolan was at the summit of his success it all went sour.
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 the acknowledged expert 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 truly definitive 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’.