TYRANNOSAURUS REX – ” A Beard Of Stars ” Released 13th March 1970

Posted: March 14, 2015 in MUSIC
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Bolan Paves The Way For Superstardom

 

“A Beard of Stars”  was the fourth studio album by the psychedelic folk rock band Tyrannosaurus Rex, and their last before changing their name It was released on 13 March 1970 by record label Regal Zonophone.“Something was definitely happening,” said Tony Visconti. “We knew we were getting closer to the sound and vision what we wanted.” The American-born producer was talking about ‘A Beard Of Stars,’ the album that paved the way for the “Bolanmania” of the early 1970s. Recorded between April–November 1969 at Trident Studios, London, The final LP released by Marc Bolan and his band as Tyrannosaurus Rex before they mutatad into T. Rex,

The album was the follow-up to 1969’s ‘Unicorn,’ after which Bolan took the bold and decisive step of firing musical partner Steve Peregrin Took. His voice was already on some of the new material Visconti had recorded, so the producer had to replace it with new vocals by Bolan. Meanwhile, Took’s successor, Mickey Finn, started to be integrated into the band. Even if Visconti would find him to be less versatile than his predecessor, his good looks were a help, and he played percussion.

In his autobiography “Bowie, Bolan and the Brooklyn Boy”, Visconti wrote: “The album was made in a really good atmosphere, helped no end by Finn’s positive spirit, which all led to the sessions being very creative and experimental.” ‘A Beard Of Stars’ was also the album on which Marc Bolan went electric, playing Visconti’s guitar just before buying his own white Fender Stratocaster.  It was notable for being the first album on which Bolan used the electric guitar, although that instrument had first appeared on the band’s 1969 single “King of the Rumbling Spires”/”Do You Remember”.  But, “A Beard of Stars”  became the turning point where Marc Bolan began evolving from an unrepentant hippie into the full-on swaggering rock star he would be within a couple of years, though for those not familiar with his previous work, it still sounds like the work of a man with his mind plugged into the age of lysergic enchantment .Four tracks from this album, including “Great Horse”, were salvaged from the spring 1969 sessions for a fourth album with original percussionist Steve Peregrin Took in the wake of “King of the Rumbling Spires”. These four tracks were overdubbed for release by Finn and  Bolan with  Visconti. A further four tracks from the Took sessions rejected for the final album  subsequently surfaced on various compilations, three (“Once Upon the Seas of Abyssinia”, “Blessed Wild Apple Girl”, “Demon Queen”) in Bolan’s lifetime, the fourth (“Ill Starred Man”) posthumously. Other songs recorded around this time may include “Do You Remember” and “Find a Little Wood”

Bolan-Finn

“A combination of Marc’s growing proficiency on rock guitar and my engineering chops getting better helped the duo sound more aggressive,” remembered Visconti. One single was released from the album, ‘By The Light Of A Magical Moon’; it missed the UK charts, but the album debuted and peaked at No. 21 and totalled six weeks on the bestsellers. It was clear that Marc Bolan was ready to become the pop star figurehead and idol he soon turned into.

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