Friday, January 16, 2009

It Came From...Everywhere?

Glitter, flamboyance, fashion, freedom, sexuality, surrealism, emotion, sound, expression, colour, confidence, art, rhythm, glam, glam, glam.

Welcome to glam rock, a strange, sense-encompassing musical movement popularized in the mid 70s. Also known as “glitter rock”, glam music takes pinches of popular culture and presses them together firmly in one happily-odd art.

Glitter rock’s revolutionary rise to mainstream popularity was short but powerful. The movement, arguably a transitional phase, ushered the rise of many talented musicians. Pioneering glam rockers took influences like blues, country, Motown, doo-wop, rock and roll and the dream-like tunes of the post-hippie movement and used them to create something radically new, setting the foundation for generations of musicians.

This blog focuses on the brave men and women behind the boas: the history, the music, the albums and the musicians they inspired.

Rocker Profile: The first prominent figure in the world of glitter rock was a corkscrew curled boy from Hackney, London. Marc Feld, later relabelled“Marc Bolan”, found moderate musical success in the London underground as a folk artist. It was after he shed his Dylan-esque image and worked an electric guitar into his act that his band, “Tyrannosaurus Rex”, began steadily appearing in the UK charts. After rearranging the group’s line-up and shortening their title to “T.Rex”, Bolan began working with producer Tony Visconti. Bolan and Visconti collaborated on several of T.Rex’s more commercially successful albums: “Electric Warrior” in ’71, “The Slider” in ’72, and “Tanx” in ’73.

Glamtastic Review: Today we’ll have a look at the album that started it all, “Electric Warrior”, Bolan’s first full-length venture into electric rock. The album was a risky move for a once thriving folk artist. Electric warrior consists of sixteen tracks that display Bolan’s diverse musical interests. The album opens with “Mambo Sun” a track which incorporates a deeply metallic, bouncing rhythm guitar with Bolan’s imagery-focused, dream-like lyrics. Bolan playfully dives into takes on his blues and rock influences in many of the tracks including “Lean woman blues”, “Jeepster”, “The Motivator” and the popular “Bang a Gong (Get it it on)”. These tracks explode with a sort of energetically playful freedom, almost a boastful exhale for the once unplugged musician. That isn’t to say that there aren’t nods to Bolan’s folk roots in Electric Warrior. The musician smoothly blends his new sound with the steady pulsing strums of his classic folky ballads. Across the record, songs like “Life’s a Gas” or “Girl” pay tribute to his musical past. “Cosmic Dancer” an existential folk tune is punctuated with crooning moans and the whispers of a fine string arrangement which displays the marriage of Bolan’s old ideas with a new sound in a fresh way. This album was all about change for the artist and it is a fantastically well rounded sampling of meandering musical ideas. If you have a chance, do yourself a favour and check it out.

That's it for "RMWB" for today. Tune in next time for a spaced out guitarist and his out-of-this-world arachnids... untill then, check out the "Random Glam Clip of the Day":

David Bowie and Marc Bolan perform, Marc tumbles offstage. This was Bolan's last appearance, he died only nine days later in a car accident.

* all album artwork from

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