Posts Tagged ‘Tony Visconti’

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Two absolute essentials from the Godfather and they’re both on coloured vinyl! Every collection needs these essential collaborations. Iggy Pop’s debut solo album, “The Idiot,” marked a radical departure from the incendiary, guitar-based proto-punk of his former band, The Stooges. First released on March 18th, 1977, it was written and recorded in collaboration with David Bowie, and its electronic veneer and melancholic atmosphere had much in common with Low, “Heroes” and Lodger, the three Bowie albums widely referred to as his “Berlin Trilogy.”

It’s been widely documented that Bowie played a vital role in Pop’s artistic rebirth, not just through shaping The Idiot, but also in helping him get his life back on track during the mid-70s. Indeed, when The Stooges split in disarray after 1973’s Raw Power, Iggy struggled with personal issues, even spending time in a Californian mental institution. Bowie, though, stuck by his friend, later taking Pop along as his companion on his extensive Isolar – 1976 Tour, in support of the Station To Station album.

Following the tour, in July 1976, Bowie and Pop holed up in Château d’Hérouville, the same French location where Bowie recorded his covers album, Pin Ups, in 1973 and would soon record much of Low. Bowie and Pop then set about putting together many of the songs which would feature on The Idiot. The sessions were loose and ad hoc in design, and the two musicians were augmented by bassist Laurent Thibault and drummer Michel Santangeli, who added to rough tracks already taped by Bowie.

During these initial sessions, Thibault supplied Bowie and Pop with a tape loop of industrial noise, which laid the foundation for The Idiot’s remarkable closing track, “Mass Production.” According to Paul Trynka’s Iggy Pop biography, Open Up And Bleed, Bowie was “like a child transfixed by a train set” when he heard the tape, which was spliced together in sections and went on to supply the ominous, droning backdrop for the song. Its oppressive atmosphere was perfectly matched by Pop’s numbed-out lyric, which was inspired by his memories of watching a machine press at Ford Motors’ River Rouge Plant in Dearborn, Michigan.

Iggy Pop later recalled conversations with Bowie “about how much I admired the beauty of the American industrial culture that was rotting away where I grew up,” according to Joe Ambrose in Gimme Danger: The Story Of Iggy Pop. “Like the beautiful smokestacks and factories… whole cities devoted to factories!”

During the Château sessions, Bowie and Pop worked up two future classics, “China Girl” and “Nightclubbing.” The former reflected upon Pop’s relationship with his Asian girlfriend Keulan Nguyen, and Bowie would later re-record it for his multi-platinum 1983 album, Let’s Dance.

“There’s a beautiful obligata, romantic melody at the end… it’s echoed by those sort of gypsy guitars, if you will,” Pop said in a 2019 interview with Sirius XM. “And that [melody] David wrote. I thought it was really lovely.”

“Nightclubbing,” meanwhile, sprang from an incident during downtime at the Château after The Idiot’s initial sessions wound down. Reputedly inspired by some cheap Halloween masks and an old-time melody Bowie began playing on the studio piano, the tune inspired Pop to write a lyric “mostly based on my experiences tagging along to the discos of Europe” with Bowie, in little more than 20 minutes.

The memorable, loping beat for this haunting song – which has since been covered by Grace Jones and The Human League, as well as featuring in the Trainspotting soundtrack – came to fruition out of necessity, simply because there was no one around to play drums that day.

“The only thing left to augment it in the room was a little Roland drum machine,” Pop said in 2019. “[Bowie] said, ‘I can’t put out a song with something like that as a drum track,’ so I said, ‘No, but I can,’ and he got that. So we did it with that and that beat is sampled in a lot of very successful hip-hop records now.”

Additional sessions for The Idiot moved onto Munich’s Musicland Studios and to Berlin’s Hansa Studio 1, where excellent tracks such as the Neu!-esque “Funtime,” the pulsing electro-pop of “Sister Midnight” and Pop’s hypnotic paean to The Stooges, “Dum Dum Boys,” were finished off with overdubs from Bowie’s regular rhythm section of Carlos Alomar, Dennis Davis, and George Murray. Producer Tony Visconti then achieved a final mix at Hansa and the album was issued with a cover photograph of Iggy, inspired by German painter Erich Heckel’s Roquairol.

The Idiot effectively resurrected Iggy Pop’s career. giving Pop the momentum to follow through with the abrasive, guitar-streaked Lust For Life later in 1977.

The album’s reputation has since grown exponentially. Though it was greeted by relatively modest reviews in 1977, Pop biographer Paul Trynka has asserted that The Idiot “prefigured the soul of post-punk,” and the record’s futuristic soundscapes are still being absorbed by popular culture today. The album has since been cited as a touchstone by influential artists ranging from Depeche Mode and R.E.M. to Joy Division and Nine Inch Nails, though Siouxsie Sioux perhaps put it best when she said The Idiot provided a “re-affirmation that our suspicions were true: the man is a genius.”

THE MOON AND STARS: PRESCRIPTONS FOR DREAMERS

Tennessee-born singer/songwriter Valerie June “takes the dreamer’s path” on her first new album since 2017’s The Order of Time, expanding the scope of her already-nuanced folk/soul stylings to incorporate elements of funk, pop and psychedelia—adding a touch of the cosmic to her Americana. June, who co-produced her new record alongside Jack Splash (Kendrick Lamar, Alicia Keys, John Legend), wastes no time in setting its tone, opening with three-song suite “Stay” / “Meditation” / “You and I,” and drawing inspiration elsewhere from the likes of Afrobeat giant Fela Kuti and David Bowie collaborator Tony Visconti. “With this record, it finally became clear why I have this dream of making music. 

When singer Valerie June began work on her new album, she knew she wanted to recapture the magical thinking of her youth, reflecting on the mysteries of the universe and the ties that bind us with childlike wonder. The result is a beautifully enchanting collection of songs called The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions For Dreamers. Listen to the songs “You And I” and “Starlight Ethereal Silence” from the record and talk about the inspired ways Valerie June weaves together folk, soul and cosmic psychedelia on this spiritual and sonic journey.

Immediately uplifting & spiritually revitalising, June’s sun-dappled folk-soul melodies open up an ocean of positivity and possibility in a year prefaced with introversion and despondency.

Conjuring a next-generation fusion of folk, soul, gospel, country and transcendental blues, the moon and stars, prescriptions for dreamers, Valerie June’s third full-length album for Fantasy Records is a deeply affecting work of genuine beauty and unassuming wonder. produced by jack splash and Valerie June and recorded at fresh young minds in Los Angeles, Ca and hit factory criteria in Miami, Fl., the new album is her first release since 2017’s highly acclaimed the order of time and features 11 songs and three musical interludes, all written by Valerie. fans of Frazey Ford, Michael Kiwanuka, Whitney and Brittany Howard/Alabama Shakes lovers will be delighted with this record.

It’s not for earthly reasons of wanting to be awarded or to win anybody’s love—it’s because dreaming keeps me inquisitive and keeps me on that path of learning what I have to share with the world,” said June in a statement. “When we allow ourselves to dream like we did when we were kids, it ignites the light that we all have within us and helps us to have a sort of magic about the way we live.

From the album “The Moon And Stars: Prescriptions For Dreamers”

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It’s More than two years have passed since David Bowie departed us, but the steady flow of back-catalogue releases shows no sign of slowing. With another Record Store Day upon on and the release of three more Bowie collectables. At the time of his death suggested Bowie had left detailed plans for years worth of reissues, a number of which have already surfaced, including the Cracked Actor live album and the 13-LP set A New Career in a New Town.

This month, 45 years to the day since it was first released, comes a special silver vinyl edition of “Aladdin Sane”, as well as a repress of 1981’s “ChangesTwoBowie” compilation.

the Reissue of Aladdin Sane gives us an opportunity for another visit, in other words—along with these six other gems from David Bowie’s ever-growing backlist of releases. All of which should be added to your collection.

David Bowie  – Aladdin Sane

Though Bowie made Aladdin Sane during his first big burst of success, it is usually overshadowed by the mold-breaking The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars and, to some extent, the more overtly theatrical Diamond Dogs which has experienced a major critical reevaluation in the years since its release. Bowie himself might take some of the blame for that, having somewhat glibly described Aladdin Sane at the time of its release as “Ziggy goes to America.” But while Ziggy remains an undeniable cornerstone in Bowie’s rise (and in the shaping of 20th-century rock music),

Aladdin Sane is no mere retread. In fact, one might argue that it is a more expansive refinement of its predecessor, setting two of his finest singles of the period—“The Jean Genie” and “Drive-In Saturday” alongside its wonderfully deranged, avant-garde title track, the biting “Cracked Actor” and one of the great album-closing ballads of his career, “Lady Grinning Soul”

 

David Bowie  –  Bowie At The Beeb

Before he was David Bowie 1970s musical chameleon in chief—he was David Bowie, singer of whimsical psychedelic pop. Bowie would more or less disown 1967’s self-titled debut—“I didn’t know if I was Max Miller or Elvis Presley,” he later said with songs such as the dainty “Love You Till Tuesday” offering only vague hints at what was to come.

A more informative insight into early Bowie can be gleaned from this collection of BBC radio sessions, which run from his first appearance (alongside the Tony Visconti Orchestra) in 1968 to the height of Ziggy mania in 1972. The set provides a series of illuminating glimpses at his fast-growing gift for songcraft and stagecraft, with the string-drenched pop of 1968’s “Karma Man” gradually giving way to expansive prog-folk (“Cygnet Committee,” “The Width of a Circle”), early takes on Ziggy material (“Queen Bitch,” “Hang on to Yourself”), Velvet Underground covers (“I’m Waiting for the Man,” “White Light/White Heat”), and more.

The initial CD edition from 2000 also included a bonus third disc that featured a live set recorded at the BBC Radio Theatre that same year, as well as a glaring error, with the same May 1972 recording of “Ziggy Stardust” appearing twice on disc 2 (since corrected for subsequent two-disc releases).

David Bowie  –  Lodger

The final entry in Bowie’s unparalleled run of ‘70s albums is also the least-loved of the lot, in no small part because of its unhelpful labeling as the third part in his so-called “Berlin Trilogy.” Though it was made with most of the same crew responsible for the one-two punch of “Low” and Heroes” (producer Tony Visconti, creative foil Brian Eno, and a band framed around Carlos Alomar, Dennis Davis, and George Murray), it is less a continuation of those albums’ themes than a foreshadowing of Bowie’s beloved 1980 LP Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps).

Recorded and mixed in the not-very-German locations of Montreux, Switzerland, and New York City, New York, “Lodger” also ditched the structure of its supposed siblings (songs on side A, instrumentals on side B), instead spreading its avant-garde moments throughout. Opening with a deceptively conventional piano ballad, “Fantastic Voyage” it then explodes into life on the extraordinary “African Night Flight,” an urgent freeform piece that prefigures Eno’s “world music” experiments with David Byrne on My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. Further travels follow on “Red Sails” and the Turkish reggae (yes, Turkish reggae) of “Yassassin,” while “D.J.” and “Look Back in Anger” revel in the general rubbishness of modern life.

The album is notable, too, for its clever way with recycling: “Move On” is “All the Young Dudes” backward. “Fantastic Voyage” and “Boys Keep Swinging” share a chord progression but little else. And the closing “Red Money” is a reworking of “Sister Moonlight” a song Bowie wrote for Iggy Pop several years earlier.

Only a modest success by Bowie’s standards on its release in 1979, it has long since been due some form of critical rehabilitation. The 2017 boxed set A New Career in a New Town went some way toward doing so, foregrounding a brand new mix of the album by Tony Visconti, but it remains underrated.

DAVID BOWIE, absolute beginners, B side absolute beginners dub mix , VS 838, 7" single

David Bowie – Absolute Beginners

Bowie began the ‘80s with one of his best albums Scary Monsters and the biggest hit of his career (Let’s Dance), but after that he lost his way, seemingly wrong-footed by the mainstream pop stardom he had sought and then so spectacularly achieved. Amid the two weakest albums of his career (1984’s half-baked Tonight and 1987’s unwisely titled Never Let Me Down, however, there were occasionally still signs that the old magic hadn’t left him yet. Tonight’s “Loving the Alien” is a stunning song in need of a better home, while “This Is Not America,” recorded for the soundtrack to the spy film Falcon and the Snowman, proved considerably more successful than a jazz-fusion collaboration with the Pat Metheny Group had any right to be.

Even better than either of those, though, is “Absolute Beginners,” a windswept ballad written for the film of the same name (in which Bowie also stars). Recorded in a single day with a pickup band that included keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman and Prefab Sprout drummer Neil Conti, it’s a grandstanding epic in the mold of “Rock ’N’ Roll Suicide” or “Wild Is the Wind” Bowie’s widescreen vocal offset perfectly by the warm horn section and Wakeman’s jazzy flourishes.

Not included on any of Bowie’s studio albums, “Absolute Beginners” is well worth seeking out, either on one of his many best-of albums or on its own standalone EP, which also features an extravagant eight-minute version (complete with bolero intro) and a surprising rendition, in Italian, of Domenico Modugno’s Eurovision-winning “Volare.”

David Bowie  –  1,Outside

After hitting a creative low in the mid-to-late ‘80s, then taking a questionable detour into hard rock with Tin Machine, Bowie took some time to re-find his footing in the ‘90s, but by the time of 1. Outside—a dystopian concept album made in collaboration with his old mate Brian Eno, among others—he was well and truly back on form. “The Hearts Filthy Lesson” was his best single for a decade. “Hallo Spaceboy” is a suitably idiosyncratic update of the Major Tom myth. Tracks like “The Motel” (a grandly atmospheric piece evocative of latter-day Scott Walker and driven by the returning Mike Garson’s baroque styled piano) and the album-closing “Strangers When We Meet” are as good as any other art-rock of the day.

1. Outside might not be perfect—the inter-song segues have not aged well, and a third of the run time could comfortably be pruned from its over-generous 75-minutes—but it’s one of Bowie’s most ambitious works, and one that sits comfortably among his post-’70s highlights. Perhaps his premillennial tension was a little too far ahead of the curve—after a somewhat lukewarm response to this album, Bowie’s plans for a series of sequels soon faded, and he made the jungle-tinged Earthling instead.

David Bowie  –  Heathen

For a long time, before Blackstar wowed and saddened in equal measure, Heathen felt like it might be the last great David Bowie album. Released in the aftermath of 9/11, and in some ways capturing the post-terror mood despite having largely been completed before the attacks on New York (Bowie’s then adopted home) and Washington D.C., it’s a work of maturity, morality, and mortality.

Death had long figured in Bowie’s work, but never before with the calm acceptance of Heathen’s opening track, “Sunday,” a mournful reflection on a world where “nothing remains” and the light is scarce. There’s a similarly meditative mood to “I Would Be Your Slave” and “5:15 The Angels Have Gone,” on which he declares, “I’m out here forever.” Elsewhere, among the lighter fare, “Slow Burn” is a kind of mini-“Heroes” with Pete Townshend on guitar, while “Slip Away” reunites Bowie with another old friend, the Stylophone pocket synthesizer. Slotting in neatly alongside Bowie’s own compositions are well-judged covers of Neil Young’s “I’ve Been Waiting for You” and the Pixies’ “Cactus,” in which the original’s mid-song shout-out is playfully updated to “D-A-V-I-D.”

If the response from some was once again muted, its creator was undeterred. “I’m pretty much a realist,” he said at the time. “The young have to kill the old. … That’s how life works.”

David Bowie  –  iSelect

Over the years, Bowie’s best bits have been compiled in so many different shapes and forms that they almost require a catalogue of their own. The best of the best-ofs, though, is this 12-track collection of Bowie’s own personal favorites from his extensive backlist. It was first released, incongruously, as a cover-mounted freebie alongside the June 29th, 2008, edition of the right-wing The Mail on Sunday newspaper, before being given a separate, rhetoric-free release later in the year.

Of the 12 songs Bowie chose to include, only “Life on Mars?” is an obvious pick. Among the rest are two tracks from Lodger, the Low outtake “Some Are,” and a newly remixed version of Never Let Me Down’s “Time Will Crawl.” In the illuminating song-by-song liner notes that accompany the album, Bowie described the latter as being among “a host of songs that I’ve recorded over the years that for one reason or another (clenched teeth) I’ve often wanted to re-record some time in the future.” If you’re looking for all the hits, in order, there are plenty of options to choose from, of which the most recent, 2016’s Legacy, is probably your best bet. As a guided tour by the man himself, however, iSelect cannot be beaten.

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“Something was definitely happening,” said Tony Visconti. “We knew we were getting closer to 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. The final LP released by Marc Bolan and his band as Tyrannosaurus Rex before they transmuted into T. Rex, it came out on 13th March 1970.

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 Fender White Stratocaster.

“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.

“A Beard of Stars” was the fourth studio album by English psychedelic folk band Tyrannosaurus Rex, and their last before changing their name to T. Rex. It was released on 13th March 1970 by record label Regal Zonophone.

Tracklist 1. “Prelude” 1:04 2. “A Day Laye” 1:56 3. “Woodland Bop” 1:39 4. “Fist Heart Mighty Dawn Dart” 2:45 5. “Pavilions of Sun” 2:49 6. “Organ Blues” 2:47 7. “By the Light of a Magical Moon” 2:51 8. “Wind Cheetah” 2:38 9. “A Beard of Stars” 1:37 10. “Great Horse” 1:42 11. “Dragon’s Ear” 2:37 12. “Lofty Skies” 2:54 13. “Dove” 2:06 14. “Elemental Child” 5:33

T Rex The Slider.jpg

The Slider is the seventh studio album by the glam rock band T.Rex , released on 21st July 1972 by record label EMI . Two singles,Telegram Sam” and “Metal Guru, were released to promote the album.  Bolan described the song “Metal Guru” as a “festival of life song”, and that he related “Metal Guru” to “all gods around… someone special, a godhead. I thought how god would be, he’d be all alone without a telephone” were released to promote the album. The album notes credit Ringo Starr with the front and back cover photographs. The photographs were taken the same day that Starr was filming the T. Rex documentary “Born To Boogie” on John Lennon’s estate, Tittenhurst Park .  The two singles “Telegram Sam” which was released January 1972 and charted in the UK for twelve weeks and peaked at number 1.  The second single was “Metal Guru” which was released in May 1972 and charted in the United Kingdom for fourteen weeks and peaking at number 1 too.

In 1969, Marc Bolan published a folio of poetry titled The Warlock of Love. By that point, the man born Mark Feld had already been the guitarist of mod-rock band John’s Children (for all of four months) before turning his attention to folk-rock duo Tyrannosaurus Rex. Together with bongo player Steve Peregrin Took, the group released albums with titles like My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair… But Now They’re Content to Wear Stars on Their BrowsandUnicorn. Bolan mostly sat cross-legged style on stage, strumming an acoustic guitar, singing with such heavy affect that his future producer Tony Visconti was certain he was French, not English. None of these endeavors turned him into a star. But the last line of that folio portended what was to come: “And now where once stood solid water/Stood the reptile king, Tyrannosaurus Rex, reborn and bopping.”

The very next year, Tyrannosaurus Rex was reborn. Bolan stood up, plugged in a Les Gibson, replaced Took with Mickey Finn, and began to enunciate each syllable with lip-smacking aplomb on the band’s first single as T. Rex. Propelled by handclaps and a strutting gamecock of a guitar lick, “Ride a White Swan” climbed up the UK charts to No. 2. T. Rex was bopping. So much so that The Warlock of Love sold over 40,000 copies, making Bolan a best-selling poet.

When T. Rex’s second single “Hot Love” shot straight to #1, Bolan dabbed some glitter on his cheekbones before a “Top of the Pops” performance. As Simon Reynolds recalled in Shock and Awe: Glam Rock and Its Legacy, that performance was “the spark that ignited the glam explosion,” confessing himself to “being shaken by the sight and sound of Marc Bolan…that electric frizz of hair, the glitter-speckled cheeks…Marc seemed like a warlord from outer space.” With 1971’s Electric Warrior, T. Rex topped the charts and was poised to break in the U.S., where “Bang a Gong (Get It On)” reached the top 10. For a glorious, nearly two-year reign, England was caught up in what the music mags would call “T. Rextasy.”

On New Year’s Day in 1972: Marc Bolan signed a deal with EMI Records to release albums in the UK on his own ‘T. Rex Wax Co.‘ label; the first album to be issued under the arrangement came in July, with ‘The Slider’ (reissued in Nov. 2012 as a 40th anniversary deluxe box set edition

I love The Slider but I will be the first to admit that “Buick MacKane” was not the most exciting track for me on that album. However, this live performance of “Buick MacKane” from Musikladen is just so good .  I’ve never seen Marc Bolan rock so hard! I’m thinking it’s because there’s no glossy Tony Visconti production to get in the way of that gorgeous loud Orange Cab speaker – now that’s what a Gold Top Les Paul should sound like! He almost reminds me a little of the sound of Black Sabbaths Tony Iommi . The band featuring Bill Legend, Mickey Finn, and Steve Currie are solid – this is peak Marc and T. Rex, right here!

“Buick MacKane” Live on Musikladen February 14th, 1973 , Musikladen was a German music TV series that aired from 1972 to 1984. There are tons of excellent clips from the show on YouTube.

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“Don’t you wonder sometimes, ‘Bout sound and vision”. On this day 40 years ago, David Bowie released ‘Low’.

Low is the eleventh studio album by David Bowie, released through RCA Records on 14th January 1977. Recorded following Bowie’s move to West Berlin and after a period of drug addiction and personal instability, Low became the first of three collaborations with musician Brian Eno and producer Tony Visconti who later termed the “Berlin Trilogy”. The album was in fact recorded largely in France, and marked a shift in Bowie’s musical style towards an Electronic approach that would be further explored on the subsequent albums “Heroes” and “Lodger”.

Though it was initially met with mixed critical reviews, Low has since become widely acclaimed as one of Bowie’s best and most influential works.

Low lies in the foundations by Bowie’s previous album “Station To Station” and in the music he recorded for the soundtrack to The Man Who Fell To Earth . Bowie presented his material for the film to Nick Roeg, but the director decided that it would not be suitable. Roeg preferred a more folksy sound. Elements from these pieces were incorporated into Low instead. The album’s cover, like Station to Station, is a still from the movie.

Following Bowie’s Thin White Duke period, he was eager to escape the drug culture of Los Angeles where he had developed a cocaine drug habit, He blamed his erratic behaviour around his Thin White Duke period on his addictions and precarious mental state, Bowie would move to Switzerland in the second half of 1976. Later that year, he, along with friend and singer Iggy Pop would retreat to the city of Berlin in a further attempt to kick his drug habit and escape the spotlight.

While sharing an apartment with Pop, Bowie would become interested in the German music scene, including acts like Kraftwerk and Neu . During the months of his recovery, he had also become interested in the minimal style of Brian Eno eventually meeting with him in 1976.

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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Making noises for her being thrown off Morrisey’s recent USA tour , backed by Dave Grohl on drums and legendary record producer Tony Visconti on all guitars, this is wildly energetic, operatic at times and a huge slice of Pop……”How Are You So Calm When Its So Severe”