Bolanomics (3)
By: James Parker | Categories: Pop Music, Read-outs

Third in a series of posts — in honor of his birthday, on Friday — tracing Marc Bolan’s musical and philosophical development.

THE KING OF THE MOUNTAIN COMETH

1971: adoration. T Rextasy, that vanished land of screams, appears in retrospect as one of the quainter aftershocks of Beatlemania: in 1971 and 1972, however, it was deafening. Marc ruled. Pandemonium at his shows. Strutting and preening for the kids, filling the press with effortless reams of dreamy boogaloo bollocks, and writing smash after smash, he seemed unstoppable. The UK was his ecstatic oyster. America not so much, but who cares?

Our musical selection today is something of an anomaly. Marc, now with a full band, had hit his T Rex groove: cosmic coquetry on a chassis of pure chug-a-lug. “Woman I love your chest/ Ooh baby I’m crazy about your breasts…” The bedsit Tolkienisms of his fantasy period had been converted into a stunning vision of himself as the high-voltage Glamour God at the centre of the Universe, and everybody was going along with it. Whispers and trails of the old dreamscape persisted, however, and on the b-side of “Hot Love” we find — like an undertow of dark enthralment — this amazing song. A killer beat; a gnawing, goblin-like Jew’s-Harp whine; a cod-medieval farrago of images (in limericks!); metallic sex-gasps; and then the delirium of the outro, with Marc hoisting his Fender to summon the cartoon demons while legendary backing vocalists Flo and Eddie achieve spooky falsetto frenzy. Magical.

***

READ similar HiLobrow series: ANGUSONICS — the solos of Angus Young | KIRB YOUR ENTHUSIASM — 25 Jack Kirby panels | MOULDIANA — the solos of Bob Mould | SHOCKING BLOCKING — cinematic blocking | UKULELE HEROES

Share

MORE POSTS by

James Parker is a contributing editor at The Atlantic.