Marc bolan and david bowie relationship

Marc Bolan |

marc bolan and david bowie relationship

Sir Elton John has revealed that he and David Bowie fell out 40 years We used to hang out together with Marc Bolan, going to gay clubs, but I. producer Tony Visconti talks about his relationship with Marc Bolan. late 60s, your two main projects were David Bowie and Marc Bolan. Marc Bolan was an English singer-songwriter, musician, guitarist, and poet. He was best known . The glam era also saw the rise of Bolan's friend David Bowie, whom Bolan had come to Legend left in and Finn in and Bolan's marriage came to an end because of his affair with backing singer Gloria Jones.

David and Marc became friends and then career rivals. The songs were whimsical and utterly charming. Although he later would turn against Marc, the exposure he gave him in the late Sixties propelled the band to moderate success in the album charts and even a 28 single. Yet it was Bolan who behaved in a conflicted way towards Bowie.

He offered Bowie a support slot on a Tyrannosaurus Rex gig, but then instructed David that he could not sing. The band were dressed in flamboyant outfits, with Bowie outfitted in lurex and eyeliner. Some date the start of Glam to this performance. That is likely an overstatement. Visconti reported that he was paying close attention. Bolan had changed it up. He shortened the name of the group to T. Rex and adopted a full electric band sound of Fifties-inspired riffs borrowed from Chuck Berry, Eddie Cochran, Howling Wolf and others.

The records were brilliantly arranged and produced by Visconti. But we got over that. Three more elements would complete the T. Rex phenomenon, magazines, clothes and … glitter. Chelita Secunda, fashion journalist, editor of Nova and sometime Bolan publicist, gave Marc a makeover in her own image, dressing him in the colorful clothes, embroidered jackets and, later, even feather boas, that she favored.

Rex had a remarkable run of eleven consecutive top ten hits in the UK in a little over three years. The intensity of the fans was incredible. The underground press, who had previously championed Tyrannosaurus Rex, now abandoned Marc, labelling him a sellout. Rex sound, which they considered too pop.

Among the men who did understand was David Bowie, who watched the development of the T. Rex phenomenon with interest. Bolan was not a musical influence on Bowie. Despite recent attempts to prove otherwise on dubious lyrical evidenceit is obvious that their music was dis-similar in compositional techniques. David gave Marc many shout-outs in his music.

Some of these musical references are ambiguous. Still, the only time August that Bowie performed the song live, he had an image of Bolan projected onto a screen onstage. Apparently, this was interpreted negatively by some Bolan fans. British slang for flippant, mischievous.

Marc Bolan

In other words, some saw it as taunting Bolan. Most clearly, Bowie name-checked T. David really outdid himself on that one. Town magazine featured him as an early example of the mod movement in a photo spread with two other models.

marc bolan and david bowie relationship

InBolan met his first manager, Geoffrey Delaroy-Hall, and recorded a slick commercial track backed by session musicians called "All at Once" a song very much in the style of his youthful hero, Cliff Richardthe "English Elvis"which was later released posthumously by Danielz and Caron Willans in as a very limited edition seven-inch vinyl after the original tape recording was passed onto them by Delaroy-Hall.

This track is one of Bolan's first professional recordings. Bolan then changed his stage name to Toby Tyler when he met and moved in with child actor Allan Warrenwho became his second manager.

This encounter afforded Bolan a lifeline to the heart of show business, as Warren saw Bolan's potential while he spent hours sitting cross-legged on Warren's floor playing his acoustic guitar. Bolan at this time liked to appear in boho-chicwearing a corduroy peaked cap similar to his then current source of inspiration, Bob Dylan. A series of photographs was commissioned with photographer Michael McGrath, although he recalls that Bolan "left no impression" on him at the time.

A year or so later, Bolan's mother pushed into Kirch's office and shouted at him that he had done nothing for her son. She demanded he tear up the contract and he willingly complied. Their eventual release on CD in made available some of the earliest of Bolan's known recordings. He signed to Decca Records in August At this point his name changed to Marc Bolan via Marc Bowland. There are several accounts of why Bolan was chosen, including that it was derived from James Bolam, a contraction of Bob Dylan, and - according to Bolan himself, that Decca Records chose the name.

Bolan's first single was produced by Jim Economedes, with music director Mike Leander. Two solo acoustic demos recorded shortly afterwards by the same team "Reality" and "Song For A Soldier" have still only been given a limited official release in on seven-inch vinyl.

Both songs are in a folk style reminiscent of Dylan and Donovan. In Junea second official single was also released, with session-musician accompaniment, "The Third Degree", backed by "San Francisco Poet", Bolan's paean to the beat poets. Neither song made the charts.

InBolan turned up at Simon Napier-Bell 's front door with his guitar and proclaimed that he was going to be a big star and he needed someone to make all of the arrangements. Napier-Bell invited Bolan in and listened to his songs.

A recording session was immediately booked and the songs were very simply recorded most of them were not actually released untilon the album The Beginning of Doves. Only "Hippy Gumbo", a sinister-sounding, baroque folk-song, was released at the time as Bolan's third unsuccessful single. One song, "You Scare Me to Death," was used in a toothpaste advertisement. Some of the songs also resurfaced inwith additional instrumentation added, on the album You Scare Me to Death.

In early he eventually settled instead for John's Children because they needed a songwriter and he admired Bolan's writing ability. The band achieved some success as a live act but sold few records. His tenure with the band was brief. When the band split following an ill-fated German gig with The WhoBolan took some time to reassess his situation.

Bolan's imagination was filled with new ideas and he began to write fantasy novels The Krakenmist and Pictures Of Purple People as well as poems and songs, sometimes finding it hard to separate facts from his own elaborate myth - he famously claimed to have spent time with a wizard in Paris who gave him secret knowledge and could levitate.

The time spent with him was often alluded to but remained "mythical". Given time to reinvent himself, after John's Children, Bolan's songwriting took off and he began writing many of the poetic and neo-romantic songs that would appear on his first albums with T. Tyrannosaurus Rex[ edit ] When John's Children collapsed, among other problems, the band's equipment had been repossessed by their label Track Records. But Bolan, unperturbed, rallied to create Tyrannosaurus Rex, his own rock band together with guitarist Ben Cartland, drummer Steve Peregrin Took and an unknown bass player.

Napier-Bell recalled of Bolan: The paper came out on Wednesday, the day of the gig. At three o'clock he was interviewing musicians, at five he was getting ready to go on stage It was a disaster.

He just got booed off the stage. Napier-Bell said of Bolan that after the first disastrous electric gig, "He didn't have the courage to try it again; it really had been a blow to his ego Later he told everyone he'd been forced into going acoustic because Track had repossessed all his gear. In fact he'd been forced to go acoustic because he was scared to do anything else.

One of the highlights of this era was when the duo played at the first free Hyde Park concert in Although the free-spirited, drug-taking Took was fired from the group after their first American tour, they were a force within the hippie underground scene while they lasted.

Their music was filled with Bolan's otherworldly poetry. InBolan published his first and only book of poetry entitled The Warlock of Love. Although some critics dismissed it as self-indulgence, it was full of Bolan's florid prose and wordplay, selling 40, copies and in became one of Britain's best-selling books of poetry.

After replacing Took with Mickey Finnhe let the electric influences come forward even further on A Beard of Starsthe final album to be credited to Tyrannosaurus Rex. There was a time when he would have given his mis-matched eyes to be recognised. When, as a suburban pop hopeful, he watched helplessly while his East End Mod mate Marc Bolan went stratospheric ahead of him, and seriously considered throwing in the towel.

The former was nearly 18 years old, the latter not quite Each had been striving since boyhood to make it in the music business, experimenting with sounds and styles. The setting for their first encounter was the DJM offices of talent scout Leslie Conn, who saw nothing in Bolan but agreed to take a chance on his chum.

The Bolan-Bowie attraction was instant. They forged a special relationship upon which plenty have poured scorn, but which was real enough to those who watched it unfold. They had what they had between them, they didn't have to prove it to anybody else.

Which is why, I think, David doesn't ever speak about it.


There was a real love there. They were very similar, in so many ways. They could have been brothers. Marc started recording for Decca Records and gained airplay on offshore pirate stations.

marc bolan and david bowie relationship

He hustled — anyone, everyone - proclaiming irresistibly his intention to be 'bigger than the Beatles. A disastrous tour of Germany, supporting The Who, had the Children breaking for the border and Marc heading home to his acoustic. Then along happened Brooklyn boy Tony Visconti, a musician and fledgling producer, who had left his native New York on a mission to find 'the new Beatles'.

His partnership with Bolan would generate an incredible ten albums, and embraced Marc's metamorphosis from underground pixie to the undisputed king of glam.

But it was when Tony Visconti was introduced to David Bowie that the real sparks flew. The pair forged a deep rapport, sharing exotic interests — foreign art films, unusual foods,Tibetan Buddhism. There was an inevitability to their eventual creation of some of the most original and enduring rock music ever recorded. Marc Bolan fell second fiddle to Tony's adoration of Bowie. Both artists resented the triangle, and competed, if at times subconsciously, for the cool young American's time and talent.

Although Visconti would describe Bolan as 'the most focused artist I've ever worked with', it was Bowie with whom the producer fell irrevocably in love. As Tyrannosaurus Rex gained popularity, Bowie couldn't give it away. Marc met his future wife, agency secretary June Child, and the couple dropped in on Visconti once a week for baths and boogie nights.

The frustrated musician had given up and become a mime artist.

Bolan, Bowie, Morrissey and me

The career-change was happily short-lived. The second release of Bowie's 'Space Oddity', about the launch of a fictional astronaut, could not have been better-timed. With the BBC playing the single constantly during their coverage of the lunar landing, David was at last in line for a hit.